Modular or Integrated Flight Training?


So, you’re one of the fortunate ones who have managed to secure some sort of finance, or have got a bank account which is grotesquely oozing cash at the seams (damn you!), and you have the freedom to make the choice between an integrated or modular path for your flight training.

In this article, we shall be examining the good points of both routes, and explaining exactly what goes on in each of them.


Modular flight training is exactly that: taking your PPL, CPL, IR, MCC, as well as all the bits in between, and counting them as separate modules within the long, twisty road of pilot training. This gives you the flexibility to change schools and spread out your training over a time period that suits you. For example, you might do your PPL at a school in Florida, then work for a few months to save up for some hour building and do this at another school in the UK somewhere. Only want to fly on the weekend? That’s okay. Want to leave six months between your PPL and your next flight? That’s okay too.

Modular flight training is flexible – you can fit it around your life. You can carry on at your job, earning the vital cash that makes the planes go flyfly. Admittedly, it will probably only be a small trickle of money entering a bank account that has a gaping torrent gushing forth into the flight school’s pocket – but every little helps.

Money Coming In

Money Coming In

Money Going Out

Money Going Out

There are hundreds of flight schools around the UK offering flying courses (see our flight school directory) so chances are, that you will be able to stay living in your own home, eating your own food, loving and cherishing your own family while learning to hurtle through the sky. This keeps the bailiffs at bay also.

You also retain flexibility once you have started training. If you don’t like the school you are at, you can pack up your things, stick up your finger, and wander off to another school to pick up where you left off. Unless you paid for your course up front. If you paid for your course up front, you may be in for a wallet withering time if you change schools. Moral of that story: don’t pay upfront!

Modular flight training is also generally considered to be the cheaper alternative to Integrated flight training, at around £50000. I don’t believe I have ever written a sentence with the word ‘cheaper’ and that many zero’s in it before.


Integrated flight training is where you ask to join an approved integrated flight school, you may well be put through some kind of selection process, and then you head straight off onto the highway of training. You will do your PPL right through to your MCC with one school, on a full time course.

The advantages of this form of training are that it is the quickest option open to you. Because of the way integrated training works, there are less hours requirements at some parts of the course, and because it is full time you will be able to go from zero to dashing aviator in around about a year and a half.

Quite often on integrated courses there will be little perks, like courses to help you with CV writing, interview technique and the like. This may well give you the edge in any interviews you attend in later life, which is nice.

You will be spending a year and a half with the same group of people aswell, so as long as you get a reasonably decent group together, you will probably be making friends for life.

This is going to be a long course.....

Oh God. This is going to be a long course.....

If you are thinking of going on an integrated course, then it is vital that you go on one or two trial lessons beforehand. This is a tiny investment compared to the £80000 you will be throwing at the FTO, and it will help to make you sure that this is the right move for you.


This is where I shall give my personal view on the matter (hint: I went modular so what side do you think I am on?). I believe that in the current climate, integrated flight training is not a viable option. It does not offer flexibility, or particularly good value for money, as both routes end up with the same license at the end of the day.

There is an argument that airlines prefer you to be an integrated student, and it looks better on your CV. However, I have not seen evidence to support this, and I know plenty of people that have got jobs through the modular route.

Having said all that, it is a decision that you yourself must make. Do plenty of research and ask yourself what priorities you have. If money and flexibility are your priorities though, I would definitely recommend modular.

Tags: , ,

8 Responses to “Modular or Integrated Flight Training?”

  1. Afraz says:

    Do you think its fair to say that modular students generally have to work thier way up and integrated students tend to go straight into the RHS of a jet? Is that an accurate perception do you think.

    And another question. Do you still think it is viable to work your way up in todays economic climate? I fear there are less air taxi/charter/turbo prop positions left out there making it very hard for the modular student to gain a foothold on the ladder.

    What do you think?

  2. profpilot says:

    Hello! If you are the quickly becoming infamous Afraz, I certainly don’t think that you can be accused of not doing your homework.

    I know plenty of people who have gone modular and went straight in to the RHS of a jet, if that is all you’re after. Personally, I quite like flying so I wouldn’t mind any kind of aviationally related job.

    Since there IS no aviationally related job ladder to gain a foothold on at the moment (well there is, but it is a very tiny ladder – you’d need very dainty feet to grip onto it), it is just as hard for an integrated student to get onto it.

    More important from what type of course you are on is who you know.

    I just don’t see the point of spending an extra £50,000 for the same licence. Just think what you could spend £50,000 on!

  3. Afraz says:

    Hi there! Yes its me! Thanks for your reply btw, I very much appreciate it. I do have a few more questions regarding flight training is it at all possible if I could discuss these with you via email? You seem to be a very objective, knowledgable sort of guy.

    I look foreward to hearing from you.

    Best Regards,

  4. Mark Punter says:


    I have been researching all over the world for the right flight school and reading your modular reviews has got me thinking.

    I have just a taken a full time job, well paid for my age. (20years old) I would love to be able to go away for 72 weeks say in AUS flight training,
    but that right there is £42,000! I cant get a loan that big at my age!!!!! so modular does make sense as I can take a week or two off work and go to america an get my ratings in that time. I have my PPL and have travelled to flying schools in the states, One flying school does look really good. I have flown with them an it would be amazing to work with them. but its a integated course! has everything i want in it but its the cost.

    so really i got to try for a loan an lose the job or do it bit by bit. bloody hard making my mide up.

    Kind Regards


  5. profpilot says:

    I don’t think anyone would not want to spend 72 weeks playing top gun in Australia. Just the mere fact there are platypuses makes me want to go. As you say though, loans are the problem – not just for youthful people, but anyone (unless you own a house; then for some reason the bank manager starts to salivate).

    Don’t forget that if you do courses abroad, then they will be foreign licences (unless you go to a JAA school), you can’t fly for a UK operator in a G registered aircraft unless you have a JAA (or whatever they are calling themselves these days) licence. Personally, I wouldn’t touch any integrated course with a barge pole (and a really long barge pole at that, and even then I wouldn’t give a good strong touch – more of a squeamish caress). But that’s just me.

    Good luck though! Hope you’re finding the site useful.


  6. Mark says:

    Thanks for the great summary of these career options.

    I’m 27 now, with an engineering degree, and have been interested in flying since I was a kid but never thought I’d be able to do it. I recently had the crazy idea that I could work my way through pilot training in the modular way you describe, and it’s so nice to hear someone saying that it’s possible.

    I think I’ll book some trial lessons…

    Thanks again,

  7. Princess says:

    I’m still waiting for your reply

  8. profpilot says:

    At the time of this post, you’d only asked your initial question 1hr and 28 minutes previously. Whoever you are, you are clearly a very impatient person.

    In response to your comment on the ‘Qualifications Needed To Become A Pilot’ article asking if you need A-Levels: to quote the article itself “Airline wise; you generally need at least two A-levels as a minimum. What subjects these are is up to you”.
    In response to your email claiming there are no flight schools in London listed on this site, I suggest you look at the school directory which quite clearly shows a number of options in that area.

    I’ve tried to be as thorough in preempting questions as I can on this site, but this requires that you read the articles and look over the different pages. If you have questions after that then please do shove them in the forums, where I’ll be happy to help.

Leave a Reply