Forbes Ranks PIA Nation’s Two-Year Trade School

PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics has been ranked as the country’s No. 1 two-year trade school by Forbes magazine, up 10 spots from last year’s ranking.

The list grades trade schools on academics, post-graduate salary and debt load. Forbes noted PIA alumni earn more than two-thirds of graduates from the magazine’s highest-ranked four-year colleges. The median mid-career salary for PIA graduates is $70,700, according to Forbes.

“In a job market that is only getting more competitive for the growing number of bachelor’s holders, an exemplary institution like PIA is exactly what’s needed by many students who aren’t thrilled by the prospect of spending another four years reading Shakespeare or grinding away at calculus,” wrote Forbes reporter Carter Coudriet. “A top-tier trade school is a better option for lots of high school grads than either community college or a middling four-year program. Both of those paths can leave students mired in debt while pursuing a marginally practical degree.”

PIA’s main campus is at the Allegheny County Airport, where it offers aviation mechanics and electronics associate degree programs. The school also operates a campus at Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport in Vienna Township – where it offers a 16-month aviation maintenance course – and Hagerstown, Pa., and Myrtle Beach, S.C.

The need for aircraft and avionics technicians is expected to increase 5% over the next decade, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The job’s median pay is $61,620 per year.

“We have a lot of college graduates coming out who can’t pay their student loans,” said PIA’s president and CEO, Suzanne Markle, in an interview with Forbes. “Here we have this technical school that has a program that is attainable by many that, for the return on investment, is amazing. The job opportunities are so plentiful.”

The trade school has graduate employment agreements and partnerships with Delta, Allegiant, Constant Aviation, Piedmont, Airborne Maintenance & Engineering Services, ExpressjEt and Republic Airways Holdings, among others.

Last year, Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics was ranked by Forbes as the No. 1 school in the country for combating the nation’s skills gap.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.