Sign in to follow this  
Guest B1900 Mech

College vs. Flight School

Recommended Posts

Let me introduce myself first. I'm a high school junior and I live in NYC. I've had my eye on becoming an airline pilot for quite some time now, and I am determined to do this. I absolutely can't get flying off my mind. While all my friends can't wait to get their driver's licenses, I can't wait to become a pilot. Problem is, I'm stuck between two choices:a) A college that offers the Professional Pilot degree, of which there are not too many. :( Flight school.The basic difference is that in the college degree, you have a couple of extra courses in addition to flight training. This also means you have to pay for college tuition PLUS flight school training. I've asked some colleges to send me a course list in the degree and this is what I got back (I excluded the actual flight and ground training):AVN 100 General AeronauticsAVN 101 Aviation HistoryAVN 102 Aviation MeteorologyAVN 300 Government In AviationAVN 320 Air Carrier Flight OpsAVN 322 Advanced Aircraft SystemsAVN 321 Physiology of FlightAVN 400 Aviation LawAVN 417 Homeland SecurityAVN 425 Safety of FlightNow, there were some other ones, but these are some of the more interesting courses offered. My question to you real-life pilots: In your opinion, are these courses practical, and also, which of the two, college or straight to flight school, would be a better choice? I can't imagine doing anything else in the world other than becoming a professional pilot. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

Hi.In order to have a better chance to get an Airline job, you need a degree. That should help you decide.As far as the courses you will get most of the same information, to a lesser detail, if you get to the CFI/ATP level. TV

Share this post


Link to post

Actually you are stuck between 3 not 2 choices, the third being a college that offers courses that have little or nothing to do with aviation, and do NOT deny that as a valid option.Most pilots I know, and this does not mean that this is always the better way to go, but it IS worth listening to, did NOT go to aviation schools / universities, and instead went to college to study something else, such as business, engineering, etc.Have something to fall back on in your career, and while I am certain some will give me flack over saying that, it is very valid and wise advice, and I am not the first one to give such.Example: Eric Ernst of 767 PIC / LDS 767 fame did not go to an aviation university / school. He learned to fly as I did, from a local flight school, and also went to college for a degree (not aviation related).I did the same thing, and only due to the death of my father did I decide to take my business degree and take over the family business, as opposed to going for the airlines. Today, I am most happy I did. I still fly, on my terms, and do not have some TSA person questioning my four stripes, and patting me down when I try to get to the plane. I also don't have to worry about my pension fund turning into smoke because of someone with an MBA who is more concerned about shareholder equity, stock price and their stock options / golden parachute.Example: You have a choice of a course named: "AVN 300 Government In Aviation"??Forget that, you can learn that just reading the web, and no airline is going to test / interview you on that. Afterall, even the current FAA administrator is not a pilot. You don't need it.Oh, "AVN 101 Aviation History"?? C'mon, like that's going to help you?No way. You can learn that with Google in your spare time these days, believe it or not.Better off to take a course like, oh, any course non-aviation related. Like accounting, marketing, law, almost anything else!Nothing wrong with pursuing a 100% aviation-oriented degree, but there is also nothing wrong with having something to fall back on, just in case. You may not think of that now, but when those bills come in every month it will really hit home!Go to college and study something else, then go to Comair or similar, and "fast track" it. Or do like I did and Eric Ernst did, and many other pilots did, aside from those who did it the military way, and I had that opportunity to, as I was once in AFROTC. Yes, it will not be cheap to do, but nothing about real aviation is cheap.The last thing you want is to find yourself out of a job, and not know how to read a "balance sheet" or know what "market elasticity" is, or know something else that may pertain to a good paying job that you might need once you have a family and some major bills to pay.Trust me, most employers will not care about you quoting the FAA regs or being able to read an approach chart.You do not need an "aviation degree", in fact you are better off having a degree in something else. Really, the airlines do not care when it comes to your degree, just your flying abilities / experience, and your ability to pass their interview.No offense, but after a while, flying is just a job, it may seem the greatest thing in the world right now, for which nothing can even come close, but as you get older, start a family, and start paying a mortgage, you will see it is for what it is; just a job. If you lose it, and cannot find another, all that aviation education might not get you as far as you think.Aways remember, most of the folks running airlines come from basically a business background, not an aviation one- they are not pilots. The days of Howard Hughes running (in his case owning) TWA, and Eddie Rickenbacker running Eastern are looong gone.You're going into a world run by folks with MBAs; business majors, accountants and such. Don't lock yourself into just knowing about aviation. :-)Regards,http://www.dreamfleet2000.com/gfx/images/F...R_FORUM_LOU.jpg

Share this post


Link to post

I agree with Lou. When I begun my flight training last year I was determined to do a "Professional Pilot degree". But after talking to several (current/retired) airline pilots, I was convinced on taking a degree not aviation related. Their advice was pretty much what Lou says above. Airlines don't care if you know about the history of aviation, all they care about is your ability to fly, your experience and your attitude.The advantage of having a non-aviation degree is that if you don't get into an airline, or for some reason you lose your airline spot you still have something to fall back on.Next year I begin a double degree in computer science and aviation. The aviation side of it is strictly PPL/CPL/ATPL subjects only, nothing on history or anything non-essential like that. Even so, I am trying like crazy to finish my CPL subjects and exams before the end of the year (I take my PPL exam this weekend or Tuesday the latest... fingers crossed :D ) so that I can concentrate on my ATPL at Uni.I think I

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks a lot for the responses, guys!Well, before the whole pilot thing hit me, I was going to do graphic or web design. Perhaps it would be better to fall back, work on my degree in design and in the meantime, work on some flight training as well.

Share this post


Link to post

there is no requirement to get a degree unless you want to work for fedex, and even then, people without degrees have been hired. Not everyone needs to go in debt to pay somebody to teach them how to learn

Share this post


Link to post

there are tons of options out there.uncle sam will teach you to fly for free if you sign up for 10 years (and its no guarantee you will make it).my best piece of advice is to get a PRACTICAL 4 year degree in something you enjoy and can make money in (business, finance, computers, etc). you can take flying lessons while you are at school and just set up a program not unlike ERAU (ie private freshman year, instrument in sophomore, commercial and flight instructor in junior, teach during senior year).the 4 year pilot schools are RIPOFFS imho. the "professional" pilot programs at flight safety, comair (delta connection or whatever they're calling it now), pan am, westwind, atp, etc are all RIPOFFS. overpriced cessna/piper and seminole time pure and simple. your flight certificate says FAA on it, not where you went.if you're going to spend $70,000 on an "education" do not spend it at these "schools". spend it at a state college and fly with the difference, you will SAVE money (albeit be in school longer). ENJOY college, it is the BEST time of your life.starting pay at the regional airlines is under $20,000 dollars. it will still be that when you graduate. you have that to look forward to!first things first. go to an AME (aviation medical examiner) here: http://www.faa.gov/pilots/amelocator/spend the $70 bucks or so to get your student pilot certificate, which is also your medical certificate. SEE if you can qualify for a 1st class medical (its no big deal). if so, that piece of paper will be good for what you need for 36 months. then start your senior year in high school perhaps getting your private pilots license. you may not like it, or you may love it. use the locality of a good part 61 school as a selection for a college.good luck.my history for what it is worth:bachelor of science in actuarial science7 years of actuarial science work1 year of CFI experience6 months of 135 "check flying"former 121 CA and now current 121 FO for a large regional airlinethe regionals have not always hired 500hr "wonders". post 9/11 the job market was tight up until 2004.

Share this post


Link to post

One very important fact to consider -If you attempt and earn a college degree, it is always yours and it can never be taken away from you. It also has that advantage of showing others that you are serious about the profession you choose.Best to you and your future plans.

Share this post


Link to post

Can't thank you guys enough, now I have even more to think about :]. One thing is that I live in the city (NYC) and proximity to an airport isn't too great. However, my number one college of choice right now is in Buffalo and it's about 10 minutes from Buffalo Niagara Int'l. The airport seems to have a pretty nice flight school. Plus I always had a general dislike for huge cities, so I'm gonna enjoy some time out of NYC.Also, I think maybe I should take an introductory flight, as I've never actually flied in general aviation aircraft before, just in airliners. Just to make sure I really want this.This is a great community BTW, you guys rock :D

Share this post


Link to post

Here's a good start...If you are not a member, join AOPA, and if nothing else, visit their forums (for members only). It will give you an insight to the real world, one that FS forums never will.That aside, YES, you should take an introductory flight, and see if this is something you want to do.In FS, many think that flying is just about programming an FMC and using an autopilot to do it for you, but what they do not realize is that you do not get to that point in real life until you have flown those little GA aircraft, without all that automation to do it for you, and I hope that never changes!Take that intro flight, then go from there.Thanks for the kind remarks, but no need to thank us.Advice is easy to give, and is worth what you pay for it.However, in this case, it is worth following at any price, so take that intro flight, then go from there with the knowledge that we will always be there to support you along the way, provided that is the way you want to go.Best wishes. :-)Regards,http://www.dreamfleet2000.com/gfx/images/F...R_FORUM_LOU.jpg

Share this post


Link to post

I've heard the job of an airliner pilot doing longhauls described (by them) as 10 hours of boredom fringed with 5 minutes of sheer terror at either end.Says enough I think about FMCs.And unlike in FS you can't hop over to the pub for a beer or go to the movies after you program that FMC, you're stuck in that seat looking at those numbers changing for the duration with only the guy in the next seat to talk to whom you didn't choose and may not like.

Share this post


Link to post

I think there's definitely great advice here for you.I've taken one of those three year degree courses (mostly aviation related studies) while earning the ME/IFR Commercial ticket. While I don't regret it, I think I would have been better off with a degree other than a B.Science one.I ended up getting into an ATCO career and loving it (around Sep 11, not many job vacancies for pilots and starting salaries and working conditions were insulting).I do fly, but mostly for fun and volunteer with the local civil search and rescue as a back up pilot.I think if you're really serious about it, and willing to put up with a lot of crap, I do think a degree is a requirement at this stage. There are way too many pilots out there fighting it out and any bonus you might bring to the interview will be the difference between getting in or not.Something else to consider for after training, and some might not agree with me on this, don't waste too much time flying single-pilot piston ops (such as Instructing) because those hours count for almost nothing come interview time with a major. Aim to get on multi-crew turbine early (Beech 1900s and the like) and I think you'll be much happier in the end.Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post

>Something else to consider for after training, and some might>not agree with me on this, don't waste too much time flying>single-pilot piston ops (such as Instructing) because those>hours count for almost nothing come interview time with a >major. Aim to get on multi-crew turbine early (Beech 1900s and>the like) and I think you'll be much happier in the end.count me as one who disagrees. flying a 1900 in the right seat is no more valuable than instructing and Gulfstream, et al charge you a lot of money for that "privilege" which is BS! there are a ton of people in the industry who look down on those that do this and it may affect your future career.instructing teaches you HOW to flow and teaches you a great deal about CRM and interaction. a lot of these newer pilots coming through the pipeline think a 15kt crosswind is huge and can barely talk, fly, and chew gum at the same time simply because they were not exposed to all of this in instructing. i learned more about flying in my one year of instructing than in any other phase of my flying career.one thing he ISN't telling you is most places have ICAO minimums for upgrades if you fly internationally (Mexico, Canada, etc). there is a total flight time requirement for this (1200 hours - 61.159(d)). your SIC time only counts for HALF (ie a 2 to 1 ratio is applied to it in counting towards this) and thus will take you twice as long (you can only fly 1000 hours in a year) versus havign all that time before you fly for the airlines through simple instruction and flying checks.the BEST exerience BAR NONE imho is single pilot 135 check flying. you fly in all weather down to mins and are routinely line checked, proficiency checked, and deal with the FAA on some issues. it is wonderful "training" before flying for the airlines.

Share this post


Link to post

You make some good points. I agree with some.I instructed for two years and found the experience valuable. What I probably should have said is, "not spend TOO much time instructing" as some people do have more than 90% of their time instructing on singles.All this depends on who you talk to and at which airline. What I said comes from check pilots I spoke with from QANTAS a few years back, and more recently from similar personnel with Air Canada and WestJet, who were heavily involved in interviewing and selection.Does having multi-crew turbine time make you a good pilot? NO. Does having only single time make you a poor one? Absolutely NOT. But as you probably know, almost all airlines' pilot selection departments have unpublished requirements. And many times a good pilot's application, without M/crew time on turbines, just slips through the cracks and disappears without seeing the light of day.I think in this case, it really all depends on who you talk to and the type of person you get at the time of interview and screening. I'm sure many pilots would probably agree with you . But from my experience, and I cannot emphasize this enough (from my own past experience), I still stand by what I said.

Share this post


Link to post

Air Canada and Westjet are "major" carriers in Canada. A new hire in the US will not go straight to American or United. Most regional "mins" are around 600-1000 hours of total time with 100 hours of multiengine time. They are so desperate for people the interview pretty much now goes:"Do you breathe and walk ok?""yes""You're hired!"I agree with you though that most carriers with larger airplanes (737's and up) are looking for turbine and crew environment experience. Most have an informal 121 PIC requirement of 1000 hours (SWA just upped theirs to 1300 hrs). But as mentioned earlier, going straight to these carriers in the US is extremely rare.

Share this post


Link to post

Well this is all a great wealth of information, guys :D.I still can't decide whether I want to take the professional pilot degree. I'm nearly 100% sure about wanting to go through with this and I'm serious about it. I know that if I take a different major, say, in design, I'm gonna feel like I'm wasting time and money. I know that if I get a different job, I'm gonna look up at the sky and regret I didn't go through with what I really wanted to do. As far as money goes, I wouldn't want to do this if money was my first and foremost priority. I gotta ask though, what would be the best way to pay for one's training? Take a student loan or something like that, or save up first and then get your training? I would think the former makes more sense because once you finish your training and gather up enough hours to go regional, you'll be able to pay back your loan fairly quickly.

Share this post


Link to post

I'd strongly advise against going into debt for flight training. Once you "go regional" you'll be lucky to pay your third of the rent on an apartment and buy Ramen noodles to eat, much less pay off any substantial debt.The "A" answer, as a few others have noted, is to get a real education which will present you with workable options for the rest of your life. Alas, though, there are many options available, even at prestigous universities, to squander your money and years of effort on an academic education that is without much application in the working world. Degrees like music therapy, sociology, psychology, audio-visual science etc, may be interesting, but they often prove useless in the context of making a living, leaving you trained to wax eloquently on the esoteric whilst standing in the unemployment line or selling cars at the local Hyundai dealership.A Hey-Diddle-Diddle-Embry-Riddle degree in Aviation Science might get you to a career as a pilot, or it might get you to a career gassing bizjets at an FBO in Tulsa. An engineering degree from any reputable state university followed by a commercial flight school or a commission in the USAF or USN gives you a shot at that flying along with many alternatives. Or you could take a stand against the bourgeoisie, stay home and educate youself between episodes of The Simpsons... :-xxrotflmaoCheersBob ScottATP IMEL Gulfstream II-III-IV-V L-300Santiago de Chile

Share this post


Link to post

I am going to throw a slightly different slant on this based on the UK.To get hired over here by the major carriers requires a frozen ATP.Major carriers do take on low time direct entry pilots but normally employ through training organisations who put young pilots through a stiff selection process.Those who are deemed to have the "right stuff" then have to finance their own A320 or 737 type rating or pay back the type rating with reduced pay with the airline they are contracted with.They then can be in the right seat of a 737 with 250 hrs.No body is going to finance you up to a frozen ATP and there is an arguement that an aviation career is mainly for the wealthy or those young people who have access to funds from relatives.I once met the youngest 737 captain who I was told was only 23 and worked for a low cost airline(RyanAir)so there are those who go straight from school into aviation.Bob is right! Even over here there are many useless university degrees which will at best be part of a requirement for a job interview and thats it!Remember too a degree is no guarantee of a job even if your aviation career goes belly up.Wasting time on some insignificant degree can cause other problems.You could spend three years doing such a degree while the job market in aviation is good only to find another 9/11 or collapse in world economies makes you as a 250 hr Frozen ATP worthless. IE your degree could cost you your aviation career.I believe a degree should be part of a requirement for your chosen career.If you want to be a lawyer you need a relevant degree, a doctor the same.Aviation should be no different!My advice would be to find out if first you meet the medical requirements and personality requirements for an Airline pilot and then gear your path to best achieve your chosen career whatever that may be.Peter

Share this post


Link to post

Well the greatest advantage of choosing a collegiate aviation degree is the fact that I can get started so soon. Plus, I would still be eligible for financial aid and scholarships, for both the college tuition as well as flight training.I don't necessarily agree that an aviation career is mainly for the wealthy, it's just about how much one is willing to devote and invest into one's education.

Share this post


Link to post

>Well the greatest advantage of choosing a collegiate aviation>degree is the fact that I can get started so soon. Plus, I>would still be eligible for financial aid and scholarships,>for both the college tuition as well as flight training.>>I don't necessarily agree that an aviation career is mainly>for the wealthy, it's just about how much one is willing to>devote and invest into one's education.You have to remember I am talking about europe.I do not know what sort of assistance and grants are available in the USA.in Europe for a young person the costs are huge not only for the training to get up to a Frozen ATP stage but also financing type ratings which seem to be the norm for low time pilots trying to get into major airlines.Over here those training costs even attract VAT (value added tax at 17.5%) which is crazy especially as other forms of education are VAT free. Hence my comments that becoming an airline pilot is a very expensive business and most young people cannot raise the funds.The airlines want jet time and preferably type ratings which makes it very difficult for a young guy with maybe 250 hrs and 30 hours multi to break through.Even with the required finance the selection process is tough for low time direct entry pilots which is also why I mentioned checking that you have the required aptitude and skills as well as personality to make it through those selection processes.Peter

Share this post


Link to post

>Degrees like music therapy, sociology, psychology, audio-visual >science etc, may be interesting, but they often prove useless in the>context of making a living, leaving you trained to wax>eloquently on the esoteric whilst standing in the unemployment>line or selling cars at the local Hyundai dealership.Wrong. Ive -never- stood in an unemployment line since 1942, when applying for my first job, before going to school. Since then, Ive been hired by every employer where I applied for work, in Hospitals, Clinics, etc.. My wife is a music therapist, with a major in psychology, and has worked in state hospitals for decades. Has never been out of work. Never had to work in any other field, but there are many unemployed pilots.You might do best talking about the road to a Pilots Career, but know little or nothing about a career in some things you mention. Ive been a psychologist for over 50 years, and made a good living. $75-150 an hour is not uncommon in the field if you are good at what you do. Especially in private practice where you set our own fees. No, you will not get that as a beginner, just as a newby pilot makes about $20k a year. BUT, my first years as a psychologist, I made more than any beginning pilot made, and that was in the 50's, when $20k was worth a LOT more than today. Continuing your education, an MA, Ph.D. means much more. The best knowledge in the field does -not- come from the Universities, that like any field, is just paying your dues. Attending Major Seminars around the country, learning from researchers, learning state of the art methods which wont be taught in a Univ. until 20-30 years in the future. Means being more effective as a therapist, and more self-satisfaction.

Share this post


Link to post

>The "A" answer, as a few others have noted, is to get a real education which will present you with workable options for the rest of your life. Alas, though, there are many options available, even at prestigous universities, to squander your money and years of effort on an academic education that is without much application in the working world.

Share this post


Link to post

As far as options go, Uncle Sam is out of the picture.. to become a pilot in the Air Force you need a college degree (go figure). I agree that the title "Professional Pilot" alone implies a great deal of dedication and training.

Share this post


Link to post

>>>Degrees like music therapy, sociology, psychology,>audio-visual >science etc, may be interesting, but they often>prove useless in the>>context of making a living, leaving you trained to wax>>eloquently on the esoteric whilst standing in the>unemployment>>line or selling cars at the local Hyundai dealership.>>Wrong. Ive -never- stood in an unemployment line since 1942,>when applying for my first job, before going to school. Since>then, Ive been hired by every employer where I applied for>work, in Hospitals, Clinics, etc.. My wife is a music>therapist, with a major in psychology, and has worked in state>hospitals for decades. Has never been out of work. Never had>to work in any other field, but there are many unemployed>pilots.Great...you're the exception. But what I said was that psych degrees often prove useless in the context of making a living.>You might do best talking about the road to a Pilots Career,>but know little or nothing about a career in some things you>mention. Ive been a psychologist for over 50 years, and made>a good living. $75-150 an hour is not uncommon in the field>if you are good at what you do. Especially in private practice>where you set our own fees. The majority of the folks I know who squandered their time in college on a psych degree never ever worked in the field. Those who did take it to a useful conclusion nearly universally had to take it well past a bachelors degree to be employable. In all honesty, most of the psych majors I knew in college were there because they had to major in something.Bob ScottATP IMEL Gulfstream II-III-IV-V L-300Santiago de Chile

Share this post


Link to post

>If you want to be a pilot the advice from some seems to be to>go and waste three years taking a degree in business studies>or something else incase you dont hack it as a pilot.>>Thats a bit like telling the would be Lawyer to get a degree>in domestic science incase he doesnt make it as a Lawyer or>the would be Doctor to take a degree ancient history incase he>doesnt hack it as a Doctor.>>Strange!!! Whatever your love and chosen career should be what>you aim for and what you train for.>There's a difference between education and training. Education is more broad-based...should teach the person *how* to think as much as it bestows a knowledge base upon which to draw from in a particular vocation. The lawyer and doctor are bad examples, because both have to already have an undergraduate education (generally in something else) prior to entering advanced studies leading to law/medicine degrees. The idea is diversification...as a pilot you're especially vulnerable due to the medical qualification requirements, and as we have seen recently, due to the deep cyclic nature of the industry. If you've chosen to train as a pilot while failing to diversify your options with a solid education, then every chest pain or market downturn (or market downturn leading to chest pain) poses you with the risk of a personal economic disaster.CheersBob ScottATP IMEL Gulfstream II-III-IV-V L-300Santiago de Chile

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this