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I really need some advice.

PilotOnTheRise

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I really need some advice from you guys, if you don't mind.

A college degree is VERY important, and I plan to get one. I am currently attending college, and working toward that. However, having your ratings, and building flight time is VERY important as well, if you want to become a pilot. It is hard, however, to do both at the same time. Being a full-time college student, trying to study for your college classes, and study for and earn your ratings at the same time is not easy. That is unless you are getting an aviation degree, where the flying is part of the curriculum, which I am not.

With that said;

Seniority is very important when it comes to the airlines. Obviously the sooner you can get in, the better. I've seen many pilots recommend first getting your flight ratings out of the way, and then getting a job instructing, and eventually at a regional, and then begin working on your degree, as you end up having time. Obviously you will be flying for a regional for plenty of years to afford you the time to complete a degree before moving on to the majors, where the degree is more important.

Should I try to focus on getting my ratings done first, begin instructing, and then try to finish my degree, then try to get on with a regional? Should I get my ratings done first, begin instructing, try to get on with a regional, and then try to finish my degree part-time? Or, should I finish my degree, and then work on my flight ratings, etc.? Each involves getting a degree, but the latter involves getting into the airlines much later on, possibly years, which when it comes to being a pilot, can be a big deal as far as seniority and upgrades, etc., are concerned.

Thanks in advance for the advice!!
 
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GET YOUR DEGREE FIRST! Take it from someone who has been in the regionals for 4+ years now. Get a degree first, and make sure it is a usefull degree, not one of these aviation degrees. After that time maybe the airline biz will have improved. All your missing right now is downward spiral of the airline industry.
 

ejpogo

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Are you really sure that you want to get into the airline industry? I would suggest using a college degree to get into a better profession. The airlines changed and you cannot rely on seniority. Just look at these alter-ego carriers coming out these days. Many of us already here have spent tons of time and money sacrificing to get a job that is worth less than the sacrifice.
 

BenderGonzales

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I give you this advice knowing full well that it is not what you want to hear.

But please keep in mind that i'm giving it to you based on experience that you do not yet have.

I want you to have the benefit of my experience so that your career can progress more smoothly than mine has.

I think you should stay in school.

Furthermore, I think you should be majoring in a non-aviation subject. Preferably a subject where there is high demand such as:
  • Nursing
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Computer Science
  • Engineering
  • etc
I suggest this based on the simple reality that pilots have very few marketable skills. The biggest challenge facing those of us who were furloughed in 2001-2003 was to answer the question "What now?"

Do we go from the majors back to the regionals?
Do we leave aviation and go back to school?
Do we attempt to find employment on the corporate side?
Do we attempt to find employment at the non-scheds?

Many, many, MANY of us discovered, much to our dismay, that our "aviation management" degree + 10 years of commercial flying was simply not marketable outside of aviation. With all of that experience we were really only qualified to go get a job as a commuter F/O that paid $20,000 per year.

That was a bitter pill to swallow.

So it is with that in mind that I recommend that you stay in school and provide yourself with a marketable skill. Fly on the weekends, take your flight training slow. (the industry is frankly a mess right now anyway. Might as well wait and see how things play out)

As a physician, or a lawyer, or a nurse you will have something that the 01-03 furloughees did not: Choices.

So when that point in your career comes and you find yourself furloughed, on strike, or in bankruptcy, you don't have to whore yourself out to anyone with an airplane for you to fly.

I know that's not what you wanted to hear. But I hope that you'll consider my advice. It comes from the heart. I wish someone had given me that advice when I was in college (although i'm not sure I would've taken it -- was pretty cocky)

Good luck.
 

propdog

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I did my bachelor's and masters online via ERAU while I flew full time as a flight instructor, freight dog and as a 'regional airline' pilot. I could not afford to attend regular college. My bachelors and masters combined cost me around 20k (After credits awarded for flight experience etc..). Way cheaper than attending college full time). Also, you will get credits for your flight experience, ratings and such. Also, you can challenge away some credits if you have a good idea of the course subject matter. I was able to challenge some aviation related classes.

However, the previous posts have a lot of wisdom to it. If I am to get furloughed today, the aviation degrees I have will be of zero value outside this industry. Either get a degree in another useful discipline or start a side business to guarantee monthly food and board for your (future) family!
 

PilotOnTheRise

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I understand that many say not to major in aviation. Currently, I am not majoring in aviation.

On the other hand, I've heard people say that a degree is a degree, and it usually doesn't matter what it is in. More than what it is in, it is used to show a possible employer that you can move from one level to another, i.e., high school to college, and work for and obtain a goal over an extended amount of time.

If you have a degree in aviation management, for example, although it may be focused on aviation, it is still a business degree. Does it afford absolutely NO possibility of employment outside of the industry? It would seem to me that it would, the same as someone with a regular business degree can get a job within the aviation industry. Maybe I'm wrong though..?
 

The Truth

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I admire your initiative in asking these questions beforehand. BenderGonzales couldn't have said it any better, or with more truth (and backing that advice based on experience).

Having worked in the corporate world, then jumping into aviation, and then back to the corporate world, I can attest to life on both sides. In aviation (from what I've gathered) it really doesn't make much difference as to what your degree is in, where it's from, or where you obtained it. More of a "checl the box" on an application (which is unfortunate). In the corporate/outside aviation world, all of the above matter...big time.

For instance, let's say you wanted to interview with an Aviation Management/Business degree from ERAU at a fortune 500 company. In the aviation world, people are familiar with ERAU, and a degree from there will most likely open doors. In the corporate world, it will get you a raised eyebrow from the interviewer, and most likely the response "can't say I've heard of ERAU...where's it at?". That's the honest truth. Heck, before I got into aviation, I had NO CLUE as to what/where ERAU was. That's not knocking ERAU (it's a great school for it's primary focus...aviation) but it's just not a known commodity outside the aviation circle.

In the outside world, you may be able to get a job as a Marketing Manager, for instance, with a non-business related major such as political science. However, even that's a stretch. It's more about whether the school was an accredited college. Public universities like Michigan, Virginia, UCLA, Texas all command respect in the outside world...and their degrees are valued by companies. Obviously, private (Harvard, Yale) and tech colleges (CalPoly, MIT) are practically a shoe-in for a job...a high-paying one at that!

Of course, schools like Purdue (a solid all-around college) offer valuable degrees as well as solid aviation programs. However, those are few and far between. Trust me, I interview people in masses for my engineering company, and what the degree is in, and where it is from...matter.

So, in aswer to your question...yes, an individual with a business degree from a non-aviation college can get a job in the aviation industry (such as a someone with a BBA from, for example, Northwestern applying to Raytheon). However, there's a snowball's chance in you-know-what for someone with an Aviation Business degree from ERAU, or UND, or wherever to get a job at say Proctor & Gamble.

...and if one really wants to embarass themself in the outside world, come to the interview with an online degree on your resume.
 

Flybet3

Fly for me! Get my Bonus!
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I agree with a couple of different opinions. Number one:
Are you sure you want to join the aviation industry? Personally if I knew back 4 years ago what I know now about this aviation industry I would be a chef now! and not a pilot. You wanna fly? get your self a good degree get a good paying job and buy a cessna 172 and fly fly away.
Secondly: Unless you're going to get a worthy degree that you can actually use, then dont even waste the money. Some people get degrees to just have them and to become "more qualified"..what a waste of money and time. In simple terms......
if you dont plan to use it, dont get it and if you get it better be worth it and it better get you a good job you enjoy once you get furloughed!
 

dogismycopilot

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Why are you seeking a degree? An airline career definitely does not require this (depending on your goals) and any degree will suffice when it comes to something to put on your resume.

A university education does more than develop your resume, it develops you as an individual, including study/research skills, critical thinking, moral identity, and relationship development with others who seek the same.

My personal path led me to go to school full time, work part time, and work on my ratings. After I got the CFI, I started instructing part time until I finished my degree. It worked, I got an airline job, and I am happy knowing I have a degree (and all the personal development that goes along with it) in the tenuous times all airlines face today.

Good luck, seniority is king, but look at your life long term. Regional F/O by 20 or 22? Trading those 2 years for a college degree was worthwhile for me. No matter what you do, GET MULTI TIME as SOON as you CAN!!! And get a lot of it!

-Dog
 

GuppyPuppy

Living the Dream
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Before you get all hyped up on a job as an airline pilot, ask some seasoned veterans about their view of the industry. I've been a pilot for over 20 years and in the airline industry for over 16 years...11 of them as a pilot.

The most I've ever made in a calendar year is $58,000. I spent many years at much less pay. Heck, nearly three years ago I was on third year pay at United making about $115/hr. Sadly, that only lasted for one month. Then came the 30% pay cut and then the furlough (all within one month). After a brief period of unemployment I took a job at SkyWest making $19.02/hr. It was an 86% paycut from what I was making two months prior. And, they didn't even pay me for my first two months of employment. I was actually making more money on CA unemployment that first year guarantee at SkyWest.

Now I know that there are plenty of pilots who are younger than me and are making more than $58,000/yr. However, I can tell you that every career decision that I've made, I thought it was the right decision. I can bet that every airline pilot has thought that he/she was making the right decision at the time. Think about the Pan Am pilots. Or, the ones from Eastern, Braniff, TWA. Or the ones who left FedEx and UPS to go to United and Delta, only to be furloughed in three months. These pilots can't just walk back in to FDX or UPS and ask for their old job back at their old seniority.

My point is that success in this field is a coin toss with a 10 sided coin. You might be lucky and retire as a senior captain making $300,000+/yr with a six figure pension. Or you could be a 58 year old F.O. on a 757 with a charter company with questionable business practices and no retirement, commuting across the country to spend 34 hours on the airplane flying into Kuwait (I actually know this guy). I would argue that success in this career is 85-90% luck.

Right now I'm lucky enough to be at a company that is making money (barely) and that has a high number of applications. We have the lowest cost per seat mile of any domestic airline. But, I have nearly twenty more years before retirement and who's to say that some new airline startup could have lower costs than ours? It's inevitable. Then, our company might demand a paycut from the pilots. Our measely yearly raises don't even keep up with inflation. It is a cutthroat industry and right now my company is doing the cutting. At some point in the future another company will be cutting ours.

I will not encourage my children to get into this industry. In fact, I will do everything to discourage them from getting into this industry. I would hope that you listen to the advice of BenderGonzales. He is right on.

Good luck to you.

GP

PS: Did I mention...stay out of this industry!!!
 

edge540t72

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747 at united

I have a friend who's a 747 driver at united, left seat. He said that probally 90% of the people he works with, have second jobs. And many of them own their own business or have a higher end white collar job and use flying as a great hobby/job they get paid for.

Me personally I'm 21 and hopefully freigh dog going regional real soon. I graduated from high school, got my ratings, and started instructing. I'm currently working on an aviation degree and having fun.

The only reason you should go into aviation, is IF and a huge IF you have a huge pation for flying, and money is not a huge problem for you. Also if you feel your self being the go get em type that could find some type of slick job to be able to do while you fly (web site design or graphics design) something where your not tied down then you could get into aviation. I have a few friends who are scrapin by and have no promise of going anywhere quick as a pilot.

Hope this helps your decision.
Feel free to pm me if you have any questions, I've done it and weather or not you do it, depends on your feelings.

I personally knew I wanted to be a pilot and can run another business on the side and do just fine....others as you can see not soo happy...not that they aren't great people but....they just choose not to be go get ers.
 

snap145

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although it can be done...GET THE DEGREE!!!...i know quit a few people..myself included who left school early for airline jobs while attempting to finish up their courses online....some finished some didnt.....theres always that what if....what if God forbid you get hit in the eye with a baseball tomorow? gnite airlines....always always always need the degree to fall back on in worst case scenarios....this industry sucks and its not getting any better by the day....a perfect example.....i left school after getting hired by my favorite regional...the super regional....two days before i was supposed to report to class i got a call from HR...class was cancelled...for a number of reasons....Im still waiting for my class...two months later....point being...there is no such thing as job security in this industry and on top of that ya never know what kind of curve ball lifes gonna throw ya....The only positive thing about my class being cancelled is i finished my degree....just my two cents worth hope it helps...PS..the story has a good ending im leaving soon
 

PilotOnTheRise

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I understand those of your advice about not getting into the industry. However, being a pilot is all I have ever wanted to do, since I was a little boy. I can't imagine myself doing anything else.

The airline industry is in turmoil right now. Many of you have terrible opinions of the industry. However, before about 8:00AM ET on Sept. 11, 2001, I would be willing to bet none of you had this same opinion. The way I see it, the industry has seen bad times before. Unfortunately this is just one of those industries that is up one day and down the next. I believe things will improve. It is a risky business, and to some extent it is a gamble and comes down to luck. I'm willing to take the gamble to chase a dream. In the mean time, I am getting a degree from a good school so that if I end up as some of you have, furloughed, I do have a backup.
 

cforst513

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get your college-freakin'-degree first, man. i got my degree and in less than 5 mos i have over 200 hrs and am working on both CMEL and CSEL right now. it's not gonna take you forever to get your ratings.
 

GogglesPisano

Pawn, in game of life
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Don't be a fool. Don't rely on anecdote. And don't listen to
pilotyip when he eventually chimes in.

Get a degree first. And nothing having anything remotely to do with aviation -- unless it's aeronautical enginering.

Then, when that's behind you, then work on your airline career.

When you are eventually turned down at an airline someday, at least you'll know it wasn't due to lack of a degree.
 

100LL... Again!

youwantapieceofme??
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If you want to succeed in aviation, you will. You certainly can suceed without college.

However, without additional skills and/or education you are screwed if you decide to switch careers or if you lose your medical.

Right now, aviation sucks. Get the degree in something you like and then pursue the flying. Then you can make the call.
 

SpatialD

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Don't know how far along you are in your current degree program, but getting "a degree" is, in my opinion, a nebulous concept until you answer a few questions first. What kind of degree are we talking about? What school? Do they have a serious job placement program for their alumni, and are employers regularly coming to them to recruit new talent? (That's a big one.) Are you actually acquiring knowledge you're going to be able to use in the real world (if not, are you at least buying a credential that you know you can cash in for a significant return when you finish)?

I think these days any worthwhile formal education must equip you with some sort of specialized talent, knowledge, title, etc. We're all "well-rounded" enough in this age of information overload. Develop a rare level of expertise in something that will always be in demand. It could be in aeronautics, but an ATP certificate is not going to cut it (and it's hard enough just to get to that point). Just looking at the realistic return on your investment that you can expect for your certificates and ratings, along with a four year degree, you could do better. On the other hand, someone with enough passion for aviation (or anything else) to really distinguish himself in his field beyond the status quo will most likely succeed. It'll just take a lot more time, money, and effort to do it in aviation.

I'm working on it myself, and I honestly don't know if it's worth it or not. In just about any other field, I'd be soooo much further along by now.
 

satpak77

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Uh say again bro...

On this thread, you asked

PilotOnTheRise said:
I really need some advice from you guys, if you don't mind.

A college degree is VERY important, and I plan to get one. I am currently attending college, and working toward that. However, having your ratings, and building flight time is VERY important as well, if you want to become a pilot. It is hard, however, to do both at the same time. Being a full-time college student, trying to study for your college classes, and study for and earn your ratings at the same time is not easy. That is unless you are getting an aviation degree, where the flying is part of the curriculum, which I am not.

With that said;

Seniority is very important when it comes to the airlines. Obviously the sooner you can get in, the better. I've seen many pilots recommend first getting your flight ratings out of the way, and then getting a job instructing, and eventually at a regional, and then begin working on your degree, as you end up having time. Obviously you will be flying for a regional for plenty of years to afford you the time to complete a degree before moving on to the majors, where the degree is more important.

Should I try to focus on getting my ratings done first, begin instructing, and then try to finish my degree, then try to get on with a regional? Should I get my ratings done first, begin instructing, try to get on with a regional, and then try to finish my degree part-time? Or, should I finish my degree, and then work on my flight ratings, etc.? Each involves getting a degree, but the latter involves getting into the airlines much later on, possibly years, which when it comes to being a pilot, can be a big deal as far as seniority and upgrades, etc., are concerned.

Thanks in advance for the advice!!

However, on another thread, full of wisdom and insight, you offered to the forum, in response to "the state of the industry" (seen from your dorm room)

PilotOnTheRise said:
That is a little extreme, don't you think? Is it really that bad? Even if you stay with a regional for your career, you can make a decent living, especially once you upgrade. I think some of you allow the current state of the industry to fog your thinking so much, that you cannot focus on anything but the bad. There is too much of a 'dooms-day' like attitude about the industry. I would just be thankful you have a job period, because there are plenty of people, even outside of aviation, who do not right now. Things can always be better, and things could always be worse; regardless of how good or bad things are.

Please define "decent living" and also please enlighten us how you (or we) should "just be thankful to have a job, period"

I suppose you support Pay For Your Job also? I suppose a B777 Captain should make $40,000 a year, as he has a "dream job" anyway and he should be lucky "just to have a job"
 

nightfr8er

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I'm willing to take the gamble to chase a dream. In the mean time, I am getting a degree from a good school so that if I end up as some of you have, furloughed, I do have a backup.[/quote]

Dude, that's the way to look at it. Don't listen to the grumps. You have to ask yourself this: How passioniate about it are you? If it's just a job with "prestige" and hot flgiht attendants that you're looking for - don't bother. If you are chasing a childhood dream that runs in your veins like blood - do it. Be prepared for a lot more sacrifice along the way. It takes a lot out of you. But be smart and get the degree with another skill. That will be invaluable. Becuause any pilot never knows when the furlough reaper comes calling. Or you lose a medical or any other darn thing. you'll have a one HUGE less headache to worry about.
 
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