People looking at an airplane

Introduction to Aviation

Now is the time to take the first step toward your career in aviation. Industry reports expect an ongoing shortage in aviation personnel, including pilots, maintenance technicians and cabin crew needed to fly and maintain the world fleet over the next 20 years. With career opportunities as a pilot, operations manager, engineer, maintenance and quality control technician, administrative personnel or in the armed forces, there is a path for any student with an interest in the industry.

 Pellissippi State is offering a 15-week introduction class to the world of aviation. The class satisfies the requirement of ground school and is designed to assist youth with goals of becoming a professional pilot. 


How Do I Become A Pilot?

After the successful completion of the Introduction to Aviation class, students will be eligible to sit for the FAA ground school basic knowledge written exam. There are several paths a student can take next to pursue a career as a pilot or aviation professional.

Complete the first step in your career path at Pellissippi State! Ground school is a lecture-based class that prepares you for the FAA basic knowledge exam. In a classroom setting, you will learn about the theory of how airplanes fly, weather and basic aviation knowledge. The Introduction to Aviation class satisfies the requirement of ground school.

An opportunity for students passing the FAA ground school basic knowledge written exam is the eligibility to apply for the Tuskegee NEXT Cadet program in Chicago, Illinois the summer following the class. Tuskegee NEXT is a competitive program that seeks to transform the lives of at-risk youth through aviation education and career path opportunities. The program takes a three-tiered approach providing flight training, life skills and educational assistance. To learn more about Tuskegee NEXT, visit

The next step is to attend flight school at a regional airport or enroll in a college or university aviation degree program. There are several factors to consider when choosing a local flight school or a degree program, including the types of training offered, location, cost and student success rate.

If you’re pursuing a career as a pilot, you must meet specific requirements to fly different types of aircrafts. A private pilot certificate requires 35-45 flying hours, while commercial pilot certificates require 250 flying hours. There are several in-demand jobs in areas that can help you achieve these goals, including flight instruction, pilots for aerial tours, ferry, agriculture, corporate and cargo planes, and military aviation.


Two males looking back from inside an airplane

Class Information

In a classroom setting, students will learn about the theory of how airplanes fly, how weather impacts flying, basic aviation knowledge and career opportunities in the industry. After successful completion of the class, students will be eligible to sit for the FAA ground school basic knowledge exam, which is the first step for individuals interested in continuing their career path to flight school. Students should have a basic knowledge of math, communication skills and attention to detail. Local professionals in the aviation industry will be paired with students to provide mentorship and guidance.


Fall 2022 Class

  • Tuesdays, September 2022 through January 2023, 6:30-8:30 p.m. (no class during winter break)
  • Class includes one mandatory Saturday field trip (date TBD)
  • Registration is $750 and includes all materials, books and FAA ground school exam. Scholarships based on financial need are available.
  • Classes will be held in-person at the Pellissippi State Community College – Magnolia Avenue Campus


Student Eligibility

  • Age 16-20 at the time of the class
  • At least a sophomore in high school
  • Hold a minimum GPA of 2.75
  • Have no criminal record


Application Process & Timeline

Step 1: Complete the online application

Apply Now

  • The priority deadline to apply is August 1, 2022
  • The application includes:
    • A personal statement
    • A current grade report
    • Two recommendation letters
  • Applications missing any required documents after the application deadline are not considered complete.


Step 2: Complete the Scholarship application (optional)

  • Scholarships based on financial need are available to cover the full cost of the class. If you would like to apply for a scholarship, please complete the application by the priority deadline of August 1, 2022.

Scholarship Application (PDF)


Step 3: Applicants selected

  • Applications will be reviewed based on essay responses, involvement, references and eligibility requirements.
  • Applicants selected to participate in the class will be notified shortly after the priority deadline.
  • Scholarship recipients will be notified at that same time.
  • If you are participating in the class, but not a scholarship recipient, the deadline to pay for the class will be stated in the email notifying you of your acceptance into the program.


Students do not need to apply to the college to take the Introduction to Aviation class. For more information please contact Pellissippi State Business and Community Services at 865.539.7167 or

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Location & Hours

Hardin Valley Campus
Lamar Alexander Building, Office 108

10915 Hardin Valley Road
Knoxville, TN 37933-0990
Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.