Texas State University Unveils New Aviation Science Degree Program in Partnership with Coast Flight Training

Jun 25, 2024

In a pioneering effort to meet the rising national demand for airline and commercial pilots, Texas State University (TXST) has announced an innovative partnership with Coast Flight Training, the City of San Marcos, and Texas Aviation Partners. This collaboration will introduce a new Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science (B.A.A.S.) degree with a concentration in Aviation Science, designed to provide students with the essential certifications, licensure, and skills required for professional pilot careers.

Elevating Aviation Education

The Aviation Science program at TXST will be housed within the Department of Occupational, Workforce, and Leadership Studies (OWLS). It aims to deliver comprehensive education that includes critical thinking, teamwork, and leadership skills, all valued by the commercial aviation industry. Coast Flight Training, an FAA-approved flight school, will conduct the flight training at San Marcos Regional Airport, which is city-owned and managed by Texas Aviation Partners.

"TXST is proud to partner with Coast Flight Training, Texas Aviation Partners, and the City of San Marcos at San Marcos Regional Airport to address the nation’s pilot shortage by offering this exciting new opportunity to our students," said TXST President Kelly Damphousse. "This program is another example of TXST's commitment to provide access to an education that gives our students the marketable skills they need to enter and thrive in the Texas workforce."

Program Launch and Vision

Starting in Fall 2024, the new B.A.A.S. Aviation Science program will begin admitting students. Dr. Shetay Ashford-Hanserd, chair of OWLS, expressed enthusiasm about the program's potential impact. “Our innovative B.A.A.S. Aviation Science-Professional Pilot concentration is poised to revolutionize our department's approach to delivering career-focused, hands-on training in a field that's experiencing rapid growth and high demand in Central Texas and beyond. We're thrilled about our partnership with Coastal Flight, which will provide our B.A.A.S. students with unparalleled training opportunities. We're also looking forward to forging new partnerships within the aviation industry and other sectors."

Addressing the Pilot Shortage

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the decade from 2022 to 2032 is expected to see the national demand for commercial pilots grow by over 5,600 positions, an increase of more than 4%. Approximately 16,800 openings for commercial pilots are projected annually, driven by the need to replace retiring pilots. Dr. Felix Quayson, B.A.A.S. program coordinator, underscored the importance of this new degree in addressing workforce needs. “The Department of OWLS is excited to help train the next generation of pilots and aviation professionals to meet the workforce demands in our nation. We welcome strategic partnerships that would give Texas State students a first-rate aviation experience."

Impact and Opportunities

This degree will enable students to explore diverse career opportunities as professional pilots in various sectors, including couriers and express delivery services, federal government services, and unscheduled air transportation. In 2023, the median pay for commercial pilots was around $171,000, highlighting the lucrative prospects in this field.

Dr. Angela Ausbrooks, interim dean in the College of Applied Arts, expressed her excitement about the program’s potential. “This program will allow OWLS to increase its positive impact on the learning of future students, increase their successful collaborations with industry partners throughout Central Texas, and strengthen its trajectory toward meeting strategic plan goals, specifically those related to student success and providing quality academic programming."

For more information about the program, visit the TXST Aviation Science webpage.


Blaschke, J. (2024, June 18). Texas State, Coast Flight, TAP unite for new aviation science degree partnership. *Texas State University News*.