Southeast is soaring to new heights as we launch our new Professional Pilot Program!

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The program was founded by President Carlos Vargas and Ken Jackson, approved in 2020, and will begin this fall! Southeast has partnered with US Aviation and the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport to enhance the learning experiences to prepare students for careers in commercial aviation. This is important because regional, national, and international demand for new professional pilots has been growing as the number of commercial pilots steadily declines due to many reaching mandatory retirement age thresholds. With a new aviation program, many students can join the field, and create a new generation of professional pilots.

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A lot of careful planning and research went into the program as a group of university leaders and city officials traveled to Minnesota State University, Mankato where they toured and learned about their pilot program. The staff members in the program have relevant experience in the field and are dedicated to teaching the students and keeping them safe. The academic courses are paired with lab courses at the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport that prepare students to work with the aircraft both on the ground and in the air. The curriculum was created to meet the needs of commercial aviation and help students work toward earning their FAA certifications. By the time a student graduates the program, they should have the qualifications to become an FAA certified flight instructor. Students will get to learn to fly, understand the tech of a plane, manage an aircraft, and its crew.

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The career options offered in the program include Commercial Pilot, Flight Instructor, Freight Airplane Pilot, Military Pilot, Regional, Airline Pilot, Corporate Aviation, Charter Operations, and Unmanned Aircraft Systems. A career in Unmanned Aircraft Systems would be an alternative to piloting the plane from the cockpit. Many professionals use Unmanned Aircraft Systems, or “drones,” to protect life by using this technology in applications that would normally put human lives at risk. Southeast Missouri State University's Bachelor of Science in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) will allow you to be a part of a new and growing field that can prove invaluable to law enforcement, agriculture, videography, surveying, and many other areas. A career in aviation would be rewarding and fulfilling since the job entails an average salary high enough to make a comfy living, with hours flexible enough to make time for a personal life, and unlimited traveling. Another bonus to the job is that many commercial airlines also offer a buddy system which allows pilots to select several friends and family members that can travel with them. All of this means that with a job in aviation, you would have a high salary, flexible hours, and multiple chances to explore the world and see all its beauty.

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At Southeast, we are very excited to launch this new program and see where it goes. Aviation is an important field that is in high demand which will only continue to rise. We are sure students will have a blast and undergo an enlightening educational experience. 

If you are a student and you are interested in this program, you may join anytime! Students do flight training during their first semester. Many schools already have a Professional Pilot Program, which are all very innovative. Now we finally have our Professional Pilot Program, and we can’t wait to see what they will do!