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Is It Safe to Assume I Can’t Use My Post 9/11 GI Bill to Get My Private Pilot’s License?

Author Ron Kness is no longer in the service.

Q: I’m going back to school to be a full-time student… at the same time I want to use my Post 9/11 GI Bill to get a private pilot license/certification… I’m assuming the VA won’t allow that?

A: It is possible to use your Post 9/11 GI Bill to get your private pilot’s license, but you can’t do it as a standalone program. However, some of the four-year aviation programs that terminate with a bachelor’s degree in aviation include getting a private pilot’s license as part of their VA-approved program. If you are going to school full-time anyway, why not go for your aviation degree and let your Post 9/11 GI Bill pay for it.

The VA doesn’t pay for a private pilot’s license alone because they consider it an avocation instead of a vocation – which the whole point of the GI Bill in the first place – to train you in something that you can make a career of. Just getting a private pilot’s license alone doesn’t fill that bill.

However, when it is part of a larger aviation training program, like one that would lead to being a commercial pilot, then it is a requirement of the program and covered. See the difference?

If you decide to get your private pilot’s license on your own, and once you pass the medical certification, then you could use your Post 9/11 GI Bill to get a certification in:
• Rotary wing
• B747-400
• Dual engine
• Flight Engineer

For flight certification programs, the Post 9/11 Bill will pay up to $11,562.86 per year. If you choose a four-year aviation program, then it would pay 100% of tuition and fees at a public school and up to $20,235.02 per year at a private VA-approved school having a four-year aviation program.

To me it is a no-brainer – get your four-year aviation degree.

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