Associates vs Bachelors program

Before I begin, I realize this may be an ATP sponsored forum, but I have decided for my circumstances ATP does not make sense. Thank you

I have been looking at different pathways to get my degree and flight training done. I have narrowed it down to a couple of options. All of the options include an aviation degree. I am currently a senior in high school and I will just be turning 17 by the time I graduate (graduating a year early). My goal is to be at the airlines when I am 21.

My first choice is a community college offering an associates degree in aviation and it is very affordable. I would finish the program in 2 years with all my ratings. After completing the program I will have two years until I am able to get a job at a regional and that will leave me plenty of time to instruct. This path seems to be perfect with the exception of it not offering a 4 year degree. So, I would have to transfer to UVU online to finish my degree. But, I don’t know if I want to be working on my degree when I am at the airlines and/or instructing.

The two other schools I am considering offer four year aviation degrees. The benefit to each is they offer me a bachelor’s degree which I will need for the majors. Yet, they are both about twice the cost as the 2 year degree option. They will each take 4 years plus 1 year of instructing to get to the airlines. Putting me at 22 years old, year 2024. This is a year longer than the 2 year degree plan. It may seem like just a year, but from looking at all the majors retirement numbers I want to get the most out of the hiring boom.

Thanks for your help

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While you’re only 17 these are grownup decisions that are best made by you and your parents. That said here’s my thoughts. If you’re going to go to college it’s best to simply put your head down and get that 4yr degree. While many pilots do pursue and earn their 4yr degree’s while working for an airline, many find it very challenging and some never do. They end up missing the optimum time to move on and then are chasing it later. Also if you earn a 4yr aviation degree vs a 2yr you could possibly save 250hrs for your R-ATP so you may be looking at less than a year to build the time. It also gives you a extra year of maturity. While the Regionals can and do hire at the min age of 21, they’d rather get you at 22 with a 4yr degree.

Both you plans sound solid I just always like to offer the advice to at least minor in something other than aviation. By getting a degree in aviation you’re essentially putting all your eggs in one basket. If for some reason flying doesn’t work out (your choice or other factors) there’s not much you can do with an aviation degree. You can be a pilot with an accounting degree but you can’t be an accountant with an aviation degree.