Pilot shortage: Southeastern University's new degree for aspiring aviators

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Southeastern University announced a new curriculum designed to prepare students for jobs in aviation: A field experts say has a major shortage of skilled employees.

On Wednesday, the school unveiled its new degree programs that will teach students how to become pilots and work in the aviation industry.

“For Southeastern University, this is an opportunity to equip the next generation of pilots with the skills and tools they will need to be successful in this growing market,” said Dr. Kent Ingle, the university’s president.

The program was developed to address a serious shortage of pilots. By 2037, it’s estimated that the industry will need almost 800,000 pilots.

“Almost every regional airline today has aircraft sitting on the ground because they don’t have enough pilots,” Steven Markhoff, CEO of International Aero Academy, told FOX 13.

Markhoff says his company has worked with SEU and Trans States Airlines to come up with something that is groundbreaking.

“The programs that we have created are the most career-empowering programs in this industry, period,” he said.

The program consists of several tracks including an associate’s and two bachelor’s degrees.

As soon as students step in the door, they will interview with Trans States. If they do well, they will get a promise of employment. When they graduate, they would start off as a pilot at around $60,000 a year. In a few years, they could potentially make $150,000 a year.

Students could qualify to become a flight instructor within the first eight months and get paid $28 an hour while they work towards their degree.

Advocates also boast that the SEU program is quicker and about half the cost of other ones.

Classes start in January.