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Guest B1900 Mech

Im thinking about becoming an ATP and have a few questions

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Recently, I have been strongly considered becoming an ATP. Im in high school right now and Im definately going to college after, so I'm still a good 7 years away at least. When I get to college, I was thinking that a mechanical/engineering degree would be great for a resume and useful in the business, but I'm concerned that if I were to ever want to move up to the corporate level or another industry my options would be limited? Should I study business instead? Or would my experience as a pilot be enough to help me get up into the corporate level?Also, I know seniority plays a big role in scheduling, but would the airlines allow me to take certain days off for religous reasons (only about 4-7 particular days a month)?Thanks for your help.

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Well let me be the first to tell you that what you have a degree in will mean SQUAT by the time you finally settle into a career. Employees love to see a college degree- doesn't generally matter where you go to school either. If you knock them dead at an interview, almost nobody is going to turn away a strong canidate because they graduated from UCONN instead of Yale. I know alot of Yale grads who are struggling like everybody else...The exceptions to this are generally educational, or other specialized degrees. If you want teach, or be a doctor, you obviously have a particular track you need to take.Also, if you want to ever get to upper management in an investment firm, or bank, or similiar- You probably want an MBA, which is a master's degree and it doesn't matter what your bachelors is in anyway.And of course there are plenty of career choices which require specialized training, but not necessarily a degree. Stockbrokers for example- you need licenses, and if you can impress your local Merril Lynch executives with alot of drive and passion, you could probably land a job and have the licenses paid for by them. I have no degree, but LOTS of IT training, and make a comfortable five figure salary. My best friend has a biomechanical engineering degree from Westpoint and pulls in over 200k as an insurance executive. As for the choice you are looking at- An engineering degree from a decent school will leave you with virtually unlimited options.If I were you, I would look at a school that can give you the engineering degree, and the flight training.Keep this in mind- A college degree is simply a piece of paper that tells people you know how to apply yourself and accomplish something. It is a way for employers to tip the odds in their favor that the person they are hiring is not a lazy, lying slacker. Yes, you will learn stuff in the process, but honestly college prepares you about as much for the real world as your college girlfriend prepares you for marriage :)

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Hey,I thought about becoming a pilot for years, but because of the expense (In the UK anyway) and I choose to study law, history, politics and psychology. My careers advisors werent helpfull, when i told tham that I wanted to become a pilot thay looked at be in a patronising way and suggested I "do somthing more acheivable." When in college i met new friends who had the same desire, and like me not alot of cash, we spoke to each other, shared internet links to flight schools and found out that actually, although expensive, it was possible.This made me feel good, but then bad. My friends who wanted t be pilots were on physics and maths courses, and I was stuck on "book" based subjects. I really felt that i had blown my dream. I still looked around on the internet though and found that physics and maths werent necessary I also atteneded a taster day at my local flight school, it included mock tests a mock interview and career advice, the staff, all experienced pilots with links to airlines were very helpfull and told me that a good grade in any college course was better than a bad one in physics. More to my delight thay said that my score in testsand the interview was good and i should seriously consider flight training. I signed up a few months ago, its only to 'express interest' in their course which takes your from zero hours to frozen ATPl. I have another year at college and after that i can send of the application pack the school gave to me.This very, probably too long message is to tell you that it doesnt matter what you do at college, just go for it, do your best and get in contact with as many flight schools as possible for advice.Best wishes,David Bannister

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So in other words, to get a job in the corporate side of an airline, the real world experience of flying and working in the airline is more important than a degree in business?

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Right now I am getting a degree in Aviation Management so that if I don't continue to fly then I will work in the industry somewhere.

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>So in other words, to get a job in the corporate side of an>airline, the real world experience of flying and working in>the airline is more important than a degree in business?I don't think anyone here said such a thing.>I know seniority plays a big role in scheduling, You bet it does so if your seniority is fairly low you may not have much choice which exact days of the month will be your days off.Michael J.

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A few more points to add to the excellent advice given here.I attended a flight school and most PIT (Pilots in Training) took aviation mechanics and aeronautical engineering as their 'main' courses and did their flight training as well.I am not a licensed pilot; but I believe that a good understanding of physics and aerodynamics is important. If you are able to grasp these concepts; then your actual college degree/major is not that important.I have a friend who has a masters in biochemistry; but works as a IT consultant because he is such a 'geek' with technology (ie, he does what he feels passionate about).I think this is most important; as it will drive you to succeed and I believe that if you can show this in your initial meetings with the flight school, then this will help greatly.If you plan to stay in the aviation industry and move onto the business side of things, then you would need some sort of business background. An MBA would greatly help in this, and you could possibly end up (after your pilot career) in management at any number of flight schools or private flight providers (like NetJets). A lot of people think an MBA is just "common sense" and not really needed; but you would be surprised how un-common common sense really is. I think the biggest benefit you would get out of an MBA is the knowledge in 'how' business is transacted; not the 'what'.If your schooling is in engineering, then you can be in charge of maintenance or support operations. I personally like this kind of 'hands on' approach, and for me this would be it -- although I really don't see myself doing much else than flying if I had a license :)I can't speak with much authority on the scheduling part; but from the few pilots that I talk with, seniority is very important in getting routes and preferred days off; although if its a religious thing, then the airline might be obliged to give you the days off.Good luck, and I hope I didn't confuse you much.

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My two cents...if you get your ratings and manage to get your foot in the door for an airline flying career, what you got your degree in will mean zippety-doo-dah.BUT...The odds of getting there are far from a sure thing. An engineering degree gives you a terrific backup plan, and is a far better backup career option than an aviation science degree from Embry Riddle that, in absence of aforementioned flying job, qualifies you basically to pump gas at the local FBO for minimum wage whilst pontificating on the horrific state of the industry...If you want to get into airline management, then time and money spent on ratings beyond what's needed for personal satisfaction is essentially wasted...they want strong corporate managers, not jet-jockeys. If that's what you want to do, then a traditional business, finance, or management degree from a strong school plus an MBA is the best route. And you'll need considerable luck getting into that door as well. ALWAYS have a backup plan that you can live with...dreams do not, contrary to what Hollywood would have you believe, always come true.Good luck.Bob ScottATP IMEL Gulfstream II-III-IV-VSantiago de Chile

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Take my advice, Become a doctor or something that pays a good wage,Then you can do all the flying you want. This industry sucks for having a family life and being with the ones you love on holidays. Do not believe all the hype.

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Haha, that's pretty much the truth. I make WAY more than my professional pilot friends at this point, and I have no college degree. I do have specialized skills however...Take my aviation doctor, Doc Winter (He's pretty famous in the Northeast)-He has a tiny 20x10 (that might be generous) office built into the back of his hangar in Chester, CT. He is only available on crappy days or you have to make an appointment weeks in advance. He has a V-tail Bonanza you could eat off of, and pretty much flies whenever he wants. He can afford to. My brother has flown with him. The guy just lives and breaths airplanes. His relatively stress-free job just pays the bills. I'm sure the only time he gets stressed is when he has to reject somebody's medical certificate. I've heard that instead of doing that directly, he'll just tell them to get a second opinion.

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Well you have the right mindset about going to college and getting a degree. Enjoy the experience of college, don't just go to get the degree. That's the track I went I have not regretted it at all (also try to do some traveling during the summer). In my airline's ground school people had degrees in all sorts of things. One guy had a degree in English but it was basically a poetry major. A couple of pysch. majors, poli sci, chemistry, and of course some people from Embry Riddle. My suggestion is to study what you love and then go into aviation. What you majored in means nothing to an airline just that you finished something that required effort.David

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First of all, we need to know just what you mean by "an ATP".The ATP is merely a license - you can get this without any college, as long as you meet the FAA requirements of age, experience, and (believe it or not, in today's world) "good moral character". There is, however, no reason to acquire this expensive license unless you intend to pursue the absolutely only career that specifically requires it - a command pilot position at an FAA part 121 air carrier; ie, a US airline. Granted it is true that, simply because they usually can (supply and demand), many other airplane operators such as corporate and even regional airlines tend to require a successful candidate to possess an ATP license, even though it is not required by the FAA. (It may be required by their insurance underwriters)In terms of becoming an airline pilot, it is a good idea to use college to establish the basis for a possible second career, one that could, if necessary, become the primary career later on, after a furlough for example. I would recommend that you major in something that:1. You like, and therefore would probably do well at in school, and:2. Has some real-world applications in terms of making money. Teaching certification is one example, and there are others.When I got hired by American Airlines in 1977, it did not really matter what your degree said (mine was a BA in Chemistry) but rather what airplane you flew in the military and how many hours you had. Today, it is pretty much the same, except for the emphasis on the military, which is pretty much gone.And yes, everything is determined by seniority - you will not be given days off for religious reasons unless you can either bid them off or trade them off.Someone in high school now is actually pretty well positioned for an airline career. While it is true that the profession has suffered from the "perfect storm" environment post 9-11, it is still a decent way to make a living, especially if you love flying. There will be, starting around the mid teens, a massive hiring boom at all airlines as the 1980's hires retire. If the retirement age is raised that may be moved back to around the late teens, but it is still coming. Best to be available with the experience and other qualifications to be hired in the first year or so of the boom, so your seniority position is good.Good Luck!Tony Vallillo

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