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Old 09-25-2009, 02:49 PM   #1  
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Default Considering becoming professional pilot

Hello all, I am 20 years old and currently persuing a history degree. I am having doubts as to what ill be able to do with this degree that I will enjoy and have been considering other career options and I have always had a desire to become a pilot.

Ive been looking at a flight school near my home, specifically at the Professional Pilot Course they offer (HERE) and What kind of a job could I begin at with this? Would there be a problem with me not having an aerospace degree?

I really would just like to hear some pilots chime in on what they think of this program and what it would bring me.

Thank you for your time
Bryce
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Old 09-25-2009, 03:09 PM   #2  
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You have a lot of research to do. Your questions have been addressed many times here on APC, find those threads for more details.

In summary...

You do not need an aviation degree, any accredited 4-year degree is fine.

However: Ideally you want to major in something very practical (accounting, computer science, engineering, etc) so that when you need a non-aviation job due to medical, furlough, or airline bankruptcy you have some useful training. Some folks will say "major in something that interests you, it's all about self-fulfillment". But in the case of a pilot, aviation is your fulfillment/indulgence...you need a practical major that will be there for you when reality hits you between the eyes.

The school's link was blocked by the forum filters...what is the name and location of the school?
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Old 09-25-2009, 03:24 PM   #3  
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In short, becoming a pilot will bring you:

1) outrageous debt
2) low pay for years
3) dreadful family life
4) and the wish to get out of this "career" asap

Being a pilot is barely even a career these days, its more like a stepping stone to the unemployment line, or becoming a manager at starbucks. If I were you I would seriously consider not becoming a pilot, maybe get your private license and fly for fun, but look around these threads to see the real face of this "glamorous" lifestyle.
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Old 09-26-2009, 03:59 AM   #4  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boeingt7 View Post
In short, becoming a pilot will bring you:

1) outrageous debt
2) low pay for years
3) dreadful family life
4) and the wish to get out of this "career" asap

Being a pilot is barely even a career these days, its more like a stepping stone to the unemployment line, or becoming a manager at starbucks. If I were you I would seriously consider not becoming a pilot, maybe get your private license and fly for fun, but look around these threads to see the real face of this "glamorous" lifestyle.
No kidding. I just went to the local airport yesterday for some sorely missed VFR flying. I shot the breeze with a couple of CFIs and never told them that I was an airline pilot(yes I know.. I'm not lying) They said they had like 10 CFIs on staff not flying, we talked some about the airlines and the industry. Seemed like they were having a tough time. The whole time in my head I was screaming WHY?!! GET OUT NOW!! Oh well can't take that away from them...
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Old 09-26-2009, 07:46 AM   #5  
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I'm beginning to wonder if there are any pilots on these boards that actually enjoy their career.
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Old 09-26-2009, 07:58 AM   #6  
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Originally Posted by Mustang87 View Post
I'm beginning to wonder if there are any pilots on these boards that actually enjoy their career.
There are probably a great many of us who enjoy our jobs. But there is a difference between a job and a career...

The concept of career for most would include some degree of stability, future opportunity for advancement, and compensation commensurate with the demands of the job and the price of entry. Even a small but real threat to your company's financial health can keep you awake at night...if you have to switch companies you lose all seniority, longevity, pay, vacation, and QOL.

Most SWA/UPS/FDX pilots probably enjoy their careers.

Last edited by rickair7777; 09-26-2009 at 08:29 AM.
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Old 09-26-2009, 08:25 AM   #7  
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I'm beginning to wonder if there are any pilots on these boards that actually enjoy their career.
Well you can't really take the pilots on these boards as representative of the entire pilot population.... For one, there are plenty of furloughed pilots with some time on their hands so they fill the time by coming on here and saying how bad it is. Second, the people on here probably feel strongly about it so they are the most vocal. My sister is a pilot and really enjoys her job, but she's not on here telling everyone about it. Third, there are those people out there who will just never be happy with anything and will always complain. Like those people that go to restaurants and always complain to the waiter that something is wrong with their food. I know some people have legitimate reasons to complain, but there are people out there who do enjoy their flying jobs.
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Old 09-26-2009, 08:53 AM   #8  
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Originally Posted by Mustang87 View Post
I'm beginning to wonder if there are any pilots on these boards that actually enjoy their career.
I do! I fly corporate, and I have a pretty sweet job that I enjoy. I'm also a (young) career changer, and do not EVER want to go back to the cubicle.

Lots of pilot ***** and complain, but a lot of times there complaints are their own doing... Things such as high debt, commuting (though unavoidable in some cases), etc. Also, a lot of airline pilots don't seem to grasp the reality of what it's like outside of aviation. They believe everybody works 9-5 with a two hour lunch, 4-5 days/wk, 6 weeks vacation, making $150k/yr, perfect stability, and lots of respect. That simply isn't true.

If one wants to get into this career, they need to be smart about it from the start. Some tips:

1)Do not go into debt to be a pilot. This will require taking your time and sacrificing a lot as you do your training, but is very worth it. Your first several pilot jobs will likely pay $30k or less, so you cannot afford to be paying loans. A lot of the guys you hear *****ing and complaining screwed up and have a huge debt load... I'm sure I'd be miserable in that situation too.

2)Get a degree in something useful. Like rikair7777 said, your indulgence is pilot training. When (not if) aviation falls on hard times during your career, you NEED to have a degree in something useful that is outside of aviation. The majors rikair listed are good ones, I'd also include nursing or some other health care degree in that list.

3)Be very flexible with your goals as a pilot. Saying you only want to be an "airline pilot" can set you up for failure and disappointment. You never know where this career can take you, and you have to be willing to walk through whatever doors open for you as you gain experience. Airline, freight, charter, corporate, air ambulance, etc... You never know what will be best for you, so keep an open mind.

4)Be willing to pay your dues. Some guys have a HUGE chip on their shoulder since they have to fly as a first officer for a few years, or have to flight instruct for a year or two. That's just how it goes in aviation, so be prepared.

5)Be prepared to be somewhat selfish. You have to be flexible enough to move around the country and maybe even the world as you start out. So you may very well lose your girlfriend, have to move away from your friends and family, etc. You have to do what's best for your career, at least the first few years.

Good luck to you, whatever you decide.
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Old 09-26-2009, 08:53 AM   #9  
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Originally Posted by Mustang87 View Post
I'm beginning to wonder if there are any pilots on these boards that actually enjoy their career.
Mustang, I love my job. Compared to my 15 year career in Fortune 500 middle/senior management and consulting positions it's the best job I've ever had. The career "rules" in aviation are different, but you are no more at risk in a professional pilot position than you are in corporate America.

But I do feel lonely out here on APC sometimes.
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Old 09-26-2009, 09:29 AM   #10  
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Originally Posted by wrxpilot View Post

2)Get a degree in something useful. Like rikair7777 said, your indulgence is pilot training. When (not if) aviation falls on hard times during your career, you NEED to have a degree in something useful that is outside of aviation. The majors rikair listed are good ones, I'd also include nursing or some other health care degree in that list.

Or just get married to someone who is a nurse practitioner
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