School Choice Factors Influencing Flight School Selection: Among Student Pilots Who Enrolled as Teenagers

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Jingmin Jin

Abstract

This study examined school choice factors influencing decisions to enroll in vocational flight schools among student pilots enrolled as teenagers. The purpose of identifying these factors is to inform flight school recruiters about possible insights for effectively recruiting teenage students. The study data was based on a 2019 survey. This study included 45 participants who met the following inclusion criteria: intended to become airline pilots, were aged 15–18 at enrollment, and were enrolled in vocational, non-collegiate flight schools for private pilot training in California in 2016-2019. The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. The key findings regarding training program factors that influenced decisions were: training quality, safety records of the programs, the reputation of certificated flight instructors, availability of flying opportunities, length of time to complete the program, scheduling flexibility. In terms of institutional factors, the participants highlighted training costs, overall school reputation, training capacity, career placement, administration integrity, friendliness of the campus, financial aid availability, and administration effectiveness. Moreover, the participants considered family members, school flight instructors, and school staff as the most important individuals influencing their school selection. With respect to school marketing promotion approaches, the teenage group identified contact with school flight instructors, contact with school staff, campus visits, word of mouth, and school’s website as relatively more influential approaches. This study contributes to the current literature on vocational school choice decision-making, specifically for teenage students choosing flight schools. In addition, collegiate aviation programs recruiting young adult students could also benefit from this study’s findings since very few studies have been conducted examining students’ choice patterns for collegiate aviation institutions.

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Peer-Reviewed Articles

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