Why accreditation

Flight school accreditation program


On August 22, 2011, FSANA launched the first flight school accreditation program in the history of flight training. The purpose of flight school accreditation is to maintain the highest standard for flight schools with respect to industry business practices and professionalism. The program was founded on seven core business strategies: safety, security, risk management, business practices, finance and accounting, education, and customer satisfaction. For the first time in the history of flight training, flight schools were able to determine if their business model meets a set of minimum standards developed by their peers.
Flight school accreditation also gives the general public the ability to identify flight schools which comply with the FSANA Code of Ethics and meet or exceed accreditation standards established by the International Aerospace Accrediting Commission in conjunction with the United States Department of Education.

On Tuesday February 28, 2023, during the first Flight School Accreditation Seminar, the founding of the International Aerospace Accrediting Commission (IAAC) was officially announced. Administration of the accreditation program, formerly the responsibility of FSANA, was transferred to IAAC. 

International Aerospace Accrediting Commission

IAAC is an accrediting organization created for the flight training and aerospace industry. It's program enhances the overall quality in the flight training space by establishing a set of standards that schools must follow without deviation. Accredited schools will also be able to enroll students who have borrowed money under the U.S. Department of Education Title IV loan program.

Flight schools that become pre-accredited will be the first schools to be able to onboard students who have borrowed money under the USDE Title IV loan and/or grants program. The pre-accredited schools will be first in line when the IAAC is formally recognized by the USDE.

Flight schools that wait to enter the accreditation program will be placed in line based on a first-in, first-out basis. Some schools may have to wait up to 36-48 months before they can complete the full accreditation process which includes site visits by accreditation inspectors.
To apply for accreditation or to view official accreditation documents, visit the IAAC website.

Why IAAC accreditation

The overriding purpose of IAAC accreditation is to maintain the highest standard for flight schools in respect to industry business practices and professionalism. 

IAAC accreditation is the recognized standard that the public and flight training vendor community can use to assist in evaluating business relationships.

IAAC accreditation helps flight schools to develop sound academic, business, and financial practices which lead to improved student learning, retention and completion.

Ongoing accreditation generates an aggregated positive impact for both flight schools and the public. The process of accreditation is an ongoing and developing system of standards and best practices that lead to continued improvement.

Anatomy of flight school accreditation

  1. The International Aerospace Accrediting Commission is the accreditation body that oversees the Flight School Accreditation Program. IAAC standards are set high and flight schools are not automatically guaranteed to receive accreditation. The standards focus on seven core areas within the flight school:

    Risk Management
    Business Practices
    Finance and Accounting
    Customer Satisfaction
  2. Inspections — The flight school accreditation process includes an on-site inspection of an accreditation applicant’s facility to determine if the applicant meets all of the accreditation standards. The accreditation inspector’s report will be utilized to determine if the applicant is prepared to attend an accreditation hearing. Once the inspection is completed and the inspection report has been filed, it is up to the commission to review and determine if the applicant is ready for the accreditation hearing. The decision to approve, deny, or table an applicant is the responsibility of the commission.

    It is a known fact that accreditation programs which require site visitations are held to a higher standard. Being in the presence of a flight school operator provides real-time knowledge and observation which cannot be duplicated in any other form.

    IAAC accreditation inspectors are volunteers who provide their time and expertise.

Scope and standards

The IAAC accreditation process is open to all flight schools that provide flight instruction under Federal Aviation Regulations. The standards for IAAC accreditation provide the starting benchmarks from which all entities shall be evaluated.
  • Flight schools that enroll in the Flight School Accreditation Program are electing to improve the professional nature of their businesses and the flight training industry.
  • The standards for accreditation represent the core foundation guidelines that must be met in order to become an accredited flight school. Once a flight school becomes accredited, the firm shall submit all required reports on an annual basis in order to maintain their accredited member status.
  • Accredited flight schools become eligible to participate in various business management programs that may include the opportunity for flight students to secure flight training loans.
  • Accredited flight schools have the ability to benchmark themselves with their professional peers.
  • The accreditation standards establish a minimum level of compliance that are nationally recognized. Flight schools shall meet or exceed the standards at all times.
  • Safety forms the foundation for all flight schools. Flight schools shall place safety as the highest priority when conducting all functions related to the flight training industry.

Benefits for the flight school

IAAC accreditation has many positive results for the flight school, including to:
  • Develop public confidence through a systemic evaluation process that confirms whether an organization meets or exceeds the professional standards as established by the accrediting organization.
  • Provide answers to government and private agencies that seek professional opinions on a wide assortment of topics related to the industry segment.
  • Help attract and retain a quality professional staff.
  • Increase the opportunity to attract financial-aid organizations who seek to assist flight students in the attainment of their personal goals and objectives.
  • Provide the risk management industry with the ability to provide competitive rate-making for accredited organizations.
  • Provide a friendly environment for organizations to work and develop together in the name of flight training.
  • Promote public recognition of flight schools that have attained accreditation status.
  • Promulgate an ongoing self-evaluation within the accredited flight school for the betterment of the school and their students.
  • Increase the opportunity for flight schools to establish long-term and stable relationships with financial institutions that provide loan and lease programs for the flight school market.