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Quit flying job to go back to college?

WestHouston

Something witty
Joined
May 3, 2006
Posts
176
Total Time
2000
I'm pulling my hair out wrestling with a decision. I have a salaried, full benefits flying job that gives me weekends off. It's not a ton of money, but it's more than I'd make at a regional for a few years. It's all single engine piston VFR time so it's not the most valuable, but I build hours fast. I'm up to a little over 1300 hours now. I have an associates degree in aeronautical science and I know that's not that valuable. If I lost my medical, I'd be screwed.

I always wanted to get my bachelor's but being married+house+job it wasn't an option. Using the traditional GI Bill wouldn't help much. Now however, there is a new GI Bill that not only pays all tuition, but pays housing allowance at an E-5 with dependents rate, which in my zip code, is roughly $1500 a month, plus $1000 for books a year and $100 a month for tutoring. If I were to get a part time job I would be able to maintain my current income.

In the long run, I can't imaging looking back and regretting getting my BA, but it's so hard to give up a good job in the current economy. I met a former king air driver ramping today for crying out loud. I don't want to just do night classes, as we are having a baby and someone needs to help my wife. It's either stay where I'm at for who knows how long, or quit and go to school full time. I have a part time contract commander gig that would hopefully keep me current.

Part of me says that the economy sucks, and is going to take a few years to get better and I might as well have completed my education. The other part says you'd be nuts to quit a salaried job with insurance in this job climate.

Sigh. I've never been so torn on a decision. Any thoughts? Words of wisdom?
 

ualdriver

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 21, 2003
Posts
1,400
Total Time
13Kish
1) What do you want to do in your future piloting career? Does that future require a 4 year degree?

2) If it does require a 4 year degree, do you have enough time to get a degree online from an accredited university? The airlines don't seem to care from where you received your degree or what you received your degree in. You could keep your job, take one or two classes at a time to keep the workload light, and study after the baby goes to bed.

3) I assume if you already have an Associate's Degree, it will take you around 4 more semesters (2 years or less) to get your Bachelor's. Maybe taking some time off and flying the Commander on the side for currency wouldn't be a bad deal. After you obtain your degree, perhaps you'll be looking at an upswing in the economy and the job market won't be so bad. With 1300 hours and that Commander time, perhaps you can grab a job with a Regional or at least find a CFI gig.

There are no easy answers, especially with a family to support in this "career." Good luck to you.
 

WestHouston

Something witty
Joined
May 3, 2006
Posts
176
Total Time
2000
1) What do you want to do in your future piloting career? Does that future require a 4 year degree?

2) If it does require a 4 year degree, do you have enough time to get a degree online from an accredited university? The airlines don't seem to care from where you received your degree or what you received your degree in. You could keep your job, take one or two classes at a time to keep the workload light, and study after the baby goes to bed.

3) I assume if you already have an Associate's Degree, it will take you around 4 more semesters (2 years or less) to get your Bachelor's. Maybe taking some time off and flying the Commander on the side for currency wouldn't be a bad deal. After you obtain your degree, perhaps you'll be looking at an upswing in the economy and the job market won't be so bad. With 1300 hours and that Commander time, perhaps you can grab a job with a Regional or at least find a CFI gig.

There are no easy answers, especially with a family to support in this "career." Good luck to you.

Thanks UAL. If I knew for a fact that the commander job would stay around for two years, it'd make me feel better, but you know how things change in aviation. I don't have any real desire to go airlines, I want the degree more for "insurance" if I lost my medical or some other unforeseeable event. I know that the longer I wait, the less likely I'll ever finish. If I enrolled this fall, I could graduate by Christmas 2010. Thanks for the advice...
 

Amish RakeFight

Registered Loser
Joined
Dec 28, 2005
Posts
8,006
Total Time
.
Get the degree. Do it online. Just knock it out on the side. 2 more years is nothing for what its value is worth over the next XX amount of years.
 

RockyMnt1

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Posts
163
Total Time
2200
Have a Plan B

You need to give yourself as many options as possible. After having lost my medical for 3 years (Non hodgkins lymphoma), I am all for options. This thing came out of nowhere (non-smoker, non-drinker) and I eventually got it back, but it took a while. Fortunately I didn't put all of my eggs in 1 basket.

You have a family that is depending on you to provide for them. That may or may not involve flying full time. In this economy, I am really, really, really, glad that I didn't rely on flying to put food on the table.
 

regionalcap

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 27, 2002
Posts
903
Total Time
8000
Is doing classes online an option for you? You could do the online classes and still keep your current job.
 

Kingairrick

Rare user
Joined
Aug 22, 2002
Posts
886
Total Time
~8000
Keep your job and go to www.erau.edu. Check out th "worldwide campus." They will give you credit hours for your pilot certificates, probably at least 30 hours for a Comm, Inst. CFI. Finish your degree online and in live classes at the nearest Air Force base, (where they will have a campus.) Just like in aviation, most jobs out in the real world don't care what your degree is in, so long as you have one. Of course, a specialized field like IT is different, but you'd probably have to start all over to go that route anyway.
People criticize Riddle, mostly because of some of the dorks that go there full time. But it really is a fantastic education if you work at it. The other criticism is cost. However, if you figure that they'll give you 30 credit hours for your certs, you'll finish the degree for way less total $, even paying more per hour there...
 

CopilotDoug

Captain of Industry
Joined
Feb 16, 2006
Posts
2,644
Total Time
Done!
I'm pulling my hair out wrestling with a decision. I have a salaried, full benefits flying job that gives me weekends off. It's not a ton of money, but it's more than I'd make at a regional for a few years. It's all single engine piston VFR time so it's not the most valuable, but I build hours fast. I'm up to a little over 1300 hours now. I have an associates degree in aeronautical science and I know that's not that valuable. If I lost my medical, I'd be screwed.

I always wanted to get my bachelor's but being married+house+job it wasn't an option. Using the traditional GI Bill wouldn't help much. Now however, there is a new GI Bill that not only pays all tuition, but pays housing allowance at an E-5 with dependents rate, which in my zip code, is roughly $1500 a month, plus $1000 for books a year and $100 a month for tutoring. If I were to get a part time job I would be able to maintain my current income.

In the long run, I can't imaging looking back and regretting getting my BA, but it's so hard to give up a good job in the current economy. I met a former king air driver ramping today for crying out loud. I don't want to just do night classes, as we are having a baby and someone needs to help my wife. It's either stay where I'm at for who knows how long, or quit and go to school full time. I have a part time contract commander gig that would hopefully keep me current.

Part of me says that the economy sucks, and is going to take a few years to get better and I might as well have completed my education. The other part says you'd be nuts to quit a salaried job with insurance in this job climate.

Sigh. I've never been so torn on a decision. Any thoughts? Words of wisdom?
If you are looking at getting a part time gig so you can knock out some more classes...get the part time gig before you quit your current job.
 

Superpilot92

LONGCALL KING
Joined
Nov 7, 2004
Posts
3,719
Total Time
Dunno?
utah valley state online is probably the best way to go. I know a bunch of people who did their online degree through them and recieved alot of credit for previous flying and courses. Do both, fly and take classes and then you arent giving up anything.

http://uvu.edu/aviation/
 

Way2Broke

Member
Joined
Feb 24, 2005
Posts
2,882
Total Time
4500
Another thumbs up for UVU.
 

340drvr

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 10, 2003
Posts
454
Total Time
7000
Just to clarify the issue......WH, you said you're looking for options/back-ups as far as losing your medical, or other reasons that you might not continue flying? Seems like you would want to consider a degree in something else besides aviation, thus Riddle or UVU, etc. wouldn't be what you'd want. (Not putting them down, just suggesting major subjects other than aviation).
 

FO4life

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 6, 2004
Posts
219
Total Time
4000
My 2 cents. your right in this economy you can't trust anything. here is what you do, 1.) keep your flying job till you get a better one or get layed off. 2.) take one or two classes at a time and before you know it you will have your degree. If by chance you do lose your job, then go balls to the wall full time and knock out the education.
as long as your working your paying your bills. If I would have done this I would have two masters by now. Also, don't worry about the kid. they don't do much for the first year or so any way, you will have lots of time to study.
 

flynearful

Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2002
Posts
18
Total Time
200
What degree would you do?
Find a niche and you will make $$ in this economy.
PM me for details I was going the flying route got side tracked and now make six figs 3yrs after college in a steady secure job
. I can work almost anywhere in the US and get job offers weekly.
 

pilotyip

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
13,629
Total Time
14000
College thing

Do I see a bunch of FI pilots recommending he not go to college full time that you can actually get a degree and continue flying full time? Those airlines don't really care how you got your degree or what it is in? All kidding aside, if you want to fly airplanes, the first jobs in the next hiring boom will go to those pilots who are currently flying. The old adage of its easier to get a flying job when you have flying job still applies. My advice is do it part time or on line, you will get credit for your assoc. degree and may even get credit for life expenses.
 
Last edited:

FL000

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 26, 2001
Posts
1,577
Total Time
1500
I agree with those who say do it online, or night classes if you have a regular work schedule. If you want to continue to make a living as a pilot, I wouldn't recommend leaving a good job to shore up the "backup plan." But I do think it's a good idea to get the bachelors degree. It will be difficult for sure, but it will be over before you know it. Good luck!
 
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