My 17 year old son is wanting to become an airline pilot. Those of you who are pilots, in all of your wisdom, what school would you advise? He's not wanting to go armed forces at this time. Researching online leads to a wide variety of sometimes contradictory answers. Thanks!
Just saw this post, so not sure if the OP is even reading it still. I'm a current corporate pilot in OKC. Completed all my certificates and ratings through OU's aviation program via the GI Bill. The short answer to your question of "what school" --- the one that will get him through with as little debt as possible.
OU's program will run you around $75,000 for the 4 years you're there. It's easily the most expensive degree on campus. Oklahoma State and Southeastern in Durant also have excellent programs. I'm not as familiar with TCC's program, but I do believe it is designed to have students slide into OSU's program upon graduation. K-State (I see your profile picture) also has a very well respected program, but I would strongly advise against going out of state because that will double or triple your costs for no appreciable benefit in most cases because of out of state tuition/fees.
Here's the other half of this answer. If you ask most pilots, they will tell your son to major in something OTHER than aviation, and get his ratings on the side. I fully agree with this. Airlines, if that's where your son desires to go, don't care what your degree is in. If your son has his certificates and ratings, does it matter if his degree was aviation or accounting? He's still capable of flying a plane. What happens if he loses his medical or the airlines furlough him? He'll be in a much better position to support himself if he has knowledge in something else. He could literally go to SWOSU in Weatherford, major in pharmacy and do flight training at the Weatherford airport and still become an airline pilot.
Aviation is a BRUTAL industry. Last year, airlines could not find enough pilots to fill their seats because of a federally mandated 65-year-old retirement age. Airlines were offering jobs to college students as sophomores and juniors, with upwards of $50,000 sign on bonuses once they showed up to class. It was not uncommon at all for college aviation students to have 2-3 conditional job offers. When COVID hit, literally OVERNIGHT airlines were cancelling new hire classes and beginning to furlough pilots. Imagine that -- $50,000 bonuses to lure you to sign on, then "we don't need you --- talk to you after COVID has passed". Lots of kids out there now with $75,000 or more in loans and suddenly having to apply to WalMart or Lowes, except for that kid who majored in Pharmacy or Engineering...
I'd be happy to answer any specific questions you have.