Purdue University Global and National Society of High School Scholars to host professional pilot exploration event

WEST LAFAYETTE — Attention, aspiring pilots. Purdue University Global is teaming with the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) to host a hands-on career exploration event for anyone interested in pursuing a career as a professional pilot.

The event is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET on Feb. 19 at Sterling Flight Training in Jacksonville, Florida. Registration is required and limited to 200 individuals.

Attendees will hear from professional pilots, current Purdue Global flight students, and certified flight instructors about the pathway to earning several flight certificates and ratings that are key to becoming a professional pilot.

In addition, optional “discovery flights” will be offered throughout the day. During these 15-20-minute flights over Jacksonville, the front passenger will be able to take control of the aircraft with the supervision of one of the Sterling Flight Training instructors, providing a first-hand experience of being a pilot.

“We know there is an anticipated shortfall of professional pilots on the horizon, and Purdue University Global has made a commitment to offering a first-rate professional flight program,” said Andrew Rachmell, professional flight business development specialist for Purdue Global. “We are excited to work with NSHSS to provide an inside look into what it takes to becoming a pilot through our program.”

Andrew Rachmell, professional flight business development specialist Purdue Global

Purdue Global has partnerships with several affiliate flight training centers, including Sterling Flight Training. Others are with Cincinnati-based Lunken Flight Training Center and New Orleans Aerial Tours & Flight Training.

“NSHSS is pleased to partner with Purdue University Global for this hands-on exploration of a high-demand career in aviation,” said James Lewis, NSHSS president, and co-founder. “In our most recent career interest survey, Gen Z students identified several aviation companies as their top employers of choice, so we know there is also high interest in these careers. Creating opportunities for discovery in a variety of careers is one of the best ways to foster students’ future success.”

Purdue Global’s professional flight degree program is a collaboration between Purdue Global and Purdue University’s School of Aviation and Transportation Technology – announced in 2019. It combines the quality of Purdue’s legendary aviation program spanning more than six decades with the flexibility and affordability that Purdue Global offers.

Students accepted into the program, with a private pilot certificate, will complete their Bachelor of Science degree courses online through Purdue Global, which includes aviation and general education classes while completing professional flight training at one of the Purdue Global affiliate training centers across the country. During flight training, students will be working toward earning certificates and ratings in instrument, commercial, multi-engine, and certified flight instructor.

As students progress in their flight training to become certified flight instructors, they will have the foundation necessary to serve as flight instructors and accrue additional flight experience required by airlines and corporate flight departments to get hired as professional pilots. Upon reaching certified flight instructor status, students can then begin working full-time teaching others while completing their degree and earn compensation for their work, which can help with education costs and living expenses.

Purdue’s School of Aviation and Transportation Technology, one of six departments and schools in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute, is recognized worldwide as a leader in aviation education and provides its expertise in curriculum development, faculty hiring, and accreditation by the Aviation Accreditation Board International.

As U.S. airline pilots approach the federally mandated retirement age of 65, the industry faces a shortage of pilots. Reports forecast a need for more than 800,000 pilots over the next 20 years, and airlines are already finding it hard to fill open positions.

About Purdue University Global

Purdue University Global delivers personalized online education tailored to the unique needs of adults who have work or life experience beyond the classroom, enabling them to develop essential academic and professional skills with the support and flexibility they need to achieve their career goals. It offers personalized paths for students to earn an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree, based on their work experience, desired pace, military service, previous college credits, and other considerations – no matter where they are in their life journey. Purdue Global is a nonprofit, public university accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. It is affiliated with Purdue University’s flagship institution, a highly ranked public research university located in West Lafayette, Indiana. Purdue University also operates regional campuses in Fort Wayne and Northwest Indiana, as well as serving science, engineering, and technology students at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) campus. For more information, visit purdueglobal.edu.


The National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) is a globally-distinguished academic honor society dedicated to recognizing high-achieving students in more than 26,000 high schools across 170 countries. Since 2002, NSHSS has supported young academics on their journey to college and beyond. The benefits of NSHSSextend well beyond one’s academic career. Through events, study abroad programs, internships, scholarshipscollege fairs, and career and leadership opportunitiesNSHSS provides its 1.7 million members with the resources and network to excel as they prepare to become the leaders of tomorrow. Learn more about the benefits of NSHSS and what it means to become a member at nshss.org