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To be a cop or not

Old 02-15-2015, 08:10 AM
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Default To be a cop or not

Hi everyone,

This is my first post and it is mainly to career advice. I'm 21 years old and about to graduate with my undergraduate degree in criminal justice. While in college I got my Class B CDL, allowing me the money to get my private pilot license within six months.

Now that I'm graduating I have a choice to make. Join a police department that has a three year commitment and pay that comes out to $50k per year and see if I prefer the job security, benefits, but also continuous anxiety and politics over the life of a commercial pilot.

On the other hand I already have a good job with the city transit system that pays about $30k per year if I go full time, which I can do any time I want. This would mean getting everything done earlier than I could with police and get established in the industry. This agency also has great benefits for the one to two years I would be with them.

What do you all with your airline experience think? This is an honest question that I want information about and I will not try to justify either side of it.
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Old 02-15-2015, 08:29 AM
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Apply to all branches of the U.S. military for pilot training. Let Uncle Sam pay you to learn to fly, good luck!
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Old 02-15-2015, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by FlyArmy11 View Post
Apply to all branches of the U.S. military for pilot training. Let Uncle Sam pay you to learn to fly, good luck!

What he said...

If I were in your shoes 10 years ago I would've tried harder to get in the military scholarships or find ways of financing it with other people's money. It's really expensive and you'll make peanuts for quite a while. I'd chose to become a cop and earn a decent living while having a job you'll enjoy. My cop friends love their job and there's a good future if you stick with it til retirement and work into different areas of law enforcement. Basically what I'm saying is that if the money for flight training is going to come out of your pocket or loans, don't do it!

It's fun and all but that wears off when bills are due and you're struggling to even get a decent job while you could've been better off financially if you're earning 50k out of the gate. But if you stay out of debt in life maybe you'll be happy even though you make less than 30k a year and can swing it...everyone's situation differs. Think about the pension plans and retirement options cops may get, talk to the ones that have put in a decade or two, even ones who retired to get an idea. Finances matter more and more as you age; don't screw yourself up; and do make your decision while comparing how each path may lead you financially 5/10 years from now.

Good luck with whatever you decide.




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Old 02-15-2015, 09:44 AM
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I was a career firefighter before getting into 121. The fire service is an excellent career just like any other public safety job. I decided to get back into flying. The movement in the forthcoming years is cray cray so I told myself to do this for a few years and see how I like it, if it doesn't work out I'd go back to the fire service. Just remember there will always be opportunities in public safety but none like this for the new few years.

I definitely don't regret my switch for aviation.
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Old 02-15-2015, 09:52 AM
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You will only be truly happy to work for the forest service, anything else is a compromise.
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Old 02-15-2015, 09:58 AM
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Another angle to look at is law enforcement pilot. CHP, FBI, CBP(if they ever open there window) would all be great I think. Good news is your young, stick with it and don't get in debit!! (Uncle Sam can help with this)
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Old 02-15-2015, 10:25 AM
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Do both. Become a police officer first while slowly building your ratings and building time. Retire. Then fly. I know a few retired cops that have had second careers in the airlines (mostly regional level), fractional, and charter.
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Old 02-15-2015, 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by awax View Post
You will only be truly happy to work for the forest service, anything else is a compromise.
After many years working with the USFS, this is the first time I've heard anyone say that.

How so?
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