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College Education's Role in Aviation

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College Education's Role in Aviation

Old 06-10-2011, 06:22 PM
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Default College Education's Role in Aviation

This is just my two cents on the topic, but after reading many posts on this and other threads I can't help but state the following:
Do I have a 4 year degree? Yes. Do I feel that it has helped my aviation career? No, in terms of getting me a job, but in terms of performing my job, yes.
There are pilots out there, especially those new to the industry, who feel that a 4 year degree is going to set them apart from others in ways that will get them the job. The truth of the matter is that a degree only demonstrates to a potential employer that you have the ability to learn. It does not, however, qualify one for a job when the required hours aren't in their logbook. Aviation is an insurance driven industry. Underwriters care only about hours, and not just total hours. Time in type, multi time, night time, actual instrument time are all requirements of insurers. They want to be sure that the guy up front knows what he's doing. Does that mean that a guy with lower than required times couldnt perform the job just as well? No, but to the insurance company it does. I don't know of a single insurance company that really cares if a pilot has a degree.
Why am I writing this? I've seen so many posts (mostly from those with wet certificates) that ask "am I qualified," "should I apply," or "why haven' I heard back from...". Often these posts simply show a lack of knowledge of the industry. That is okay. That's what these forums are for. We are all here to learn from others. Reading the same questions over and over again does get a little old though.
So to the newbs and those who just haven't figured it out yet your 4 year degree from the pilot mill (like mine from the riddle) doesn't qualify you for a job for which your hours don't. So don't get a sense of entitlement, because none of us are entitled to our jobs. Your degree will show employers either within or outside of aviation that you have the ability and desire to study.
So just keep in mind that to make it in aviation you need to be personable, friendly, persistent, PATIENT, and QUALIFIED. There are no short cuts. There's no quick way to the top. And there's now way to get qualified without experience. Enjoy the hard work, low pay and interesting jobs that lead to your ultimate goal.
Don't let the delusions inspired by the pilot mills blind you to the truths and facts. Education is important and experience is king, but none of those are guarantees.
Sorry for the length. This is something that I feel many (newbs) don't understand. Enjoy!
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Old 06-10-2011, 09:40 PM
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A good college education is useful for more than helping you get a job and perform it well. It can enrich your whole life, making whatever income and leisure time you end up with even more valuable. Sure you can study art, science, history, literature, etc. on your own, but most people just don't get around to it once they start a full-time career. If you have the opportunity to obtain a comprehensive college education, don't pass it up.
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Old 06-11-2011, 03:44 PM
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A college degree demonstrates to an employer that you are willing to work hard for an extended period of time. I'm not saying that college grads are the only hard workers, but it's really tough to judge a person based on one interview, and this simply provides them with another angle to judge you by.
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Old 06-12-2011, 06:49 AM
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Also the hard truth is that a 4-year degree is what a HS Diploma used to be. Having may not mean that much, but lack of one may raise flags...

Since a degree is mandatory or very helpful on so many roads to success, white-collar employers wonder why someone would NOT get a degree. They suspect you might have some sort of anti-social or anti-authority attitude. The guy who didn't go to school cuz he thought all those classes and teachers were full of BS might not respect a company's policies and regulations either.

There are of course folks with good reasons for not getting a degree, but lack of money is not one of them...there are enough loans, grants, scholarships available so that anyone who really wants a degree can get one.

This only applies to people pursuing white-collar work (yes that includes pilots...the job is blue-collar but the people who do it are mostly all white-collar). If you want to pursue a blue-collar trade, save your time and money for vo-tech and tools of the trade.
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