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Texas State University announced the launch of an aviation science degree program Monday. Above: Pictured is TXST President Kelly Damphousse and Coast Flight Training President Heath Jameson next to the new Bobcat airplane. Below: Pictured is San Marcos Mayor Jane Hughson making the 'Eat 'em Up Cats' hand gesture.
Daily Record photos by Shannon West


Friday, June 21, 2024

TXST to offer new aviation science degree program

Texas State University has partnered with Coast Flight Training, the City of San Marcos, and Texas Aviation Partners to launch an innovative new aviation science degree program to help address the growing national demand for airline and commercial pilots.

The Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science with a Concentration in Aviation Science will provide a pathway to certifications and licensure required for professional pilots along with the critical thinking, teamwork and leadership skills valued by the commercial aviation industry. Coast Flight will provide the flight training at San Marcos Regional Airport, which is owned by the city of San Marcos and operated by Texas Aviation Partners.

'TXST is proud to partner with Coast Flight Training, Texas Aviation Partners, and the city of San Marcos at San Marcos Regional Airport to address the nation’s pilot shortage by offering this exciting new opportunity to our students,' said TXST President Kelly Damphousse. 'This program is another example of TXST's commitment to provide access to an education that gives our students the marketable skills they need to enter and thrive in the Texas workforce.'

The new program— which is offered by TXST’s Department of Occupational, Workforce and Leadership Studies (OWLS)—will begin admitting students immediately for classes starting in Fall 2024.

“Our innovative B.A.A.S. Aviation Science- Professional Pilot concentration is poised to revolutionize our department's approach to delivering career-focused, hands-on training in a field that's experiencing rapid growth and high demand in Central Texas and beyond,” said Shetay Ashford-Hanserd, Ph.D., OWLS chair. “We're thrilled about our partnership with Coastal Flight, an FAA-approved flight school, which will provide our BAAS students with unparalleled training opportunities. We're also looking forward to forging new partnerships within the aviation industry and other sectors.”

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that during the decade spanning 2022-2032, the demand for commercial pilots will grow nationally by more than 5,600 positions, an increase of more than 4%. About 16,800 openings for commercial pilots are projected each year, on average, over the decade, with many of those openings resulting from the need to replace pilots reaching mandatory retirement.

“The Department of OWLS is excited to help train the next generation of pilots and aviation professionals to meet the workforce demands in our nation,” said Felix Quayson, Ph.D., BAAS program coordinator. “We welcome strategic partnerships that would give Texas State students a first-rate aviation experience.”

“I am excited about the launching of this new aviation certification program in OWLS,” said Angela Ausbrooks, Ph.D., interim dean in the College of Applied Arts. “This program will allow OWLS to increase its positive impact on the learning of future students, increase their successful collaborations with industry partners throughout Central Texas and strengthen its trajectory toward meeting strategic plan goals, specifically those related to student success and providing quality academic programming.”

Airline and commercial pilots fly and navigate airplanes, helicopters and other aircraft. Airline pilots work primarily for airlines that transport passengers and cargo on a fixed schedule, while commercial pilots are involved in unscheduled flight activities, such as aerial application, charter flights and aerial tours. Professional pilots have a range of job opportunities including: • Couriers and express delivery services

• Federal government services

• Support activities for transportation

• Nonscheduled air transportation (tours, charters, etc.)

• Ambulance services

• Technical and trade schools (private)

• Professional, scientific and technical services

• Median pay for commercial pilots was approximately $171,000 in 2023.

“We are excited to provide prospective students with the opportunity to turn their passion for flying into a bachelor’s degree from Texas State University,” said Shailen Singh, Ph.D., OWLS assistant chair.

“We are so incredibly excited to partner with Coastal Flight to provide this life-changing experience for students to learn to fly,” said Jennifer King, Ed.D., OWLS recruiter.

For further information, visit program/aviation- science.html.

San Marcos Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666