Nov 10, 2009

A flight of firsts: Aviation school introduces new program

by Cat Hewett

Liberty’s aviation department began a new associate’s degree program this semester for students who want to become flight attendants — the first such program in the nation.

Two years ago, two men from China approached him about adding the major, according to Department of Aviation Chairman Ernie Rogers

“In China you have to have a degree to be a flight attendant,” Rogers said.

The department could not add the major then, but has now partnered with the Flight Attendant Training Group (FATG) to give students experience in the aviation field.

“Flight Attendant Training Group is an organization contracted to the university to offer practical, hands-on flight attendant training,” the FATG Web site said.

FATG will be offering 40-hour intensive courses that students can attend. In response to requests, a flight attendant minor will be offered in the near future, according to Rogers.

“Many students do not get minors, so I thought this would be practical,” Rogers said. “They will have potential in their back pocket.”

The two years of college and flight attendant training included in the program will help give students a competitive edge in a world where a college degree is very important, according to the FATG Web site.

FATG intensives will be offered in January and during the summer. An intensive over three weekends may also be offered during the spring 2010 semester, according to Rogers.

Rogers said the intensives teach students practical things about being flight attendants, as well as about safety protocols and how to safely evacuate a plane.

There are currently four students in the flight attendant program. On the road to their degrees, students will take courses in CPR, hospitality, private pilot ground training and aviation weather, and will earn a certificate of completion from FATG, according to Rogers.

“The advantage of our program is that you go to an airline interview with a strong resume and a letter of recommendation from Flight Attendant Training Group,” the FATG Web site said.
Flight attendant students practice in a wooden replica of the cabin of a 737 plane and are required to sit in the back seat during other students’ training flights.

“They would be part of the aviation department,” Rogers said.
Rogers added that being a flight attendant, or having any job in the aviation field, is exciting, interesting and fun.

For more information about the flight attendant or other aviation degrees, go to the aviation Web site at

Contact Cat Hewett at

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