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History of Rochester Community & Tech College Aviation Pilot Program

If you’re looking for an exciting new career path, the world of aviation is ripe with opportunity. And attending a good school will put you on the right track toward a successful job as a pilot, dispatcher, business aviation professional and so much more. So, if you’re considering applying to Rochester Community & Tech College (RCTC) Flight School, here is some crucial information you might need to help you decide if it’s worth attending. Let’s take a look.

History of RCTC Pilot Program

RCTC is the oldest community college in Minnesota, co-founded by Dr. Charles Mayo of the Mayo Clinic in 1915. The original purpose of the school — then known as Rochester Junior College — was to supply an additional two years of university work for interested high school graduates. Although the school has grown to serve 8,000 students in today’s world, the original class was made up of fewer than 20 students.  Once the school joined the Minnesota State Junior College System in 1964, the school bounced between names before eventually landing on Rochester Community College a few years later. By 1966, expansions were underway to add a separate adult vocational school, offering 15 programs, serving more than 200 students. Shortly thereafter, the school doubled in size, taking-on the name Rochester Technical Institute and adding a 70,000 square-foot facility to the campus in the late 1980s. By the 1990s, there was a need to consolidate many of the schools in the southern Minnesota region. RCTC as we know it was officially formed in 1996 after the Junior College and Technical Institute joined forces with each other and another nearby school, Minnesota Riverland Technical College. In 2019, the college introduced an affordable associates program for those wishing to enter the exciting world of aviation.

RCTC Flight School Today

Today, this flight school in Rochester offers an AAS in Aviation, with a program that’s designed to educate students in the field of commercial flight, and provide the necessary preparation for transfering over to a bachelor’s program in the future or for initial employment in an entry-level pilot job. The future outlook of RCTC looks strong, with recent partnerships with Winona State University to supply four-year degrees directly in Rochester. They’re also accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System.

What to Expect Attending Rochester Community College


There are several buildings on the RCTC campus, including the Main Building, which houses the majority of halls, atriums and plazas. There is also Heintz Center, where the Career and Technical Education Center is housed, and the Rochester Regional Sports Center and Stadium, where students gather to watch and participate in sporting events. 


Students undergo most flight training at Rochester International Airport through the Great Planes Aviation school. Non-flight courses are taught at the RCTC campus or through digital means.


At Rochester Community College, all non-flight classes are capped at 24 students, so you get a more personalized educational experience. Flight training programs are done one-on-one.


Graduating from RCTC’s aviation department will provide you with an associate of applied science (AAS) degree in aviation. Graduates also earn a private pilot license, instrument rating and single-engine land commercial pilot license. This puts you on the right path to pursue commercial airline pilot educational programs and other bachelor degree programs down the road. The program takes approximately two years to complete.

Tuition Cost

At this Rochester flight school, you can expect to pay about $18,000 per semester, although the tuition price fluctuates. They also offer a number of aviation scholarships to qualified students.


Learn more about Rochester Community & Tech College pilot training costs.

Are you interested in attending flight school?

Get personalized, affordable instruction through a reputable group of instructors like Inflight Pilot Training. Our flight training programs are designed entirely around our students, so our graduation rates are incredibly high. Plus, your money goes straight to your certification, not expensive tuition overhead. And with accelerated learning programs, you can get licensed even quicker. 

If you’re interested in learning more about Inflight training programs, contact us today or call (952) 698-3000.