GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — Colorado Mesa University and Western Colorado Community College will launch a new associate degree program designed to prepare students for a career in aviation this fall.
Students who successfully complete the two-year program, which includes traditional classes as well as ground and flight training, will graduate with about 240 flight hours and will have earned a private pilot’s license, a commercial pilot’s license with an instrument rating and will be certified as a flight instructor. That is all in addition to an Associate of Applied Science in Aviation Technology degree.
“It has taken us some time to get this off the ground but I believe giving our students the opportunity to get a pilot’s license and to prepare for a career in aviation is well worth the time and effort is has taken to garner all the necessary approvals,” said CMU President Tim Foster. “I think the availability of both the program and the availability of the qualified pilots it will produce contribute greatly to the potential for economic growth in western Colorado specifically and in the state as a whole.”
The program director is a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and a command pilot with more than 4,000 flying hours as an aircraft commander, instructor pilot and flight examiner. In addition to his military and flying experience, Dan Ashton is a CPA with master’s degrees in business administration and in aeronautical science. He has been an assistant professor teaching accounting at CMU since January 2014 and has taught at several other universities.
The flight and ground courses in the program have been approved by the FAA. The program has also been approved for federal financial aid and most of the classes are eligible for funding through the GI Bill.
There are additional expenses for the student beyond tuition and fees to cover the costs for in-flight instruction. Classes will be held at WCCC and at Colorado Flight Center at the Grand Junction Regional Airport.