Kentucky School Puts Students on Aviation Career Track

 - February 27, 2013, 1:20 PM
At the Kentucky Institute for Aerospace Education high school students can take courses in numerous aeronautical subjects, earning industry certifications such as the private pilot certificate.

Amid shrinking supply and increasing demand for qualified technical personnel in the aviation industry, the Kentucky Institute for Aerospace Education (KIAE) is addressing the solution in a big way. Tim Smith, executive director and CEO, founded KIAE in 2010 based on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) learning.

Jeffrey Carrithers, president and CEO of and KIAE board member, told AIN, “I see this as a new way of educating our kids. Students can enter the program anytime during high school and be able to take classes that have college credit, which would subsequently apply to a degree.” According to Smith, the program currently includes 20 Kentucky public high schools.

“This is our third year and we already have graduates enrolled in the University of North Dakota, Embry Riddle and other universities. We’ve had more than 600 students in the program and anticipate growth to as many as 1,500 in a given year.” The program creates pathways for students into flight and aeronautics, aeronautical engineering, aircraft maintenance, aviation operations and management, and space systems engineering. All five pathways have university connections with high school students earning college credit plus industry certifications such as private pilot.


This program is one of only a handful nationwide that is grasping the STEM program and merging it with the Aerospace/Aviation industry and it is working. If you are interested in the employment needs coming soon to the aviation profession or for that matter the education of our children for the future, the KIAE organization is one to review.

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This is an excellent program for the state of Kentucky and for the other states that have begun using STEM learning in their schools. This organization is not just for educating students on flying but every facet of aviation. Many of the students in this program had no idea of all the different fields in aviation. Whether the student wants to fly airplanes, work on airplanes, design airports, design aircraft, or manage airports, these all require a basis for understanding aviation which is what this program does. It's crucial that we educate our children for tomorrow and this program is certainly doing this and opening up aviation/aerospace possibilities to students statewide that would have never been introduced to these fields. Way to go Dr. Smith!

Hello, I am interested in the aviation programs that are taught in Kentucky High Schools. My question is what schools is the program being taught and which school has been a leader in the aviation program. Thanks

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