How do I verify if a ground school is certified?
Votes
Joined 03/17/2020 - 6 Posts
Answered By AOPA
If I understand correctly, a ground school helps prepare you for the written exam, but you also need an endorsement from a ground school in order to be able to take the written exam.
I have found an online ground school that I believe is a good fit for my learning style. But, I want to make sure they are "legit" before I send them any money.
TBC, I am not asking the question, "Is ground school XYZ official/certified/whatever?" My question is "How do I determine if a given ground school is official/certified/whatever?"
14 Replies
Votes
Joined 01/30/2020 - 24 Posts
AOPA Staff Answer
The FAA has a Pilot School search site. Click on the following link: https://av-info.faa.gov/PilotSchool.asp
However, not all schools may be listed in this database. If you cannot find a particular school you can call your local Flight Standards District Office (FSDO). These can be found at the following site: https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/field_offices/fsdo/
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Joined 07/05/2018 - 32 Posts
Anyone can teach a ground school, although most are taught by flight or ground instructors. Unless you train under Part 141, you can prepare for the knowledge exam using a home study program and get a sign-off from an instructor who has verified to his/her satisfaction that you are ready. IOW there is no such thing as a "certified" ground school outside of Part 141.

Bob Gardner
Votes
Joined 01/30/2020 - 24 Posts
Correct. However you will need to confirm whatever ground school you work with is authorized to give an endorsement. You may want to validate this before you make your payment to just any online school or program. Most will be obvious as they are well known, like King Schools or Gleim. Follow the instructions in my previous post to determine this.
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Joined 07/05/2018 - 32 Posts
Any CFI can endorse an applicant for a written (61.36(1))  No "school" required. I have done it many times.

Bob Gardner
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Joined 06/11/2017 - 699 Posts
One does not need a Part 141-certified ground school to prepare for the PP written.  However, if it's not a 141 school (and I don't think it's possible to have a 141 certification for an online ground school), you should before signing up ask the outfit providing the course if they have an FAA-certified instructor (flight or ground) involved to provide the endorsement upon completion.

Alternatively, you could do a non-certified/online program without an FAA authorized instructor involved and then have your flight instructor test your preparedness and sign the endorsement.  That said, I'm not sure how wise it would be to pay good money for an online ground school that doesn't have an FAA-certified instructor involved.
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Joined 07/05/2018 - 32 Posts
For what it is worth, ASA's online ground school provides an instructor's signoff upon successful completion of online tests...general manager Jackie Spanitz is a CFI with a degree in aviation from Eastern Michigan. I feel fairly certain that courses from Sporty's offer similar signoffs, and there may be others.
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Joined 07/05/2018 - 32 Posts
My earlier post implied that Jackie Spanitz provided signoffs for online ground school students. Because I visit ASA's offices only a couple of times a year and rely on electronic communication, I may have overstated the case. I will contact Jackie directly and get the facts as to how they handle the 61.35 requirement and will post the information here.
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Joined 07/05/2018 - 32 Posts
"
 
"With any of ASA’s test preparation digital tools (Prepware software, Prepware online, Ground School) Applicants must complete 2 practice tests, each with a score of 80% or better (FAA knowledge exam have a 70% passing requirement – we raise the bar a little to ensure solid preparation) and then they submit their scores to cfi@asa2fly.com – they also have the option to submit their scores to their own authorized instructor if they prefer to use who they’re flying with or attending a ground school class. For scores submitted to cfi@asa2fly.com, recipients receive an endorsement as a PDF attachment within 24 hours of submission (most are within the hour – we promise within 24 hours in case there’s a technical issue with their submission, etc.). Recipients can print the attached PDF and take it with them to the testing center as their test authorization."
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Joined 07/05/2018 - 32 Posts
I hope we have convinced Mr. McKinney that there is no such thing as a "certified" online ground school.
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Joined 03/17/2020 - 6 Posts
A lot to consume, but yes, my question was definitely answered!

I knew that part 61 had no "certification", but I didn't want to throw money at a ground school that could successfully teach me what I need to know but not deliver on procedural/regulatory things (e.g., CFI endorsement for written exam). I was able to check the ground school in question against multiple of the sources here to verify that it is "legit".