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Part-Time or Full-Time Training?

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Full-Time or Part-Time

  • Full-Time flying, school as possible

    Votes: 8 42.1%
  • Part-Time flying and finish school full-time

    Votes: 11 57.9%

  • Total voters


Jun 10, 2002
I've been talking with a couple of people I know in the field, but I'm looking for some more opinions. I'm 26 years old as of tommorrow, and have about two years of full-time school left to get my Bachelor's in Computer Science. I've wanted to fly from a young age, and the opportunity has finally presented itself.

Money was always a factor, as I suppose it is for most people, but I have a supportive wife who says "I know that's what you want to do, so let's do it now."

My question is this: Should I do my flight training part-time and finish up college full-time, or would I be better off to do my flight training full-time and knock out all of my ratings up to Comm MEL and CFII, then try to finish school while teaching? On one hand I'm worried about having the time to finish school while trying to start my career in aviation, but on the other hand, I know that at 26 I'm getting a late start, and I'm leaning towards going to a Part 141 full-time to jumpstart my career.

What do you guys think?
School first!

Honestly I would recommend finishing school first! I know so many people who put their degree on "the back burner" to pursue their flight training and ended up regretting it!
The industry is in a bit of a lul right now (understatement), so there is time! 26 is definitely not too old to get started!
While you're in school, do as much studying toward your Private and Instrument training as you can. That's really the meat of it all anyway!
Get your hands on flying magazines and read up on the various aircraft and training programs. Do your research!
Ever considered military once you get your degree? That might be the way to go!
Whatever you decide, put your whole heart into it and best of luck to you!
Get the degree

Finish college first, definitely. Your B.S. will stand you in good stead, no matter what you do in life. Too many people quit school to start flying and get so wrapped up in flying they never finish their degrees, despite good intentions to finish. You need the degree to amount to something in this business.

In fact, I would consider going summers to finish your degree faster. Then, after graduation and without having the distraction of college to worry about, start training full-time. You could finish all your ratings in a year. By the time you finish college and get your ratings, hiring might have picked up and you can catch the wave.

Good luck with your decision.
Go ahead and finish college first. If you plan on going on the airlines, the degree will help you get the job.
Do your flight training full time when you do start. I have found that part-time training ended up costing me more money. I couldn't focus on it full-time and it took me more hours to finish the rating. Someone who trains full-time has a much better chance of finishing their private in 40-45 hours. Otherwise, you can probably count on it taking 55-70 hours. That's over $1000 more. Keep your head in what you are doing and you'll be fine.
If you can do the studying to get a pilot certificate, then you can do the studying to get a college degree through distance education.

Get flying, get to the airline, and while you are sitting reserve at the airport, finish the degree.
In fact, take coursework with you and work on it anytime you have a layover.

Or, if you haven't got in over your head with debts, take the next two years to earn the degree at college. Get some business and investing courses so you'll have something to talk about in the flight levels and to do during your free time about year 19 at whatever airline. Join the flight team and impress the socks off of friends and potential co-workers with your ethics and study habits.

Even without sleeping I've found there is time for flying, work, and/or college. Choose two.

Why work when you can fly?

Jedi Nein
Fly...get your CFI, instruct while attending college. You can get a degree anytime. If you listen to a lot of the people on this board you would be 100 before you would be applying for a job. And what if you decide you want to be a career instructor. Do you even need a degree for that?
Both. I'm attending a community college with a 141 school.
The majority of my studies are in the flight program and I manage to tuck in some classes as well. A class away from my 2 year degree and a month from CFI. I see it as killing two birds with one stone. Or at least killing two birds in a close time interval.
i did all of my flying part-time, and its not the best the way to go. looking back on it now, if i could of just managed to take the time off to just get all the ratings and move on, it woulda been so much easier .

part -time for me was a flight or two a week...if i was lucky. i started flying in 1996 and finally finished up CFI ground in 2001. for me it was a monetary decision. i could only afford to pay for the ratings, but not afford to have no income for any period of time.

yea, it sounds like a combination that would work, but flying so little while holding down a full time job (50+ hours a week...in construction) is not conductive to retaining information. dont get me wrong, i never busted a 'ride for lack of knowing the material, but when it takes a few months to be comfortable enough to take said 'ride, you realize there is a better way :rolleyes:

then again, this is not to say that you couldnt while attending college...actually, that may be a better premise in order to do it. youre already in school, its akin to adding a few classes, and i certainly hope youre not in class for 12+ hours a day, as my full time job was.

in this day and age, youre gonna need that degree. so, dont give up on that. stick the college thing out, and maybe dont take that extra class, throw in a good ground school. (side note, i dont care what anyone says, a good, long, solidly based private ground school will save you heartache in the long run...even if its extra $$$) then use the summer to knock out a good portion of flight time.

good luck in your quest...a supportive wife will definatley make it easier ;)
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If you do you flying now you can probably convert your licenses to some college credit. That will save money on the degree side.

Plus you will be at the airport.

Plus you will be able to get a job that will be cool and probably pay more than most part time jobs.

As wingnutt can tell you there is no column in the logbook for construction or any other type of work for that matter.

I got distracted. I started flying when I was 17. Went to Embry Riddle, ran out of cash because I spent it all on college. Needed money so I opened a business. Got to busy to ever fly. Now I have enough money and time to fly again. If only all those 90 hr work weeks were spent at the airport instead.

Point being, if you want to fly, fly. Make it your source of revenue even if your money will be tight for 5 to ten years. College smollege, if you think the pilot job market is tough you should talk to all my hi tech friends that are out of work. A boatload of friends that thought they would be millionaires this year or next, all fired. Some rehired, but for reduced wages.

So....licenses...then college...or at the same time...but I think you should consider the fact the aviation training can be considered college level work.

Plus, as almost everyone here will tell you...network. Aviation friends and contacts. If you train now you will be making them every day. If you work at kmart while in college you will make Kamrt contacts and friends.

First, I want to give a disclaimer on my opinion, as I have many college credits in several disciplines, but no degree. I may not be fully qualified to offer a valid opinion.

I would go to a reputable mill like All ATPS and get everything DONE, ASAP. If you were 18, I'd say do college first. In that scenario, you'd be neck-and-neck with other aspiring pilots. Certainly, you can continue college at a reduced pace through distant learning while you fly.

So: get the flying basics finished, then finish college while you continue instructing part-time, keeping you in the "flying loop" and building the time and experience necessary to get on the career track as sooon as you can. Your starting date determines your place on the all-important seniority roster (and I have been on several rosters in my life....) and will control all of the salient aspects of your career and lifestyle.

If you wait another two years to begin the training process, those other pilots who are your competition for that particular spot on the roster will have a hiring advantage of two thousand hours or more, and you will enter the roster at a far lower position.

I think it's a good strategy.

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