Is a four year degree still mandatory

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by steven4200, Jan 4, 2019.

  1. steven4200

    steven4200 Filing Flight Plan

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    I have reading into becoming a pilot and the one thing really worries me is I see a lot of information saying that I would need a 4 year degree on top of flight school training. I contacted a flight school and talked with an instructor and he told me that was no longer a requirement but I thought it couldn't hurt to ask other experts for there input on the matter. My main concern is that flight school alone is very expensive and to required a 4 year degree on top of that is pretty crazy financially... Thanks in advance for any input!
     
  2. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    What type of professional flying do you seek? Some require it, some don’t.
     
  3. Skyrys62

    Skyrys62 Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Same troll, different day?
     
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  4. steven4200

    steven4200 Filing Flight Plan

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    In the end I would to be a commercial pilot.
     
  5. Skip Miller

    Skip Miller En-Route

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    mandatory.
     
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  6. Challenged

    Challenged Pattern Altitude

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    What's the end goal? Flying 787s for a big carrier? Flying bush planes in Alaska? Flying banners? Aerial surveys?
     
  7. steven4200

    steven4200 Filing Flight Plan

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    Defiantly not trolling, just seeking information be for I commit myself to something I might not be able to afford in the end. A four year degree plus flight school could be almost 150,000 dollars plus from what I have seen so far.
     
  8. steven4200

    steven4200 Filing Flight Plan

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    Flying big planes for a big carrier.
     
  9. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Then you’ll need a degree.
     
  10. Luigi

    Luigi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Is English your second language?
     
  11. steven4200

    steven4200 Filing Flight Plan

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    No sir it is not.
     
  12. steven4200

    steven4200 Filing Flight Plan

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    Ahh, that's what I was worried about. I guess in that case its on to option two because there is no way I could afford flight school on top of a four year degree unless I hit the Powerball :(! Thanks for your input it was helpful.
     
  13. unsafervguy

    unsafervguy Cleared for Takeoff

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    Not nessesarrily. The regionals will hire anybody with a pulse nowdays. With flowthrough agreements you can get there without one. That said, it's better to have one to fall back on when the next downturn comes around.
     
  14. Clip4

    Clip4 En-Route

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    I would get a 4 year degree, but not in aviation. All the pilots are going to be replaced by artificial intelligent computers in the next 20 years.e
     
  15. steven4200

    steven4200 Filing Flight Plan

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    It's funny you say that because I looked into getting a CDL and getting into over the road trucking and heard the same thing about field... I am starting to wonder if my first option that involves getting into computers might not be the best way to go. It seems like they are taking over everything anyways. As the old saying goes "if you get beat them, join them".
     
  16. steven4200

    steven4200 Filing Flight Plan

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    What is a flowthrough agreement?
     
  17. unsafervguy

    unsafervguy Cleared for Takeoff

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    A lot of the regionals have agreements with a major to hire there pilots. It could be an agreement to interview them up to automatic job with no interview at all. At the regional I flew for I had an automatic job at the major that owned them with no interview or review.
     
  18. steven4200

    steven4200 Filing Flight Plan

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    Is that a common practice among airlines in today's job market? I also read that there is a pilot shortage and in the coming years it could pose a real issue.
     
  19. Cici

    Cici Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Could be as little as $60k. Could be $0 depending on if g’ma gertie is footing the bill. What’s your point?
     
  20. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    To get hired by a regional, the ability to fog a mirror is mandatory.

    With the current hiring climate, I would not postpone getting into a flying job just to get a college degree. You can still get the degree while you work as a pilot.
     
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  21. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Ok going to multi-quote and do some nit picking. Apologies in advance but don't say I didn't warn you.

    There are multiple threads on this but here's what it boils down to. Right now, you can probably find an airline job without a degree. You probably won't make it to senior captain at any of the majors without a degree, but you can definitely find an airline gig without a degree. But when I say right now I mean right now, as in today. This industry is and always has been fluid in that sense. It ebbs and flows. So two years from now getting an airline gig without a degree might not be so doable. Or it still might. Impossible to predict for sure. The only thing we can know for sure is the need for a degree WILL CHANGE. We just can't say when with any accuracy.

    That's the long and short of it. Now for the nit picking. I personally don't like when people harp on this and I therefore try to avoid doing it myself. Yet I'm going to do it anyway in this case none the less.

    One thing that having a degree would (or at least should) do for you is teach you that you spelled mandatory wrong and more importantly, teach you that in a field like professional aviation, knowing you spelled it wrong and being able to use tools that will fix that sort of thing for you is important. Its one of those things that will keep your resume from getting deleted immediately. Because when your resume gets deleted immediately, you ain't gettin hired. Period. In short, it matters. So pay attention to it.

    Also, getting gigs in aviation often relies being able to network well with others in the industry. Which means you never really know who you might be talking to that might be able to get you that job you've always wanted. Which means that even when you're just asking getting started questions on a random internet forum like this one, having good spelling and grammar can make a difference. And don't get me wrong, I'm a dyslexic idiot. Couldn't spell my way out of a wet paper bag if my life depended on it. But I know how to use spell check. And I can assure you that skill and that skill alone has been pivotal in me being able to live in a much better house and drive a much better car than I otherwise deserve.

    Aviation is expensive no matter how you slice it. Its been almost 20 years since I did my professional aviation stint and even back then I came to the realization that the absolute best candidates for airline flying were those who could get their ratings along with a 4-year degree and then live at home rent-free with mom and dad for 5-10 years until they worked their way up the ladder enough to be able to afford to get their own place and buy their own food.

    That being said, I did not have that situation at all. No degree and parents had already died and left the kids with almost as much debt as inheritance. But I also never had any aspirations of hauling passengers around in a flying bus. Airline flying suck in my opinion and I never wanted to do it. So I didn't. But I flew airplanes for a living none the less. Which is to say if you really and truly want to fly airplanes as your job, you can probably do that. No guarantees it'll be glamorous, or make you at all wealthy. But if the goal is to get paid to fly airplanes and keep a roof over your head and food in fridge, you can do probably do it no matter your background.

    Funny you say that. Because after I left aviation, I went into computers and then got a CDL and drove trucks and then finally ended up where I sort of was all along in all my careers, being a manager. In almost all my jobs I've ended up in management. I was a professional pilot for exactly one day, then I became the chief pilot which meant I managed the other pilots and staff while I was also doing flying myself yada yada yada... But anyway the point is I've come to realize what my true skillset is so I know that ultimately I'm a manager, and I happen to currently work in trucking.

    Driverless trucks are coming. Autonomous trucks are coming too, but that's not the same as driverless. Driverless will get here first. They will still require people. Operators I call them because they will be responsible for the truck but they won't be driving. Autonomous, with no human on board, will come later. The same will likely happen in aviation. But I pretty sure the trucks will get here long before the planes do. The whole managing three axis' of movement instead of two and all that and then the whole weather factor. And as someone who manages truck drivers now I can tell you without the slightest bit of irony, I look forward to that day.

    But yes you are absolutely correct. Computers are it. Whether you go into trucking or aviation or accounting or dog grooming, you would do well to get a solid education in computer technology as both a supplement and a fall back. Robotics even more so. Business management wouldn't hurt either.

    Best advice I can give you is no matter what you decide career wise, if you think you want to fly, do it. Even before you can really afford it. Because you will likely never be able to truly afford it. But you will also likely never regret doing it. Its kind of unique that way.
     
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  22. FlyingTiger

    FlyingTiger Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Part 135: No degree needed, charter operations are in desperate need of pilots since most leave as soon as they get to ATP minimums and/or their contract ends. You could actually make a decent living as an experienced 135 Captain.

    Regional: No, but it certainly helps. All Regionals are not created equal and you would most likely end up at one with lower pay and lower quality of life.

    Majors: Yes, as of right now if you want to fly for the majors, you need a 4-year degree.
     
  23. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Well, good luck in college.
     
  24. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    I work in a career field where a 4-year degree is considered a necessity, and advanced degrees are quite common. I'm now in a fairly senior engineering position where I'm sure everyone just assumes I have an EE or CS degree. I've had roughly two semesters of college, if you count some night and correspondence classes back in the early 80s. Point #1: Not all "requirements" are requirements if it turns out you're the right person for the job. And yes, it would certainly have been easier if I'd started out with a BS, but back then I had a very different idea about I wanted to do for a living. It's probably a good thing that didn't work out.

    And speaking of non-traditional classes, borrowing $100K to attend a four year degree program full time is not the only way to get a degree. There are far, far less expensive ways to do it, and it can be done while you're working a job.

    And then there's my personal favorite. Go enlist. Pick an aviation related or technical specialty and serve four or six years. Not only will you have that time to save money and get invaluable training and experience, you'll have the chance to develop some qualities that employers value very highly. Ex-military people tend to have a different attitude about work. They can usually be counted on to show up and produce, even when they don't feel like it or when it's not convenient. You can even work toward your degree with online courses while serving.
     
  25. Juliet Hotel

    Juliet Hotel Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    I used to think that was the case. But I've really only had good luck hiring older ex-military. Find a guy in his 50's that had a military background at some point and you stand a decent chance of ending up with a good hire. But you'd be surprised at how many younger ex-military I've hired that couldn't seem to get out of bed in the morning with any kind of reliability.
     
  26. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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    All of the people who postponed their degree to get a head start on flying regret it. At least all the people I’ve talked to. They all tell me the my wish they would have gotten the degree first. How old is the OP? If he/she is still in HS, I’d still get a degree. If he/she is already working and in their 20s/30s, working on their degree while employed at an airline may be the best idea.
     
  27. sarangan

    sarangan Line Up and Wait

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    I know someone who quit his IT job and became a CFI. Took a pay cut too. Ultimately you have to decide what lifestyle you want. The lifestyle of a junior airline pilot is nothing to be envied. Due to mandatory retirement, the perks of seniority does not last for too long either. Some people get a technical career in a high-demand field, and then do flight instruction on the side to stay active in aviation. It gives you a better lifestyle and better pay but you can't call yourself an airline pilot. If the label airline pilot is important to you, then you have to follow the traditional path from the bottom rung of the ladder. It is a matter of supply and demand. The requirement for a degree is just a filter to prioritize selection when you have a large applicant pool, not because people with degrees are better pilots.
     
  28. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    What’s your point? He asked a valid question that doesn’t necessitate reasoning by anyone. We are all in different financial situations.
     
  29. hindsight2020

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    The OP strikes me as someone who is ultimately interested in the vocation because of the recent misnomer, "pilot shortage", and the insinuation bad working conditions and pay are "officially over". No dog in the fight, but that's a demographic that gets absolutely pummeled in the industry cycles, if previous cycles are any indication. Hearing about the Lost Decade re-treads getting back in, I just want to buy them dinner.. and a clue. I don't know what it is about the word "cycle" most aspirants are too thick-skulled to understand. Did they ever not play musical chairs as a child? I mean this is seriously basic life skills here.

    Don't answer that, I'm being rhetorical...
     
  30. Ryanb

    Ryanb Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    You may be right, but I’m not sure I’d consider the ‘pilot shortage’ an industry cycle. Had the 1500hr rule not have gone into effect, 121 operators would be littered with suitable applicants. I would consider it nothing more than supply and demand.

    Just my 2c
     
  31. Half Fast

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    OP, there are plenty of jobs in aviation that do not require a 4 year degree.

    There are NO jobs in aviation, nor in any other vocation, that PROHIBIT a 4 year degree.

    You will have more options, and better options, in your career and in your life if you get the degree. Bear in mind that an industry down turn or a medical issue can end a flying career in a heartbeat. If you have a degree in a STEM field or in business you won’t starve.

    Perhaps the most critical characteristic for a pilot is good judgement. Show that you have that by getting an education if you have the means and skill to do so.
     
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  32. texasclouds

    texasclouds Line Up and Wait

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    In before someone says pilot shortage is a hoax.
     
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  33. Cici

    Cici Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My point is it doesnt have to cost $150k+ to get a 4 year degree and go "zero to hero." I apologize if that flew over your head.
     
  34. Unit74

    Unit74 Final Approach

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    No need to get hostile bro.....
     
  35. Stan Cooper

    Stan Cooper Line Up and Wait

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    I think he meant "definitely"...

    Autocorrect strikes again. Or maybe not.
     
  36. Half Fast

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    Amazing how these rumors get twisted around to have a totally different meaning. A couple of years ago, someone mentioned that there was a shortage of pilot hoaxes, and now look where we are.

    (NOTE: This post may or may not be a hoax.)
     
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  37. 35 AoA

    35 AoA Cleared for Takeoff

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    I think lumping all former service members into a single category of "really good" or "not good" is pretty difficult. We come from all walks of life, all levels of ability and experience. Much like anywhere else, you have people that pull their weight, and plenty of others who barely fog a mirror in the service. Additionally, I think amount and type of experience plays into it, in some nuanced ways. But in generalities, if your sample population is the kind of guy who left as a pretty junior person after 3-4 years, you will probably have a product that is a lot less molded into the military standard than someone with 20-25. Then again, depending on what that 20-25 year person did at the end, their motivation may or may not be what you would expect either. Long way of saying that nobody is the same. I'll relate it in more aviation specific terms. I have had a couple first tour guys come to my command who were both Marine scout snipers in a previous life (before college, going navy OCS, flight school, etc). Both served together in OIF 1 (2003 ish). First one was an absolute rockstar in our syllabus, got all quals quicker than I've seen anyone ever do it before, just a really impressive showing in his first few years flying the jet. His bud showed up a year or so later, and while he shared the great attitude and work ethic, he has been much like pretty much every new guy in terms of flying the jet and progression in the upgrade syllabus. That isn't a dig on him professionally, this is all new to him, and there really isn't any reason to believe that he would do better than anyone else. It is more a dig on all of us in the training department for assuming that they would be clones of one another based on no actual reason other than their shared background that is completely unrelated to flying military fighters.
     
  38. SkyDog58

    SkyDog58 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    But it is a hoax. I have never had a flight cancelled due to a pilot shortage.
     
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  39. bill98

    bill98 Pre-Flight

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    I see them cancel all the time due to duty time and there being no more reserve pilots.

    It is nice to have a 4 year degree as insurance in the event your medical was to be revoked for some reason.
     
  40. Lantraxco

    Lantraxco Pre-takeoff checklist

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    DON'T go trucking... it's never been a great career (Some Teamsters union jobs the exception) and it gets worse every year from so many aspects. You see the airlines crying for pilots and offering some really great signing bonuses and much better entry salaries? Well the trucking industry has been whining for decades they can't get enough drivers and guess what? They ain't offering diddly. No, I am not a professional driver but have been around and/or connected to trucking most of my working life. I do have and keep current a CDL because I need to move heavy equipment now and then. Really kicking myself I didn't pursue aviation to it's logical conclusion thirty years ago instead of that CDL, would be paying off right about now I think, lol.