Career Advice for a 24yr old

Hello, my name is Henry. I am a 24 years old with a Bachelors of Science degree in Criminal Justice and currently live in New York City.

I am in the process of joining the NYPD police academy but that’s honestly not what I want to do with my life. I pursued this career path because an uncle of mine is a detective and I model his life as an example of how I want to be in the future, comfortable. Also, I’m going through the process because I want to be stable, have a higher income, and move out of my mothers house.

I currently want to get into the world of aviation because of my girlfriend. She, who just so happen to go to Aviation High School in Queens, has exposed me to the world of a aviation. I had ZERO knowledge about piloting. As ignorant as it may sound, I thought to become a pilot you had to go into the AirForce. I now know that you can acquire the licenses you need at a flight school.

Since first meeting her I have become heavily interested in becoming a pilot. I have done research, spoken to real pilots through Instagram, spoke to a CFI here in Brooklyn, checked out this very website, watched videos on pilots taking about their lives and more.

I dream to live an amazing lifestyle while being able to provide. Being a city boy from a low income neighborhood, I have never been exposed to the world of aviation, but since being exposed, I have not thought about anything else since. It amazes me how big and fascinating this world really is.

Now, my questions here would be:
1: Should I still pursue a career in the NYPD and get my licenses on the side in order to pay for flight school?
2: Should I go full time into flight school and have a regular job on the side?

I am scheduled to take a introductory flight in a few days and plan to discover if this is actually want I really want to do for the rest of my life.



Nobody can tell you exactly what to do, you, and only YOU, have to decide what’s best for you and your future.

That being said, I myself have degrees in Criminal Justice & Psychology, and spent 6 years in Law Enforcement (partially, also due to family influence.) After doing so, I was rather miserable and knew I wanted to get out of the field. I initially found a great position in private sector Security, and did that for about 5 years. Through a set of circumstances and chance, my position was eliminated shortly before Christmas (2018), and I quickly found myself unemployed altogether.

I had been working on my PPL for fun at the time, and it only took me about 3 weeks of sitting home twiddling my thumbs to realize I didn’t want to go back to what I was doing, and wanted to pursue an aviation career.

Long story short, take that intro flight, and do it sooner, rather than later. After doing so if you decide you really enjoy it to the point that is all you want to do, by all means I’d say put your heart and soul into it, and proceed full steam ahead.

Friends/family keep asking if I miss my previous position, which had a decent Mon.-Fri. 9-5 type of schedule, and excellent pay and benefits. My short, simple answer is, not at all; life’s too short to be miserable and not enjoy your career. If you are passionate about aviation and truly enjoy it, I would say follow your dreams and do what’s best for you.



I would love to give you a straight answer. This is something that you need to figure out on your own. First, you need to decide if you’re really serious about becoming a pilot, or maybe you’re still feeling it out.

If you know for a fact that this is what you want to do then why wait? Commit to it full-time. That’s your best shot at getting to the airlines as quick as you can. Most pilots train full-time. Those that can’t, wish they could. Training part-time comes with its own set of unknown variables and can get drawn out more than planned. Something to keep in mind.

If you want to start off slow and get your PPL, that’s certainly a good option if that’s what’s best for you right now. That’s what I did. All I’ll say to that though is if you’re going to do that make sure you do thorough research and have a solid plan. If you just walk into the first school you find and then let the school take the reins, you could end up spending more or never finish. This doesn’t always happen, but it can and has happened to the majority.

There’s a lot of good info on this forum. I’d start in the FAQ section and go from there.


1 Like


I’ll get straight to your questions but first your title is misleading. You’re not looking at a career switch as you currently don’t have one which to me makes the decision much easier.

  1. If you want to be a cop, be a cop. If you want to be a pilot you should be a pilot. Yes it’s really that simple. If you join the NYPD with the goal of being a pilot I can guarantee you you’ll waste at least a year or 2 of your life not to mention a TON of money. You live in Brooklyn right. There is ZERO flight instruction within the 5 boros. That means Long Island, Westchester or Jersey which means 1.5hr minimum drive each way to fly once or twice a week and that’s when the plane is available, the instructor is available, the weather cooperates and the traffic on the Belt, BQE, and the bridges permit you to get there. Trust me it won’t work.

  2. If you’re training full time you won’t have time to work.


1 Like

Thank you for sharing your experience and words of encouragement.

Thank you for sharing your experience and words of encouragement. I will go full time with my flight training if I decide to go ahead with this career.

1 Like

Thank you Adam for the straight forwardness.


At 24 I would hardly call you a “career switcher”, that is usually a term reserved for people making the change much later in life. I will also give some general advice that joining the police department, when you don’t want to actually do it, sounds like an awful idea and one that will end up with you not being happy in life.

Most people chose to finance their flight training. All of the mentors on here did. Financing your training allows you to attend a fast paced program that will help get you to the airlines quickly. Most fast paced flight schools prohibit their students from working while in their programs, this includes ATP. Learning to fly is a very complex thing that requires a lot of time and dedication, I would strongly encourage you to be a full time student.

But first, take that introductory flight and see how you really like it.


Thank you for taking the time out to give me advice, I greatly appreciate it.

I appreciate the correction lol. I’m going to change the topic.