My name is Alexa and I am looking for some guidance as a 24 year old who is undergoing a potential career change from medicine to aviation.
My ultimate goal for as long as I could remember was to become a physician, specifically an emergency medicine physician. I received my BSc in Biology with a minor in business, worked in neurosurgery for two years as a clinical research coordinator and now am a project manager for a nephrology study ran by the NIH. I love medicine, but I do not love the immense lifestyle constraints that come with medical school, residency, fellowship…
I practically live to travel at the moment and I would love to turn that into a career. I enjoy high pressure situations, STEM and a chaotic lifestyle. I do not plan to have kids, I never want to own a home, basically aspire to live the most unconventional lifestyle. I like a challenge and I’m not afraid of hard work, but I value my time more than anything and the ability to carve out time to hike, snowboard, backpack, etc…
I do not have any prior experience in aviation and I understand that there are very few women pilots in the industry… but that more so fuels my fire.
Overall, I’m looking for advice to see if it is reasonable to pursue this career change with no aviation experience as a woman and if anyone has a similar story. I do not know of any pilots myself so it would be great to hear from others. Thank you in advance!
Welcome to the forum, let’s address a few things you brought up.
Yes, we travel a lot. I have seen much of the world and United has paid for it. Keep in mind though that there will be several years of overnights that are maybe not so exciting as Paris, London, etc. There will be many, many twelve hour nights in places like Buffalo, Grand Rapids, Norfolk, etc. Eventually, you will probably make it to an international position, but there are no guarantees. I would recommend getting into this job if you love flying itself, not just traveling,
No experience is required, at some point everybody has to have a first flight. Along those lines, you really should book a discovery flight at a local flight school. It is one thing to think you like traveling and quite another to actually take the controls of a small airplane.
There are increasing number of women pilots all the time. Changing careers really has nothing to do with being male or female, the career is open to anybody.
My best advice is to go take that intro flight, and maybe even take a second one. Also, think about the reasons you really want to fly. Is it about flying itself, or traveling?
My story sounded similar to yours, and now I’m flying for United. I was 25 and working in the news industry and craving a different lifestyle. I took an intro flight and fell in love. I grew up with parents in the industry but wasn’t sure if it was feasible for me to pursue. I ended up flying about 17 hours before I was ready to take the leap. I quit my job 2 weeks later, enrolled in ATP and never looked back. That was 4.5 years ago.
Feel free to go to the biography section to read more if you’re interested. But long story short, go fly! Read threads on this forum, talk to airline pilots and really do your research. If you decide you’re all in, go for it. You’re still young and have plenty of time to change course.
Thank you so much for your thoughtful response! I am definitely looking into a discovery flight to move forward to see if this is a career for me.
This was such an inspiring response, I’m so glad to hear that you pursued your dreams!
I am going to be looking into discovery flights and move forward on how best to pursue this career, looking heavily into ATP.
Thank you so much!