Airline Career Path Risks

To anyone who is a pilot and can answer this for me it would be appreciated. What are the risks involved if I attend a 4 year university and get my bachelor degree that is integrated with flight training through that university at the same time? The college I’m looking at offers a B.S. in Proffesional Pilot and has flight training with that degree and they have you regional airline ready and are partnered with many regional airlines.

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Let me be clear in that I think that going to an aviation college can be a good thing, there are just a few potential issues that come to mind:

  1. Lack of a backup plan. If your degree is in something like “aeronautical science” that really doesn’t leave you any backup skills if something happens to your ability to fly or to the industry in general. I have a business degree and while it is rather old at this point it still gives me a different set of knowledge and skills should I ever need to leave aviation for some reason.

  2. Cost. Some of these aviation colleges can cost A LOT of money. Make sure to read their fine print fully and find out exactly what you will pay if going through their program, plus how far will their program take you? Will you have your multi engine instructor certificate? How much multi engine time will you have when you graduate?

  3. CFI. Do they guarantee you a job as CFI? How much flight time per month do their instructors get? How much are they paid?

Find out the answers to those questions and it will help you make a better informed decision.




  1. You have to do aeronautical Science for the flight school. So that would be a negative.
  2. They are very reasonable on cost, flight school is 60,000 about and 50,000 for the degree. They take you all the way to ATP certificate
  3. You instruct other students as a CFI and it is a guaranteed job. Not sure on the hours or pay.

Thank you Chris for helping me to make a better decision about my career.

How can they take you all the way to ATP? Certainly that doesn’t happen in the four years you are a student as that requires 1,000 flight hours.

My apologies Chris. They are FAA approved for the R-ATP


What I think Chris is asking (I’m curious too) is how if it takes 2 years to get your licenses and ratings, how can you build the required 1000hrs in the remaining 2 years while still in school?


Even at that, I still don’t see how they are going to get you that amount of flight time while in college. Is that checkride taken after your university program is over and you have instructed for awhile?

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Adam, flight school is integrated with your degree at this school. You instruct your last two years. That’s 500 hours in 9 months. 500/9 equals 55 hours a month.

Chris, flight school is integrated with your degree at this school. You instruct your last two years. That’s 500 hours in 9 months. 500/9 equals 55 hours a month. Checkride is after college.

Chris, this link will help explain what I’m saying.

Chris this link helps explain myself.

Adam this link helps explain myself


Looks like a legit program. I do not however see any reference to earning your 1000 hrs prior to graduations, them guaranteeing an instructor position, nor any reference at all to getting you ATP (which has a host of requirements incl Level D sim which the school doesn’t list they have)? Not trying to shoot them down, these are just questions I’d like answered.

I would be interested in becoming an astronaut which they say you can do!


Adam, I have emailed the school and asked them questions about the instructor position. As an instructor you teach other students at the university. It says on the page that ATP is offered at the university.

I get that you teach other students, what I don’t get is how you’re going to build 55 hrs a month teaching part-time at a school with a single location. Again, not challenging, I’m asking?


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Adam, I’m not entirely sure myself how they have this all set out. Their website says they offer the R-ATP at the university during the program. As far as getting flight time built up I’m not sure. Something I should check into

The R-ATP hour requirements would be cut down to 1000 for you since you’d graduate from an FAA approved flight program. Now for meeting those 1000 hours, I’m almost certain that it is not planned to happen within your 4 years there. At Embry Riddle Aeronautical University (Probably the most popular and expensive Flight University in the county), the plan is for you to graduate with an FAA approved degree which enables you to only need 1000 hours after graduation rather then the 1500 if you graduate without an FAA approved degree. This is the part where the CFI job comes in. It’s imperative that you know for sure whether or not the CFI job at University of Central Missouri (or any other universities you have in mind) is guaranteed because this is how you’ll earn those 1000 hours after the 4 years. So now you have a choice between two options.

  1. Go to a normal University and earn a “backup” degree, then attend a fast track program like ATP’s airline career pilot program. Even though going this route you’ll have 1500 hours required, you’ll have a guaranteed CFI job and be paid pretty well to build up those hours.

  2. Get an FAA approved degree and after completing that degree in 4 years, you get your hours cut down to 1000. After that you apply for a CFI job with all other members of your graduating class that you may or may not get. At Universities that I’ve seen so far the CFI is not guaranteed so that can basically counteract the 500 hours that you got cut down because if you don’t get the CFI job it can take a much longer time to build up those 1000 compared to the 1500 with a guaranteed CFI job.

You are not going to to graduate college anywhere with all the hour requirements, that is to be built up after graduation. Personally, I’d go with a normal degree and then ATP, so in that way I have a backup plan and a guaranteed CFI job. It’s the safer choice in my opinion and you never know when you might get laid off as a pilot.

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Please keep in mind all of the above (mine included) are opinions and ultimately YOU must decide what’s best for you. I know many pilot’s who’ve gotten their aviation degrees and are happy they did. Just make sure you get your questions answered first.


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Thank you Mrunal for helping clear up some confusion. After further research, it appears that after college you flight instruct at the regional airline the college is partnered with. Not 100 on that still finding answers. Thank you for your time.

Thanks Adam