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View Full Version : College or Flight training first?


acpeck6
11-16-2017, 01:25 PM
Should I finish college or ratings first? First some background info, I'm 21 with a PPL, and Instrument rating and want to become a career pilot. I have less than a year of college under my belt, and a considerable amount of debt from flight training. I haven't flown in around 9 months because I can't afford it. Im at a point where I cannot and shouldn't take out any more loans for flying. Ive decided that I should focus on getting my degree first. This will allow me to get a better job to pay off my debt and save for the rest of my flight training. The only other option would be working full time at a min. wage job until I get the $.

Any thoughts on finishing college first?

Thanks!


CFI123
11-16-2017, 04:26 PM
Should I finish college or ratings first? First some background info, I'm 21 with a PPL, and Instrument rating and want to become a career pilot. I have less than a year of college under my belt, and a considerable amount of debt from flight training. I haven't flown in around 9 months because I can't afford it. Im at a point where I cannot and shouldn't take out any more loans for flying. Ive decided that I should focus on getting my degree first. This will allow me to get a better job to pay off my debt and save for the rest of my flight training. The only other option would be working full time at a min. wage job until I get the $.

Any thoughts on finishing college first?

Thanks!


Finish the degree period. I received my degree in mechanical engineering, full scholarships and grants, worked for 5 years in engineering, paid off all of my ratings (except private and instrument as I already had those) and found part time CFI job shortly after. I worked 24/7 for the last 3 years and was able to log 1800 TT however my weekends were spent flying 6am-8pm, my weekdays after work were spent at the airport as well (was lucky to have two jobs 5 mins apart). I would suggest doing the same, work your a** off, make double salary and by the time you're 26-27, you'll be debt free with plenty of savings to take on regional job and good amount of experience in two industries. I'm 26 and jumping the ship in in January. My goal was to have a solid plan B. I am actually thinking of picking up Masters in economics after I get through regional training.

Diverb
11-16-2017, 05:18 PM
Have you considered joining the National Guard or Reserves? Depending upon what state you live in, some states have 75% to 100% tuition paid. Plus you will qualify for the GI Bill.

There's lots of aviation related jobs you could do until you finish your degree, then you may want to pursue flight training in the military.


landlover
11-19-2017, 02:43 AM
Should I finish college or ratings first? First some background info, I'm 21 with a PPL, and Instrument rating and want to become a career pilot. I have less than a year of college under my belt, and a considerable amount of debt from flight training. I haven't flown in around 9 months because I can't afford it. Im at a point where I cannot and shouldn't take out any more loans for flying. Ive decided that I should focus on getting my degree first. This will allow me to get a better job to pay off my debt and save for the rest of my flight training. The only other option would be working full time at a min. wage job until I get the $.

Any thoughts on finishing college first?

Thanks!

I was in a very similar situation 15 years ago. I left college in a pro pilot degree with 1 year and a PPL under my belt to wrap up all my ratings at https://www.aviator.edu/flight-school and then instructed full time for a year before deciding to go back to college full time(back then "the aviator" didn't offer college degrees). It allowed me to test out of many classes once returning with all(commercial multi instrument & MEI/CFII/CFI) my ratings. So I ended up sitting in school for 6 semesters and leaving with a BS, but start to finish it took 5 years. I took loans for mostly everything, which thankfully I've paid off. The only regret, I started flying/college at 21. I would have liked to have started earlier.

F224
11-19-2017, 04:59 AM
I was in a very similar situation 15 years ago. I left college in a pro pilot degree with 1 year and a PPL under my belt to wrap up all my ratings at https://www.aviator.edu/flight-school and then instructed full time for a year before deciding to go back to college full time(back then "the aviator" didn't offer college degrees). It allowed me to test out of many classes once returning with all(commercial multi instrument & MEI/CFII/CFI) my ratings. So I ended up sitting in school for 6 semesters and leaving with a BS, but start to finish it took 5 years. I took loans for mostly everything, which thankfully I've paid off. The only regret, I started flying/college at 21. I would have liked to have started earlier.

I did the exact same thing as landlover in 1976-81. Fly first, build flight time and work your way through college. Flight Safety has a program where if you show up with a commercial-instrument rating, they will buy your CFII-MEI in exchange for teaching at their flight school in Florida for two years. You can finish up your degree while you rack up flight time.

SonicFlyer
11-19-2017, 08:36 AM
Go through an accelerated program to get your ratings and start work as fast as possible. Assuming you want to go to the airlines it is all about seniority which means the sooner you get there the better off you are.

Get to the regionals ASAP. Once there begin working on an online degree.

acpeck6
11-20-2017, 08:43 AM
Thanks for all the replies! You all have given me some great things to think about. I'll have to look into the Flight Safety Program in Florida. I think it might be best to start with my degree, and finish my training after school. I miss flying like you wouldn't believe but I think its a good idea to have a backup plan as well.

Have a great Thanksgiving and Fly Safe!

Alec Peck

kingsnake2
11-20-2017, 11:16 AM
Should I finish college or ratings first? First some background info, I'm 21 with a PPL, and Instrument rating and want to become a career pilot. I have less than a year of college under my belt, and a considerable amount of debt from flight training. I haven't flown in around 9 months because I can't afford it. Im at a point where I cannot and shouldn't take out any more loans for flying. Ive decided that I should focus on getting my degree first. This will allow me to get a better job to pay off my debt and save for the rest of my flight training. The only other option would be working full time at a min. wage job until I get the $.

Any thoughts on finishing college first?

Thanks!

Maybe consider a middle ground? Enroll in a two year associate's degree program like Tarrant County College then finish up a bachelors later on while working as a CFI or FO. You could get credit for the college you have under your belt as well as the PPL+IR. You'd have about four semesters to get all your licenses and an associate's.

https://www.tccd.edu/academics/courses-and-programs/programs-of-study/aviation/professional-pilot/

831pilot
11-23-2017, 10:19 PM
Go through an accelerated program to get your ratings and start work as fast as possible. Assuming you want to go to the airlines it is all about seniority which means the sooner you get there the better off you are.

Get to the regionals ASAP. Once there begin working on an online degree.

OP,
I don't know how much debt you are in, and I don't want to advertise more debt because it sucks, plus I paid cash myself for the initial ratings through cfi. SonicFlyer has a point- there is such thing as an opportunity cost of obtaining your qualifications slowly, especially in the current hiring environment. Since you want to be an airline pilot, taking several years now just to enter the field cuts off several high earning years on the far end of your career. What I would do if I was in your shoes is I would hold off on the college degree for a couple of years and work hard full time and pay cash for your ratings as fast as possible. Then, when you're a CFI and later an FO you can knock out your degree online while you're sitting around in hotel rooms- it's a very effective way to occupy your layovers, ask me how I know that ;)

dera
11-24-2017, 06:53 AM
OP,
I don't know how much debt you are in, and I don't want to advertise more debt because it sucks, plus I paid cash myself for the initial ratings through cfi. SonicFlyer has a point- there is such thing as an opportunity cost of obtaining your qualifications slowly, especially in the current hiring environment. Since you want to be an airline pilot, taking several years now just to enter the field cuts off several high earning years on the far end of your career. What I would do if I was in your shoes is I would hold off on the college degree for a couple of years and work hard full time and pay cash for your ratings as fast as possible. Then, when you're a CFI and later an FO you can knock out your degree online while you're sitting around in hotel rooms- it's a very effective way to occupy your layovers, ask me how I know that ;)

This *2. Every year you procrastinate costs you 250-300k of lost earnings at the tail end of your career.

SonicFlyer
11-24-2017, 08:16 AM
work hard full time and pay cash for your ratings as fast as possible. It's not really possible to do that these days

831pilot
11-24-2017, 12:40 PM
It's not really possible to do that these days
Why not? I did that, and plenty of other people have too

SonicFlyer
11-24-2017, 08:35 PM
Why not? I did that, and plenty of other people have too

How long ago, how much did it cost, what was the duration?

831pilot
11-25-2017, 01:09 AM
How long ago, how much did it cost, what was the duration?
5-7 years ago, 40k, took just over 2 years..

SonicFlyer
11-25-2017, 12:58 PM
5-7 years ago, 40k, took just over 2 years..
The market has changed dramatically since then. It is not even close to being that cheap any more. And I don't know too many people who can work full time and cash-flow an extra $20k/yr for flight training (not to mention not having the time to do so).

831pilot
11-25-2017, 08:17 PM
The market has changed dramatically since then. It is not even close to being that cheap any more. And I don't know too many people who can work full time and cash-flow an extra $20k/yr for flight training (not to mention not having the time to do so).
The market did change a lot in the last few years. The hourly requirements haven't changed, so it is possible to get it done in the low 40s, but sub $100/hour light trainers are getting harder to find, so that keeps driving the cost up.
I never really wanted to be an airline pilot so I wasn't worried about missing the seniority train, but in the current hiring environment 2 years is a lot of time spent just to get the initial ratings. For someone starting training today, a 60k flight training loan can be a viable option, especially now that the entry level pay is catching up to where it needs to be.

SonicFlyer
11-26-2017, 07:19 AM
so it is possible to get it done in the low 40sI don't think so. Not to mention the places that might be able to get it done that low will not be able to offer financing.



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