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School of Aviation

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Ranked top "university to consider
when pursuing a degree in aviation"
by Flying Magazine


Areas of academic concentration


OU Aviation program founded

OU Helicopter Program Has Availability for Fall 2024

Are you a transfer student or a freshman who has been accepted to OU? Then you qualify to apply to join the OU Helicopter Program for Fall 2024. 

The Board of Regents just approved a new professional pilot–helicopter track option for the Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies. The new option aims to provide students with comprehensive flight training to develop the necessary skills and knowledge to become proficient helicopter pilots and feed the industry need for pilots. If you are interested in learning more, please email

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Attention Fall 2024 newly admitted flight majors:

The first admitted freshmen for the Fall 2024 term with the intended major of Aviation:  Professional Pilot or Aviation Management-Flying who pay OU’s $250 Enrollment Deposit before the program reaches capacity will be considered for a flight slot.

The point at which the flight program reaches capacity, newly admitted eligible flight majors will be sent the NEXT STEPS email containing the One Stop packet.  Be sure to check your new OU email address often.  Successful completion and submission of the One Stop packet ensures your eligibility to start flying in either the fall, spring, or summer term of your first year.  Aviation cannot guarantee up front which semester you will start flying.

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Top 5 things you need to know about the School of Aviation

Faculty, adjunct faculty, and instructors bring a combined 300 years of operational aviation and real-world experience into the classroom from disciplines of airlines, corporate aviation, air traffic control, Department of Defense, airport management, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and government.

We offer students the opportunity to apply to aviation internships all over the country. Currently, we’re connected to paid and volunteer opportunities at Southwest Airlines, American Airlines, Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, Raytheon, Tinker Air Force Base Airfield Operations, and UPS, to name a few.

The OU School of Aviation includes learning labs like the Simulation Center with state-of-the-art Air Traffic Control and Advanced Aviation Training Device simulation. Students are exposed to a wide variety of weather conditions and will gain proficiency in weather-related decision-making in flying and controlling.

Students join a legacy of more than 75 years of flight training at OU. The aviation facilities cultivate a small-college feel and atmosphere with all aviation courses taught at the OU-owned Max Westheimer Airport with class D airspace and full precision approaches.

You can join a number of student organizations that span across aviation disciplines, including the American Association of Airport Executives, Sooner Aviation Club, Sooner Air Traffic Control Association, National Intercollegiate Flying Association, Flying Sooners, and Women in Aviation.

The University of Oklahoma's crimson OU interlocked logo

Lance Lamkin, airport operations officer at OU’s Max Westheimer Airport, says CareerTech training gives students interested in an aviation career advantage as they pursue training opportunities beyond CareerTech. “If you’re coming from CareerTech to the University of Oklahoma School of Aviation, there isn’t much of a difference,” Lamkin said. “We make it a very seamless transition. I see the future of aviation in the state of Oklahoma being nothing but bright.”

Partnership Programs

The OU College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences School of Aviation partners with airlines across the U.S. to offer pathway programs that give students the opportunity to work toward careers with some of the nation’s largest airlines. These partnerships help qualifying students launch their aviation careers and get into the right seat of a commercial airline sooner.

The programs are open to students in Professional Pilot or Aviation Management – Flying concentrations with a private pilot certificate and provide recruitment, screening, selection, training and placement strategies to cadets—as well as mentorships with current pilots and tuition assistance—as they earn their ratings and ultimately become certified flight instructors for their airline at OU. 

The School of Aviation has a rich history of aviation education and training, and these partnerships help the university to continue providing excellent aviation training and flight education for future pilots. 

OU currently has cadet partnership agreements with the following airlines:

OU School of Aviation is part of Destination 225° University Pathway.

The Destination 225° University pathway is designed for collegiate aviators who attend a Southwest partner university or complete a Southwest Campus Reach Internship.

Leading aspiring pilots to Southwest Airlines

The Southwest Airlines Destination 225°Program provides various pathways to provide the opportunity to get you to the right seat of a Southwest aircraft.

The Destination 225° University pathway is designed for collegiate aviators who attend a Southwest® partner university or complete a Southwest Airlines® Campus Reach Internship.

Our vision is to ease the barriers to becoming a pilot and guide those who are selected to the University pathway in their next steps: gaining relevant flight experience with a Southwest Airlines partner, in order to put themselves in a position to join the ranks as a Southwest Airlines Pilot. Destination 225° is designed to be highly accessible, cost-effective, and innovative.

Southwest is proud to offer this transition training with the university and corporate partners.

Southwest Airlines Destination 225° Program

Destination 225° University Pathway FAQ

How long will it typically take a Destination 225° candidate to become a First Officer?

  • This will differ by Destination 225° pathway and the experience each candidate brings, but the Cadet pathway will take approximately four years for training and flight experience.

Are there minimal educational requirements?

  • Educational requirements for Destination 225° are the same as the educational requirements for a First Officer position at Southwest Airlines. A high school diploma or equivalency is required, and a four-year college degree is preferred.

Do the Destination 225° pathways guarantee a job at Southwest Airlines?

  • While a job at Southwest Airlines is not guaranteed, Destination 225° was created to equip participants with the skills needed to start their career as a Southwest First Officer and is designed to build a pipeline of talented Pilots for Southwest. Neither acceptance into nor successfully completing the program guarantees employment or re-employment at Southwest Airlines.

What are the qualifications and experience required to become a Pilot at Southwest Airlines?

RJet Cadet

Flight students can receive a Conditional Offer of Employment with Republic Airways as early as their instrument rating or commercial certificate!

This program requires no commitment or contractual obligation. Below you’ll find the requirements for this program based on your flight training program in addition to the application and interview process. The RJet Cadet program is the ideal transition from the classroom to the cockpit with the nation’s leading regional carriers on ultra-modern Embraer E 170/175 aircraft. Because of our diversity in partners – Delta Air Lines, American Airlines and United Airlines – as well as our broad base locations, Republic Airways offers a unique set of options for any interested candidate.

Republic Airways Cadet Program

  • Conditional Offer of Employment
  • Priority on class date selection
  • Mentorship from a current Republic Airways pilot
  • Opportunity to attend exclusive events in Indianapolis at our Headquarters and Training Center
  • Direct point of contact and resource within Talent Acquisition
  • Qualify to apply for RJet Ambassador position
Republic Airways Cadet Program

About PSA Airlines

PSA Airlines operates an all-jet fleet consisting of exclusively Bombardier regional Jet aircraft. We have an incredible team of more than 5,000 team members who do a tremendous job of operating more than 800 daily flights to nearly 100 destinations on behalf of American Airlines. 

As a PSA pilot, you'll be part of a close-knit, passionate team flying exclusively for American Airlines. You'll receive an enhanced compensation package, unparalleled advancement opportunities and benefits few other regionals can match. 

PSA's Mission

To always deliver satisfied customers to their destinations, safely and on time. 

PSA Airlines Cadet Program

PSA Difference

Your career as a mainline pilot for the largest airline in the world, American Airlines, can start here. PSA cadets can expect the following. 

  • Industry-leading first-year pay
  • Mentorship from airline industry experts and career-boosting opportunities
  • Minimal reserve time and a quick upgrade to captain
  • Guaranteed flow through to American Airlines in 5 years
  • A Cadet Package inclusive of training and tuition assistance, including the First Officer Sign-On bonus
  • Visit the website to view the Tuition and Bonus Breakdown

Envoy’s Cadet Program is designed to help the most promising university and commercial flight school student pilots make a smooth transition from the classroom to the regional flight deck.

Once you are employed as a Flight Instructor at one of our numerous affiliate programs, we provide you with all the benefits of being an Envoy employee. Benefits will include travel privileges for you and your immediate family on American Airlines flights; comprehensive health, dental and vision coverage; 401(k) retirement with company match contributions; American Airlines Group profit sharing; and paid vacation and sick time accrual.

Envoy Airlines Cadet Program

For more information, contact Envoy Pilot Recruitment at (972) 374-5607 or via email at

Envoy Cadet Program

Alumni Quotes

Taylor Shannon sitting in front of a computer screen with an Air traffic simulation running.

"The aviation program at OU gave me the foundation to build a successful career as an air traffic controller. The aviation professors are knowledgeable in their respective fields and dedicated to your success as an individual and aviation professional.  Learning expands beyond the classroom through the ability to network and visit facilities as a part of aviation student organizations.  Small class sizes at a large university allow for quality training and friendships that last a lifetime. Boomer Sooner!"

- Taylor Shannon, School of Aviation

Pilot Matt Gense, School of Aviation Studies Alumnus Sitting in a cockpit of a airplane

“As a prospective student, I visited many collegiate programs across the country.  What stood out about the OU School of Aviation was just how welcoming the staff and students were.  OU felt like a big family from day one.  As a student, I quickly realized that this program is unique because although it is part of a big school, it maintains a small school feel.  I feel known rather than just being another student.  

I have never felt a part of something so special before.  Nowhere else in the country can you attend a school with an elite athletics program, distinguished academics, and receive the highest level of flight training.  OU Aviation is truly one of a kind!”

-  Matt Gense, School of Aviation Alumnus

Tom Bishop, School of Aviation Studies Alumnus in his pilot's uniform  with his arms crossed.

"OU Aviation is the foundation of my successful career as a professional pilot. The program’s framework of continuous learning has propelled me through a decade of professional flying. First, as a regional airline pilot, then as a corporate pilot, and now as a pilot at FedEx Express. In each new role, my experience at OU Aviation directly contributed to my ability to learn and excel. Beyond teaching technical knowledge and skills, the program has a strong sense of community and is an incubator for young pilots. OU Aviation creates lifelong friendships, professional connections, and unparalleled opportunities for growth and development."

- Tom Bishop, School of Aviation Alumnus

Student Organizations

Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) provides an extensive array of resources available for student pilots and those thinking about becoming a student pilot. From a directory of local flight schools to flight training magazines, answers to common questions, and more, the AOPA "Learn to Fly" website is a great place to get started.

As the AOPA staff put it..."We think that flying yourself is just about the most fascinating, inspiring, and satisfying thing you can do. We invite you to join us in the fun."

Air Line Pilots Association, International

The Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA) is the world’s largest airline pilot union. ALPA represents and advocates for more than 74,000 pilots at 42 airlines in the United States and Canada. 

Through unbiased, fact-based evaluation of airline industry issues, ALPA works to ensure that the airline industry remains safe and secure. ALPA represents pilots’ views to U.S. and Canadian legislators and regulators, and ALPA pilot groups have negotiated hundreds of contracts with their airlines.

Alpha Eta Rho (AHP) - Beta Chi Chapter

The Alpha Eta Rho - Beta Chi chapter at OU is a professional collegiate aviation fraternity founded in 1929, dedicated to fostering, and mentoring students that have a common interest in the field of aviation.

AHP is a coed fraternity that emphasizes mentorship, professional development, and leadership potential among students within the aviation industry. Alpha Eta Rho welcomes and encourages a diverse background of individuals to participate in their organization!

Ken Carson Leadership Program

The Ken Carson Leadership Program (KCLP) is the premiere leadership program of the School of Aviation.

In this program, students actively grow their aviation and leadership skills, industry knowledge, and connections to better prepare them for their future careers.

National Gay Pilots Association

The National Gay Pilots Association (NGPA) is the largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer aviation professionals and enthusiasts from around the world. Since 1990 our mission has been simple: to Build, Support, and Unite the LGBTQ aviation community worldwide.

Through education, social events, and outreach NGPA advance its primary goals: Promote aviation safety. Provide an affirming social and professional network for the LGBTQ aviation community. Foster equal treatment of the LGBTQ aviation community through advocacy and outreach. Encourage members of the LGBTQ community to begin careers in aviation.

NIFA Flying Sooners

The National Intercollegiate Flying Association (NIFA) exists today as a forum for collegiate aviators to expand their studies and further their careers by participating in competitive and non-competitive events, networking with industry and contemporaries, and applying themselves to go above and beyond their ordinary curriculum. 

Sooner Air Traffic Control Association

The Sooner Air Traffic Control Association (SATCA) provides a gathering place where students, faculty, and administration can meet and discuss the field of Air Traffic Control.

Providing students the opportunity to develop their knowledge in their careers through seminars, airport and FAA facility tours, guest speakers, and other activities. SATCA focuses on narrowing the gap between pilot and controller communication errors to establish mutual understanding between both entities and promote the importance of the field of Air Traffic Control to the greater aviation community.

Sooner Chapter of the American Association of Airport Executives

Provide educational opportunities for students to attend aviation events and network with executives within the industry.

The Sooner Chapter of AAAE offers field trips, guest speakers, and volunteer opportunities for students to develop what aviation executives need. 

Women in Aviation, International

Women in Aviation - Sooner Chapter is a student organization dedicated to inspiring women to explore the history, excitement, and career opportunities of the aviation industry.

Women in Aviation is open to all OU students, regardless of gender or major.