The University of Mount Olive is soaring to the next level in its flight program. UMO Flight School, LLC, the University’s Flight School, began in 2019 and has grown to include three single-engine planes, two of which are Cessna 172 airplanes and a third Piper Lance PA-32. However, there is more to aviation than just learning to fly. UMO is offering two new Bachelor of Science degrees in Aviation and Business Management that will equip students with both the aviation and business skills to launch a successful career.
According to the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), the aviation industry contributes more than $150 billion annually to the U.S. economy and employs more than one million people across the country. “Aviation is a high-powered, fast-paced industry,” said Tillman School of Business Dean Dr. Kathy T. Best. “Qualified professionals are required not only to fly planes, but also to manage airports, airlines, and aviation-related businesses. Our programs are designed to fit a variety of industry needs.”
Best indicated that students enrolled in the Aviation and Business Management program have the option to take either the Pilot Manned or Unmanned curriculum. Students in both programs will learn business management strategies in aviation, flight safety, government regulations, security, finance, and various other areas.
In the Pilot Unmanned, often referred to as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) degree program, students earn a remote pilot certification that enables them to fly drones. Numerous careers utilize the constantly evolving technology of drones or “unmanned aircraft,” such as agriculture, the military, firefighting, disaster relief, law enforcement, surveillance, and aerial photography. Upon graduation, students will also have the skills and knowledge to be effective leaders and managers in the aviation industry.
Students enrolled in the Pilot Manned degree program will have the opportunity to earn a private pilot certificate, an instrument rating, and a commercial pilot certificate during the freshman and sophomore years. During the junior year, students have the opportunity to earn a certified flight instructor certificate and a multi-engine certification.
According to Best, “Our programs are designed to offer students a competitive edge in the field of aviation while earning a bachelor degree in business management. Whether their career goal is to be a pilot or aviation manager, we will help students achieve their goals.”
For individuals that already have licenses, Best indicated that students can receive experiential learning credit and reduce the amount of time needed to complete their bachelor degree. Colby Perry of Eureka plans to do just that. A member of UMO’s wrestling team, Perry is currently taking flight training at UMO and is on track to obtain his private pilot certification. To fulfill his educational goals, in fall 2021, he plans to declare a major in Aviation and Business Management. “This program can’t be beat,” he said. “I looked at many different options, but UMO offered me everything I needed to reach my end goal of becoming a commercial pilot.”
Pending approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), both programs are expected to be begin in the fall of 2021. The University of Mount Olive will be the only private college in NC to offer this combination of aviation and business management. UMO President Dr. H. Edward Croom said, “It is exciting to know that the next generation of aviation managers, airplane pilots, and drone pilots will be trained and educated right here at the University of Mount Olive. This is great news not only for us, but also for Wayne County, our region, our state, and beyond, as we meet future workforce needs.”