Guide to Your Future

Hundreds of organizations in the aerospace industry are ready to give you money—to train to fly, to learn their trades, to work for them as apprentices, or to study their subjects in school. Here is your Air & Space/NEXT guide to these sources. Know a resource we could add? Contact us at


The Big Idea Challenge

March 3rd, 2017, 5:05PM

College-level students can submit new ideas to the Big Idea Challenge for building solar-powered tugs in space, including modifying launch packages, robotic assembly, and solar panel design. Run by the National Institute of Aerospace in Hampton, Virginia, the competition offers winning teams internships at NASA Langley Research Center and the cost to attend an annual Big Idea forum.


Aviation Systems Engineering Company

March 3rd, 2017, 4:55PM

The ASEC supports testing and engineering for U.S. Navy aircraft, both piloted and drone, and needs an intern in Lexington Park, Maryland, with at least one year of college study. The junior engineering intern will help develop a prototype aircraft in ASEC’s commercial drone department, learning about coding as well as 3-D manufacturing. Applicants need to pass an investigation for access to Secret classified information.


Retailer Walmart has its own flight department and offers four one-week-long internships in June and August at its base in Rogers, Arkansas. Interns are assigned mentors to learn flight planning, how to conduct a preflight check on an aircraft, and experience a full motion flight simulator. Applicants must have completed at least 90 college credit hours and have an FAA commercial pilot certificate with instrument and multi-engine ratings.


Omni Air International

March 3rd, 2017, 4:49PM

Omni hires summer interns in Tulsa, Oklahoma to help comply with a variety of safety and regulatory standards in its charter flight business. Interns in flight operations may configure electronic flight bags for Omni pilots, and help conduct audits. Interns in safety and security not only help to ensure that procedures are followed but also monitor world events to keep staff informed of the latest developments in security. Applicants must be enrolled full time at the university level with a 3.0 GPA.


The ICCT assigns its summer or fall interns to help compile data on the fuel consumption of airlines, with paid, full-time positions for 10-12 weeks. Research and analysis by interns is used to reduce emissions and improve aircraft fuel efficiency. Interns can be college undergraduates or recent graduates, should have experience with spreadsheets, and must submit a short writing sample. The 2017 internship is in the San Francisco office, but ICCT is also located in Washington, D.C., Berlin, and Beijing.


Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association

November 21st, 2016, 2:34PM

The AOPA High School Flight Training Scholarship is offered to pilot trainees ages 15 to 18. The AOPA Foundation Scholarship seeks pilot trainees ages 16 and over. And the AOPA AV8RS Scholarship is intended for teens from 13 through 18 for a number of aviation-related goals beyond flight training. Awards range from $2,500 to $12,000 and some require a membership in AOPA (the first six months of membership is free to students). All flight training applicants must hold an FAA student pilot certificate. Profiles of previous winners are online.


The Ninety-Nines

November 21st, 2016, 2:30PM

Since 1929, the Ninety-Nines has promoted the advancement of women pilots, technicians and mechanics, and since 1940 has awarded scholarships to at least 400 women. Their Karen Johnson Solo Scholarship, in conjunction with the WomenVenture portion of the annual fly-in at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, awards $3,000 to women ages 16 to 20 to reach their first solo flight. The Amelia Earhart Scholarship Memorial Fund offers awards up to $6,000 in categories ranging from adding a multi-engine pilot rating to a full type-rating, to learning emergency maneuvers and spins, to women in a non-G20 “emerging economy country” to pursue an aviation career in their own nation. The Ninety-Nines also offer grants to research scholars for “the expansion of human knowledge in areas of specific differences faced by women in aviation: as pilots, as engineers, as administrators, and in military aviation.”


The Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals is dedicated to the encouragement and advancement of minorities in all aviation and aerospace careers. In the last 40 years, the organization has coordinated donations from its 3,000 members to award more than $4.8 million in scholarships to 470 recipients. Scholarships range from undergraduate college tuition assistance for an “aviation related program” to graduate and professional advancement. Their website profiles a student who received $35,000 for training for a 737 type-rating with Delta Air Lines.


An exhaustive list of colleges, flight schools, and technical training organizations may provide free tuition or substantial subsidies to veterans of the U.S. military under the G.I. Bill from the Department of Veterans Affairs, and in some cases for their spouse and children. Hundreds of specialties are covered by the bill, from drone operation to rotorcraft to mechanical skills. Check with Veterans Affairs for your eligibility and for career counseling, then search for and compare educational opportunities using their search engine. For example, as only one of hundreds of listings, the Jeppesen unit of Boeing company provides a fully-paid six week course and housing for aircraft dispatching, to eligible veterans under the GI Bill.


Astronaut Scholarship Foundation

November 21st, 2016, 1:05PM

The ASF offers financial aid to aspiring astronauts enrolled at 34 cooperating universities. Six of the Mercury 7 astronauts founded the Mercury 7 Foundation, eventually renamed the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, to encourage students to focus on science, and has awarded $4 million to more than 400 scholars. Its original founders have since been by astronauts from Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, and the Space Shuttle. Candidates for a scholarship must be in their second year at a university and nominated by a professor. A liaison committee at each university narrows the field to two candidates who “must exhibit leadership, imagination and exceptional performance in science, technology, engineering and math.” A listing of previous winners and their disciplines is online.