Coe College to open flight school and aviation management program at the Eastern Iowa Airport

Aviation-Management-Logo-Over-Clouds.jpgIn partnership with Revv Aviation and the Eastern Iowa Airport (CID), Coe College is opening a flight school and aviation management program. Those interested in becoming a professional pilot can complete their certification while enrolled as students within Coe's new aviation management concentration. This new concentration and program will be offered pending approval by the Higher Learning Commission. 

The need for pilots and support personnel across the aviation industry has reached a critical level. There is estimated to be a 17,000 pilot gap as many are leaving the position due to age-mandated retirement, and the increase in demand is driving starting salaries near $90,000 or more. Coe will help train the next generation of pilots. Students who choose Coe for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) pilot certification will also graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in business administration with a concentration in aviation management, which is preferred by major carriers and creates higher earning and career promotion potential.

“Cedar Rapids is an aviation rich town. With the presence of national and international companies in the area, there is a concentration of pilots and aviation professionals, so Coe will build a program with highly skilled experts to teach courses and mentor students,” said Coe College President David Hayes ’93.

Coe has engaged with Revv Aviation to run the flight school. Revv Aviation has many years of experience as a flight training partner, producing over 3,000 flight school graduates. Through this partnership, Coe will pursue Part 141 certification with the FAA, which is a more structured and rigorous training program designed for professional pilots. Once certified, most students will earn their certification more quickly under Part 141, potentially a significant cost savings. Students will also have the opportunity to earn while they learn by becoming certified flight instructors and gaining employment while finishing their flight hours. 

Courses within the aviation management program will be taught on campus and at Coe’s dedicated aeronautical field station operated out of CID. Students can forgo the flight school and take classes within the aviation management concentration to prepare for non-flying roles within the aviation industry.

Faculty within Coe’s Stead Department of Business Administration & Economics and Revv Aviation instructors will lead the program. Coe’s faculty are well-practiced in integrating industry experience into their courses — they lead the Birkey Investment Fund and the Spellman Summer Research program on campus. Coe is the No. 12 private college in the nation for internships, according to The Princeton Review.

“Aviation and business have long gone hand-in-hand. With the current demand and earnings’ potential, as well as the future prospects in this space, this is an exciting industry to add to our portfolio of expertise at Coe,” said Roger & Mary Baxter Professor of Business Administration and World Affairs Pam Carstens.

Students in the aviation program will have exclusive use of a hangar and office space. Coe students will have the ability to network with the experienced aviation professionals and pilots based out of the airport.

Ongoing modernization at the airport will also enhance student experience and opportunities. Now in its fourth and final phase, CID is adding 32,000 square feet and four additional jet bridges to accommodate the five airlines that provide service to 19 nonstop destinations.

"We are thrilled to be partners on this new program," said CID Director Marty Lenss. "This announcement is another step toward creating the aviation education campus at CID. In addition, it will open doors to new economic development opportunities.”

A Coe donor with unparalleled excitement and support for the program is investing $200,000 to jumpstart the initiative. In addition, the college is pursuing federal funding in partnership with the airport.

“The partnership with CID is a perfect match. With the ongoing modernization, students and faculty will utilize top-notch facilities and because of the pivotal role a growing and vibrant airport provides to the business community, many businesses and civic leaders are mindful of opportunities to help facilitate investments that help the Creative Corridor expand its footprint in this area,” Hayes said.

Coe plans to offer the flight school and aviation management program beginning Fall 2025. However, college and airport officials recognize the demand for professionals in the aviation industry is significant. The program is prepared to open this fall (2024) if the market demands are such that a sizable cohort wishes to enroll immediately. 

“Coe College is evolving with the changing needs of the world. We value both the need to develop well-rounded citizens and meaningful educational outlets that further enhance the world around us. This aviation program is one example of how the liberal arts remains relevant – teaching critical thinking, communication, collaboration, global perspectives, social responsibility, adaptability and more,” said Provost & Dean of the Faculty Angela Ziskowski.

“Coe College is the shining example of a liberal arts college that gets it. They are focused on evolving and growing as the world around it has. We are proud to partner with a forward-thinking educational leader to provide the platform for an educational opportunity that both excels in academic merit and is also an industry-informed educational experience that will better our community and the aviation industry. Attracting and retaining top talent in aviation is critical to the health of our community,” said Lenss.

Prospective students may contact the Office of Admission at 319.399.8500 or for more information. Media inquiries should be directed to Executive Director of Marketing Natalie Milke at or 319.899.3784.

Coe College intends to open a flight school and aviation management program, as part of the Bachelor of Arts degree (business administration major). A substantive application for this program has been submitted to the accreditor and is pending Higher Learning Commission approval. 

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