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Imagine a cockpit as your classroom, and the adrenaline rush you’ll feel during that very first ascent. Think of how exciting it will be to rise and soar across the sky, piloting an actual airplane. At Lakeland College, you don’t have to imagine flying, because you can actually do it. Yes, with our innovative aviation-as-a-minor strategy, you can earn full certification while completing a four-year degee. So when you leave Lakeland, you are leaving with two potential career paths, including becoming a professional pilot.

Take to the sky

Lakeland, the only four-year college in Wisconsin with a professional flight training program, offers private pilot certification all the way up to multi-engine commercial pilot certification.

Most of the 31 credit hours will be earned in the air, as Lakeland has convenient access to nearby Sheboygan County Memorial Airport (just seven miles from campus) and a partnering charter company; as well as the Aviation Heritage Center located at the Sheboygan Memorial Airport.

You will begin learning visual flight skills in Cessna 152s and 172s before advancing to more complex airplanes. You will also hone your skills on the full-motion flight simulator at Aviation Heritage Center of Wisconsin.

Lakeland's aviation program is the only college program in Wisconsin based on well-structured Part 141 training regulations, which are certified and monitored by the Federal Aviation Administration.

With this degree, you will be in high demand.

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Snapshot of Success

Name: Ryan Graves

Hometown: Munising, Mich.

Title: 2nd Lt.

Business: U.S. Marine Corps

When he was a little boy, Ryan boarded a Cessna 172 aircraft for a family tour of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan. He was immediately captivated, not by the brilliant display of nature unspooling below him, but by this amazing new sensation of dashing across the sky.

Ryan’s love affair with flying never waned. And now, nearly two decades after that maiden flight and less than a year after graduating from Lakeland with a criminal justice major and an aviation minor, he’s about to take that love to a new level.

Following six months of school in Virginia for newly commissioned officers, Ryan will enter the U.S. Marine Corps flight school, after which he’ll begin a career built on flying.

Ryan initially enrolled in Michigan Tech, but didn’t like how big the school was.

“And I wanted to fly,” he recalls. “Lakeland’s (aviation program) was a great way to earn credits, learn about aviation and fly. It worked out great for me. I’m close to 100 hours of flight time and almost have my instrument rating.”

Ryan holds a private license, and needless to say, he’ll have an edge over his fellow marines when he gets to flight school.

“It’s a great program,” Ryan says of Lakeland’s aviation minor. “People with an interest in aviation will really enjoy it. It’s one thing to be in the back of a plane learning about flying. But to actually fly is a unique experience.”

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