Airline Pilot Forums

Airline Pilot Forums was designed to be a community where working airline pilots can share ideas and information about the aviation field. In the forum you will find information about major and regional airline carriers, career training, interview and job seeker help, finance, and living the airline pilot lifestyle.




bigoilman
09-11-2019, 10:34 AM
I'm helping my son do research on this field while he is at work and I'm off. I've been reading a lot on this forum and I'm appreciative of all of the info that's here.

My son just turned 19 and wants to become an airline pilot. My best friend is a helicopter pilot (flying to rigs in the GOM) and he's helped with some advice but his career path was a bit different (Italian Navy pilot, then to the US).

My son isn't pursuing a degree and doesn't intend to. Will that hinder his career long-term? My understanding is that the degree requirement being dropped in some schools/programs is a recent development in the industry.

He's interested in the Military but there are no guarantees of training that way, either (even in the Army WO program for helicopter pilots that doesn't require a degree). He's looking into the USAF Reserves to get a taste of Military life and earn GI Bill credit, but even the GI Bill doesn't get close to covering the cost of Flight School (every little bit helps, though).

In addition to the military path, we've looked into ATP Flight School and Epic Flight Academy.

Is there a career path that we're overlooking?

We've read a TON of info on pilot lifestyle. I've worked rotating 12 hr shifts for 25 years in the oil refinery biz. IF, he wants to pursue this career as a pilot, it seems to me that doing all of the "dirty work" (commutes, irregular schedules, i.e paying-your-dues) is best done at this stage of life (no mortgage, no wife, no kids). Would you agree?

Thanks for any and all input.

Richard


usmc-sgt
09-11-2019, 11:37 AM
There are literally HUNDREDS of threads on this very topic and any question you could ever have. Youíll get a few responses but youíll find tens of hours worth of relevant reading through browsing these forums. Get a degree though, some way, somehow. Its not required...but he is severely hindering himself by not.

bigoilman
09-11-2019, 01:07 PM
There are literally HUNDREDS of threads on this very topic and any question you could ever have. Youíll get a few responses but youíll find tens of hours worth of relevant reading through browsing these forums. Get a degree though, some way, somehow. Its not required...but he is severely hindering himself by not.

Thanks. I'll read on.

By hindering, do you mean his career progression (all other things being equal)?


galaxy flyer
09-11-2019, 01:39 PM
No degree, likely very little chance at legacy airlinesóDL, AA, UA, FDX and probably WN. Itís been that way for decades and top career paths will always demand a degree in the US. You need to do what my father did, enroll him, take him there and say, ďmeet your next four years, then you can pursue whatever you wantĒ.

Military requires one and is the easiest and least financially problematic, but comes with its costs.

rickair7777
09-11-2019, 02:31 PM
I'm helping my son do research on this field while he is at work and I'm off. I've been reading a lot on this forum and I'm appreciative of all of the info that's here.

My son just turned 19 and wants to become an airline pilot. My best friend is a helicopter pilot (flying to rigs in the GOM) and he's helped with some advice but his career path was a bit different (Italian Navy pilot, then to the US).

My son isn't pursuing a degree and doesn't intend to. Will that hinder his career long-term? My understanding is that the degree requirement being dropped in some schools/programs is a recent development in the industry.

The degree is the norm in the airline industry. If they loosen up on that, it will likely only be until the shortage is over.

You can usually (certainly right now) get a regional job without one, but career-wise that's like working for a third-tier oil company, ie you want to get to the majors if at all possible.

Right now, if he hustles, he should be able to get a job at a ULCC/lower-tier major without a degree. That will provide good pay and QOL compared to 95% of jobs in America.

Do not plan on getting to a top-tier major without a degree. There is one path to that... an AA wholly-owned regional with flow. You just have to get hired by one of those regionals, after which you'll exchange years of sub-standard pay and QOL for an automatic seniority number at AA. Not a bad deal if you're hell bent on not going to school. Those regionals are a bit more selective than most others.


But the degree is the norm for majors... if something happens to the economy, they'll have degreed pilots lined up around the block again for any major job... without a degree you go to the back of that line.


He's interested in the Military but there are no guarantees of training that way, either (even in the Army WO program for helicopter pilots that doesn't require a degree). He's looking into the USAF Reserves to get a taste of Military life and earn GI Bill credit, but even the GI Bill doesn't get close to covering the cost of Flight School (every little bit helps, though).

Army WO is the only mil option without a degree. Pretty sure you'll need at least some college to compete, but not certain. Mil helo experience will not get you an airline job, you'll have to build fixed wing time somehow time (possible in the army, not a sure bet though).


In addition to the military path, we've looked into ATP Flight School and Epic Flight Academy.

Do your research. Lots of research. Entry-level aviation can be rough on folks who have no industry SA. Any black mark will haunt you for life and some of those schools specialize in black marks.


We've read a TON of info on pilot lifestyle. I've worked rotating 12 hr shifts for 25 years in the oil refinery biz. IF, he wants to pursue this career as a pilot, it seems to me that doing all of the "dirty work" (commutes, irregular schedules, i.e paying-your-dues) is best done at this stage of life (no mortgage, no wife, no kids). Would you agree?


Yes. The dues paid early on will probably make for a better life than oil for example. Good money plus better schedules (still be away from home some of course).

bigoilman
09-13-2019, 12:16 AM
The degree is the norm in the airline industry. If they loosen up on that, it will likely only be until the shortage is over.

You can usually (certainly right now) get a regional job without one, but career-wise that's like working for a third-tier oil company, ie you want to get to the majors if at all possible.

Right now, if he hustles, he should be able to get a job at a ULCC/lower-tier major without a degree. That will provide good pay and QOL compared to 95% of jobs in America.

Do not plan on getting to a top-tier major without a degree. There is one path to that... an AA wholly-owned regional with flow. You just have to get hired by one of those regionals, after which you'll exchange years of sub-standard pay and QOL for an automatic seniority number at AA. Not a bad deal if you're hell bent on not going to school. Those regionals are a bit more selective than most others.


But the degree is the norm for majors... if something happens to the economy, they'll have degreed pilots lined up around the block again for any major job... without a degree you go to the back of that line.



Army WO is the only mil option without a degree. Pretty sure you'll need at least some college to compete, but not certain. Mil helo experience will not get you an airline job, you'll have to build fixed wing time somehow time (possible in the army, not a sure bet though).



Do your research. Lots of research. Entry-level aviation can be rough on folks who have no industry SA. Any black mark will haunt you for life and some of those schools specialize in black marks.



Yes. The dues paid early on will probably make for a better life than oil for example. Good money plus better schedules (still be away from home some of course).Thanks for the info. I'm getting most of the initials/abbreviations/anagrams but "industry SA" eludes me. What is SA?

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

USMCFLYR
09-13-2019, 12:26 AM
SA = Situational Awareness

Bahamasflyer
09-13-2019, 01:15 PM
Rick can correct me if I wrong, but it seems as if taking on the role of a ground school or even sim instructor until one reaches at least 1000 TPIC would do more harm than good because being in that roll would not allow you to build hours as quickly as one would otherwise.

My systems instructor at my regional has 500 SIC but rarely flies the line. I donít see how thatís beneficial to getting the time one needs to move on as fast as practical.

But if one truly loves teaching, disregard of course

Iíd think that a volunteer roll in the safety dept or even a non aviation charity/group etc would be better since you could still fly a lot to build time

kevbo
09-13-2019, 02:52 PM
There are some academic aspects to being a pilot. Why cant he go to school? If he cant get through the basic classes then maybe look into a maintenance career.

Pilsung
09-13-2019, 04:24 PM
In this current environment, skip the degree (in basket weaving et al) for now, not forever. Get all money-paying ratings (C, CFI) ASAP. Then, while getting paid to fly as a CFI/Regional pilot, reevaluate if a degree is necessary in the then future environment...
...not having a college degree on a resume for the majors will be a non-issue within 5 years...

bigoilman
09-13-2019, 04:28 PM
There are some academic aspects to being a pilot. Why cant he go to school? If he cant get through the basic classes then maybe look into a maintenance career.He can do it, but I think he's just feeling a bit burned out after HS. Given some time, I think he'll reevaluate the situation and be fine with some more education (outside of flight training(.

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bigoilman
09-13-2019, 04:35 PM
In this current environment, skip the degree (in basket weaving et al) for now, not forever. Get all money-paying ratings (C, CFI) ASAP. Then, while getting paid to fly as a CFI/Regional pilot, reevaluate if a degree is necessary in the then future environment...

...not having a college degree on a resume for the majors will be a non-issue within 5 years...This is exactly the conversation he and I had today. With the emphasis on seniority in this business, get trained and "in the pipeline" asap. Then start taking classes toward a Bachelor's Degree.

Like you said, that "requirement" may fade away if pilot shortages turn out to be as dire as predicted. Even so, there's never too much education imho. I have a degree that I've never used (Advertising) but it did help me get my job with one of the major oil companies, where I've been for 25 years.

My son knows that EVERYONE in Operations and Maintenance in my company makes over 100k w/o a degree requirement, so more school and more debt (which I've taught him to loathe, thank you, Dave Ramsey) is sometimes a hard sell for a career making less money (initially). He wants to fly, though, and I'd really prefer he stay out of the oil biz.

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rickair7777
09-13-2019, 04:51 PM
Rick can correct me if I wrong, but it seems as if taking on the role of a ground school or even sim instructor until one reaches at least 1000 TPIC would do more harm than good because being in that roll would not allow you to build hours as quickly as one would otherwise.

*Usually* you'll need 1,000 hours before they let you teach anything.

But the real fast ticket to the top-tier jobs is LCA or sim instructor, you have to be a CA for the former, and regionals pretty much all require CA (and LCA) experience for the later. If you break into the training department early on (ground or FTD), you'll be on the fast track for LCA once you upgrade. If you're just another face in the pack it can be real hard to get LCA.


My systems instructor at my regional has 500 SIC but rarely flies the line. I don’t see how that’s beneficial to getting the time one needs to move on as fast as practical.

Depends on his goals. But he's probably set for LCA, which is really the fast track.

But I've known guys who just wanted to be home every night, and fly a jet every now and then. Some of them bypassed upgrade, since many departments won't pay a CA to teach ground.


I’d think that a volunteer roll in the safety dept or even a non aviation charity/group etc would be better since you could still fly a lot to build time

10,000 hours in a RJ won't do much good if they hire a LCA with 5,000 hours instead of you.

Firefighterpilo
09-13-2019, 08:30 PM
In this current environment, skip the degree (in basket weaving et al) for now, not forever. Get all money-paying ratings (C, CFI) ASAP. Then, while getting paid to fly as a CFI/Regional pilot, reevaluate if a degree is necessary in the then future environment...
...not having a college degree on a resume for the majors will be a non-issue within 5 years...

Hahaha guys have been saying this for 20+ years. This industry is cyclical and has a lot of changes but one thing has and will always be a constant. The top aviation jobs will always require a degree for 99% of all pilots. I would most certainly NOT skip getting a degree with the unreasonable expectation that in five years they will drop that requirement.

The military and university flight programs pump out a ton of pilots with bachelors degrees. The majors will always have plenty of experienced pilots with college degrees. Also most of the big flight Universities have multiple programs that can get you fast tracted to a top tier major. Internships, deltas propel program ect..

Cue the guys preaching about how the numbers donít lie and this time will be different then the other countless times this same thing has been predicted. Every time this shortage is around the corner something comes out of left field to negate it. Every single time.

In all honesty myself and everyone who went to College loved it and have no regrets about going to a four year college with all the benifits they provide. The guys who usually bemoan degrees, throughout this fictional ďunderwater basket weavingĒ major. I feel many are slightly bitter they keep seeing educated pilots get hired before them with usually less time.

PRS Guitars
09-13-2019, 10:40 PM
Deleted...

Pilsung
09-14-2019, 12:03 PM
Hahaha guys have been saying this for 20+ years. This industry is cyclical and has a lot of changes but one thing has and will always be a constant. The top aviation jobs will always require a degree for 99% of all pilots. I would most certainly NOT skip getting a degree with the unreasonable expectation that in five years they will drop that requirement.

The military and university flight programs pump out a ton of pilots with bachelors degrees. The majors will always have plenty of experienced pilots with college degrees. Also most of the big flight Universities have multiple programs that can get you fast tracted to a top tier major. Internships, deltas propel program ect..

Cue the guys preaching about how the numbers donít lie and this time will be different then the other countless times this same thing has been predicted. Every time this shortage is around the corner something comes out of left field to negate it. Every single time.

In all honesty myself and everyone who went to College loved it and have no regrets about going to a four year college with all the benifits they provide. The guys who usually bemoan degrees, throughout this fictional ďunderwater basket weavingĒ major. I feel many are slightly bitter they keep seeing educated pilots get hired before them with usually less time.

Even if a degree is still required in 5 years, the fastest way to get there is total immersion & tunnel vision on flight ratings first, then a degree. I think you and I can both agree that without the ratings and airtime, you have a zero chance of getting hired (at any tier) in this industry. There are plenty of online accredited degree programs that one could complete during a five or six year stint at the regionals, during long boring layovers, in order to check off the degree box- but after you have a paid flying job...

Bahamasflyer
09-14-2019, 12:57 PM
Even if a degree is still required in 5 years, the fastest way to get there is total immersion & tunnel vision on flight ratings first, then a degree. I think you and I can both agree that without the ratings and airtime, you have a zero chance of getting hired (at any tier) in this industry. There are plenty of online accredited degree programs that one could complete during a five or six year stint at the regionals, during long boring layovers, in order to check off the degree box- but after you have a paid flying job...

As a regional NH, that's exactly what I'm going to be doing, especially since reserves at my company are only flying 10-20 hrs a month.

Just trying to decide between Thomas Edison State or Utah Valley Univ.....

USMCFLYR
09-14-2019, 06:06 PM
And if they have that desire, motivation, and dedication - it could certainly work that way - job first and degree second.

But how many times have you seen it in the military, other jobs, hear it on commercial advertising on-line degrees or one night a week degrees, or in general - LIFE GETS IN THE WAY OF THE BEST LAID PLANS.

Who wants to sit in the hotel room and writes that paper when the crew wants to go to dinner? Who has the time when all of the sudden your move to a new city because your new wife wants to be closer to family because you are gone all the time and that first born baby keeps you up at night - too tired to study for that test.

It is a skill set and mindset.
Some have it, some donít.

I donít.
Iíve done one correspondence course.
I could not do a degree on line. I need to be sitting in a class.
Iím lazy. Iím a procrastinator. Iím never miss a deadline, but I can wait till the last minute on something!

galaxy flyer
09-14-2019, 06:55 PM
And if they have that desire, motivation, and dedication - it could certainly work that way - job first and degree second.

But how many times have you seen it in the military, other jobs, hear it on commercial advertising on-line degrees or one night a week degrees, or in general - LIFE GETS IN THE WAY OF THE BEST LAID PLANS.

Who wants to sit in the hotel room and writes that paper when the crew wants to go to dinner? Who has the time when all of the sudden your move to a new city because your new wife wants to be closer to family because you are gone all the time and that first born baby keeps you up at night - too tired to study for that test.

It is a skill set and mindset.
Some have it, some donít.

I donít.
Iíve done one correspondence course.
I could not do a degree on line. I need to be sitting in a class.
Iím lazy. Iím a procrastinator. Iím never miss a deadline, but I can wait till the last minute on something!

And thatís why I thank Dad everyday for the direction he forced me into. I hated it, but 45 years later he was pretty smart.

rickair7777
09-14-2019, 10:04 PM
And if they have that desire, motivation, and dedication - it could certainly work that way - job first and degree second.

But how many times have you seen it in the military, other jobs, hear it on commercial advertising on-line degrees or one night a week degrees, or in general - LIFE GETS IN THE WAY OF THE BEST LAID PLANS.

Who wants to sit in the hotel room and writes that paper when the crew wants to go to dinner? Who has the time when all of the sudden your move to a new city because your new wife wants to be closer to family because you are gone all the time and that first born baby keeps you up at night - too tired to study for that test.

It is a skill set and mindset.
Some have it, some donít.

I donít.
Iíve done one correspondence course.
I could not do a degree on line. I need to be sitting in a class.
Iím lazy. Iím a procrastinator. Iím never miss a deadline, but I can wait till the last minute on something!

Some wisdom here folks.