Flight School: Canada vs US

Greetings everyone!

After graduating from university and spending some time in the corporate world, I’ve decided to consider pursuing my childhood dream to become a pilot. The office view seems a lot nicer at 35,000 feet!

After spending the past couple months researching everything I possibly could about flight school and the process of becoming a pilot, I’m at a loss as to whether I should do my flight training in Canada or the US. I am from a small city in Canada and plan to start my flight training next year. While I will do my private pilot’s license in my hometown to save money, I will have to move away for my commercial and ATP licenses.

My main priorities in choosing a flight school include:
-Quality of instruction
-Time: As I already have a degree and will be 24 next year, I would like to get flying as quickly as possible
-Connections with regional carriers.

The latter is most important to me. The way I see it, there’s no sense in spending an enormous sum of money on flight school if it’s not going to help me get employed. I’d much rather spend more up front if it will lead to a better chance of getting hired.

Now, on to my dilemma of Canada vs the US. After researching flight schools, here’s a summary of what I’ve found:

Reasons to stay in Canada: Flight schools are slightly less expensive, no need to secure student and work visas, a few schools have connections with the major regional airlines.

Reasons to choose the US: Better weather = I could complete my training and build the necessary minimum hours faster, more schools with connections to the regionals, and a seemingly higher demand for pilots (although I could be wrong on that one). The tuition reimbursement offered by certain regional airlines is also a big plus. This would be huge for me as the cost of flight school was the main reason I didn’t originally pursue a career in aviation and is still the biggest roadblock for me.

At the moment, I’m leaning strongly towards doing my training in the US, however, my main concern is employment eligibility after graduation. As a foreign citizen, is it possible for me to obtain work authorization in the US? If not, then the obvious choice for me would be to stay in Canada.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you very much for your patience! I’m completely new to all this so my apologies if some of my questions seem silly to you. Thank you in advance for your help. It is very much appreciated!



To work as a pilot in the US one needs to be either a US citizen or US permanent legal resident. Visas are not available to work as a pilot. As such, it sounds like you need to train in Canada.