Aviation School: Should You Choose Modular Or Integrated Training?

If you're considering attending aviation college, you have a big decision on your hands. Typically, flight training is very expensive, so it's imperative that you choose the right kind of school for you. At present, there are two main types of training offered—modular and integrated. 

Integrated Training

Integrated training means that all of your training is conducted on-site at an industry-approved flight school. This type of course can be likened to a college degree—it takes you from having zero experience to holding a fully recognized commercial license. Of course, this means that a long-term commitment is required on your side, and you will have to undergo an intensive training regime during your time in the course. 

Typically, integrated training is geared towards trainees with zero flight experience. The idea is to take you through all of the basics before moving on to more advanced material. However, this doesn't mean students with previous experience may not apply. On the contrary, having a few hours of flying experience can actually prove beneficial, as you are able to concentrate on the parts you find most difficult whilst revising the basics. 

Integrated training is typically very well structured and demands an extremely high standard from students. Choosing integrated training means you will follow a preset path where you can develop all of the fundamentals as you move along. However, integrated training does have a number of drawbacks that you should consider: 

  • It is more expensive as fees for the entire course have to be paid in advance. 
  • It requires a long-term commitment. 
  • You will not be able to continue working whilst you learn. 
  • You may have to relocate and live on-site if there are no suitable aviation schools nearby. 

Of course, the above drawbacks will not apply to everyone and you may indeed find it entirely beneficial to invest a significant amount of time and money into your education. However, for those students who have other commitments (family, finances, etc.) then modular training is a great alternative. 

Modular Training

Modular training means taking each flying certificate (PPL, CPL, IR etc.) in small 'blocks' of tuition. This allows you to build your flying resume one module at a time, whilst navigating the long road of flight training at a pace that suits you. 

One of the main advantages of modular training is that you are able to enroll in different schools to undertake different modules. This offers you a level of flexibility that is incomparable to integrated training, allowing you to move with your career or family whilst continuing to build your flying experience. Similarly, this flexibility means you can take breaks from your education at any time, continuing with your next module only when you are ready to do so. 

Another key advantage of modular training is in the price tag—studying modules separately works out significantly cheaper than studying intensively. Of course, you will have to do your homework to plan out a suitable path; however, a little research can save you a large amount of money in the long run. By offering you the ability to continue working full-time whilst continuing your training, modular training means you will likely take on less debt than if you opted for an intensive course. With that said, modular training has a few drawbacks of its own: 

  • It can take much longer to complete your education. 
  • You may have to revisit basic skills between modules to ensure you haven't forgotten anything important. 
  • As each module is studied independently, it is more difficult to link different types of training together. 
  • It is down to you alone to construct a comprehensive flying education. 
  • You will have to spend significant time and effort researching different flying schools to ensure you are choosing the right one for each module. 

Particularly for trainees with other commitments, the above drawbacks may be outweighed by the flexibility and cost savings offered by modular training. Deciding which type of training to opt for will depend on your current circumstances and how much time you have to commit to your education.

In either case, once you have chosen your desired form of training you have an even greater task at hand—choosing a suitable flying school. Not all aviation schools are equal, so be sure to take your time and consider all of the options available before jumping in.