Cadet Academy

To all of those who dream big and want more out of life American Airlines is the world-class aviation leader that enables your success by welcoming you into our inclusive community of committed professionals who care for people along life’s journey. Our dedicated program lender, American Airlines Federal Credit Union, can help simplify the financial aspect of your training.

Take flight on a pilot pathway to American Airlines. This seamless track begins with flight training from zero hours through certified flight instructor – instrument (CFII).  After graduation from the American Airlines Cadet Academy, you will enter a cadet program at one of our wholly owned regional carriers, (Envoy, Piedmont, or PSA) with a conditional job offer, where you will build the required flight hours to reach ATP or R-ATP* minimums. 

Now you have reached the required minimums to earn your wings as a first officer.  American Airlines has contractual flow-through agreements with each of our regional carriers, which means you could be selected to transfer directly to American Airlines once your seniority accrues.

*Spartan College flight school partner offers R-ATP minimums of 1250 hours.

See the qualifications

To get started transforming your dreams into reality, you need to...

  • Be legally eligible to work in the United States.
  • Be 21 years old by the completion of the approximately three-year program.
  • Have a high school diploma or GED.
  • Be able to obtain an FAA Physical (first class medical).
  • Be able to obtain a valid passport with the ability to travel in and out of the United States.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in reading, writing, and speaking English.
  • Complete a Discovery Flight or Introductory Flight
  • Pass a background check.

Check out the locations & costs

Investing in your future

Cadet Academy has been designed to address all of the obstacles associated with a traditional flight training route. We have developed a turn-key approach similar to many colleges. You are responsible for one price. As long as you study hard and pass all of your courses as expected, all costs associated with becoming a professional pilot are covered in that one price.

Cadet Academy Benefits


Individualized support from an American pilot mentor that continues along your path to American.


American Airlines leads the industry in financing, giving cadets the ability to finance their training on a timeline that makes sense for them.

Path to American

A unique pathway from zero hours to first officer at your destination of American Airlines

Community of Cadets

Cadets from every ethnic, geographic, and economic background coming together to create a classroom and community where you belong.

Partner schools

Each of our partner schools have slightly different tuition driven by different training aircraft and location. Regardless of which school you select, you will receive a consistently high level of training.

The price of the program includes materials, uniforms, and all training (for those who maintain satisfactory academic progress). The cost of housing and meals can be added, if necessary, to an AAFCU loan up to the aggregate borrowing limit of $126,000. Cadet Academy is designed to avoid any unforeseen expenses.

Coast Flight

San Diego, CA


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Spartan College

Tulsa, OK


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Phoenix, AZ


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Coast Flight

Dallas, TX


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Coast Flight

San Marcos, TX


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Infinity Flight Group

Trenton, NJ


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Select the logos below to learn more.

See how you can finance it

Loan Program

American Airlines has partnered with American Airlines Federal Credit Union to offer a unique financing opportunity for cadets.

Enrollment in the Cadet Academy is required to qualify and applicants must meet certain credit requirements. The credit decision is determined by credit worthiness, including credit score, credit history, and other factors.

Flight-student loans are made by American Airlines Federal Credit Union, not American Airlines or flight training partners.

American Airlines Federal Credit Union

American Airlines Credit Union is pleased to partner with the American Airlines Cadet Program in helping prospective pilots pursue their dream job. They’ve been supporting American Airlines for more than 85 years and look forward to the opportunity to work with you and watch your career take flight. American Airlines Credit Union is the official credit union for American Airlines and their families. As a member of the Credit Union, you not only get their tuition assistance as a cadet, but you get membership benefits for life. Some of the benefits of working with the credit union include:

  • Cadet student loans up to $126k with variable or fixed rates
  • Low Rates
  • Cosigner Allowed (if your credit needs a boost)
  • No Application Fee
  • No Servicing Fee
  • No Prepayment penalty
  • Rate discount available for automated payments (.25%)
  • Payments do not begin until after program completion*
  • Personalized Financial Wellness Program that includes access to a Financial Advocate, budgeting solutions, and other financial wellness tools
  • Exclusive membership privileges

They can work with you to create a customized financial wellness plan to help your aviation career get off the ground. Learn more how the Credit Union can assist you on your life journey and in pursuing your dream job.

*Assumes satisfactory progress is being made toward program completion.