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Old 05-19-2019, 04:52 AM   #1  
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Default Career advice - USA/Europe

Hello everyone!

I'm 23 years old and soon about to obtain my master's degree. Becoming a pilot has always been my childhood dream and I reached a point, where I want to pursue it.

I'm currently living in Europe (born and raised here), but I've also got the right to work in the United States. What I'm trying to find out is, if becoming a Pilot in the United States is even an option for me (mainly because of my English skills). I can imagine, that Airlines would prefer other Students, native English speaker, and choose them over me when I get to the point of looking for jobs.

To tell you guys the truth, I'm not the biggest fan of moving to the United States, but I'm considering it, in order to live my dream. The job market for pilots in Europe isn't the best. Right now basically, every fresh pilot out fo flight school gets hired by airlines, but there's no guarantee that by the time I'm being done with my getting license (ATPL) it'll be still like that. Things could change, and it would take me years to land a job until the market recovers again.

If I'd start working on my ATP in the States, there would be a higher chance of me landing a job, as the US Pilot Job market is definitely a lot more fertile than the European (got its ups and downs too, but all in all definitely in better health).

I'd love to hear your opinion, what you'd do in my position. Going for it in Europe or in the US. I know everyone has another opinion, but it would be great to hear your comments about it. Maybe there are things I haven't considered and thought of yet.

Also, just a random question aside, is there a possibility to convert a European EASA ATPL to an FAA ATP?

Sorry for my bad grammar and spelling mistakes.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 05-19-2019, 07:04 AM   #2  
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Full disclosure: I have both FAA and EASA licenses/Certificates. Iím American with right to work in Europe.

I did pursue flying in Europe at one point but the job prospects and overall career progression seemed better for me in the US. I came back to the US and flew at a regional for four years, and pay has since come up and is actually pretty decent now. I just got hired by a US LCC and a US legacy carrier and I doubt Iíll return to Europe for work. The pay and conditions at the legacies in the US are hard to beat.

Having said that, there are some decent jobs in Europe and you can live pretty well if you live in the right place, plus the benefits of social healthcare and retirement etc.

Also, if you have right to work, you donít need to be a native English speaker to get a job in the US. The regionals are hiring like crazy and I have plenty of friends who are not native speakers of English and are flying at various companies here with a green card. The biggest thing is getting a 4 year degree if you want some of the more competitive jobs, but if you are working on your masterís degree then you already have that box checked.

And yes, you can convert EASA ATPL to FAA ATP. Getting the FAA training done is a bit quicker than EASA because of the difference in knowledge testing requirements.
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Old 05-19-2019, 07:43 AM   #3  
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Full disclosure: I have both FAA and EASA licenses/Certificates. Iím American with right to work in Europe.

I did pursue flying in Europe at one point but the job prospects and overall career progression seemed better for me in the US. I came back to the US and flew at a regional for four years, and pay has since come up and is actually pretty decent now. I just got hired by a US LCC and a US legacy carrier and I doubt Iíll return to Europe for work. The pay and conditions at the legacies in the US are hard to beat.

Having said that, there are some decent jobs in Europe and you can live pretty well if you live in the right place, plus the benefits of social healthcare and retirement etc.

Also, if you have right to work, you donít need to be a native English speaker to get a job in the US. The regionals are hiring like crazy and I have plenty of friends who are not native speakers of English and are flying at various companies here with a green card. The biggest thing is getting a 4 year degree if you want some of the more competitive jobs, but if you are working on your masterís degree then you already have that box checked.

And yes, you can convert EASA ATPL to FAA ATP. Getting the FAA training done is a bit quicker than EASA because of the difference in knowledge testing requirements.

First of all thanks for your reply.


Yes exactly, pay-wise it's impossible to beat US carriers, also it takes ages to upgrade over here.



What I thought of was getting my ATPL here in Europe, trying my luck to find a job, and if things don't work out as expected I'd move to the US.

Sounds much simpler than it is, especially because of the license conversion. Do you know how that would work (I think that I probably would have to go through the whole training again, which would be extremely expensive ... paying for training twice is unfortunately not affordable for me)?



That's nice to hear, that getting a job in the US for someone like me is not impossble. That gives me some hope
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Old 05-19-2019, 10:45 AM   #4  
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Yes, you can transfer FAA to EASA and EASA To FAA. You do not have to do the whole course over. Your hours count. It would probably be a faster process to go from 0 to Commercial with the FAA and get a job and then start working on the EASA conversion. If you are motivated, you can go from 0 to commercial certificate as quickly as 6 months in the US, but your first job will probably not be flying a jet, but rather towing banners, flying skydivers, flying a PC-12 or caravan, or flight instructing.

If you do your training in Europe, your training will be closer to a year and a half but when you finish, you may have an opportunity to fly a passenger jet but you may end up paying for a type rating (which are much more expensive in Europe, approx Ä30,000). There are some legacy carriers in Europe that donít make you pay for your type rating, but most new commercial pilots are going to the low cost carriers and paying for the type rating.
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Old 05-21-2019, 02:49 AM   #5  
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Yes, you can transfer FAA to EASA and EASA To FAA. You do not have to do the whole course over. Your hours count. It would probably be a faster process to go from 0 to Commercial with the FAA and get a job and then start working on the EASA conversion. If you are motivated, you can go from 0 to commercial certificate as quickly as 6 months in the US, but your first job will probably not be flying a jet, but rather towing banners, flying skydivers, flying a PC-12 or caravan, or flight instructing.

If you do your training in Europe, your training will be closer to a year and a half but when you finish, you may have an opportunity to fly a passenger jet but you may end up paying for a type rating (which are much more expensive in Europe, approx €30,000). There are some legacy carriers in Europe that don’t make you pay for your type rating, but most new commercial pilots are going to the low cost carriers and paying for the type rating.

Would the training in the States be difficult for someone who isn't fluent in English like me?


Doing my training in the states and convert to EASA isn't really what I'd want to do. Either going "all in" in the States and start working on building up my career there or getting my ATPL in Europe and converting it to the FAA equivalent.



Has anyone of you guys got details about how the conversion would work? Maybe someone went through the process ones and can share their experience.
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Old 05-21-2019, 04:04 AM   #6  
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No it wouldnít be that difficult.
Aviation does not require excellent English, it requires proficiency.
Besides youíll learn it in leaps and bounds once you start your training.
In your case Iíd recommend you do your training in the US and do a European conversion afterwards should you consider it necessary.
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Old 05-21-2019, 06:39 AM   #7  
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Opportunity in the US should be good for years to come. But don't waste any time if you're going to come here, seniority is moving fast and the sooner you get some the better off you'll be.

I would probably decide where you're going to work first. If it's the US do your training here, for US certificates. That will help with English and be cheaper and likely faster than doing EASA training. If you change your mind later, you can always convert (either direction), but I probably wouldn't do the conversion unless you get to a point where you need to.

Based on your written English, you should be fine here, especially if you train here. US employers (including airlines) cannot (and do not) discriminate based on English skills. Any accent doesn't matter, as long as you can understand and be understood. You just get an English language endorsement on your certificate once and then you're good forever. If you have a green card, FAA certificates, and competitive experience you'll have the same opportunities as anyone else. Worth noting, that does NOT work both ways, I would have a very hard time getting a job with a good airline in Europe.
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