Career Change Idea, Discouragement from pilot and mentors

Hi all. I’m a 22 year old registered nurse that’s considering making the career change into aviation, particularly being an airline pilot. I’ve done a discovery flight through my local flight school in Socal.

I’m totally okay with the costs and rigors of accelerated programs such as ATP.

I have a bit of a mental block ever since a mainline DL FO flat out told me to stick to my current career, claiming there’s too many poorly trained airline pilots out there. That and a claim that there is no such thing as a pilot shortage, at least in mainline.

Hearing that is kinda disheartening since I wanna fly as a career, and making this kind of move would definitely burn some bridges, not to mention being a significant financial hit.

I mean with ATP i doubt most people who get to that level are poorly trained! I would go for it! If its a passion then dont let someone stop you from achieving your goal



I’m sure the mentors will weigh in shortly, as they know better than anyone on this forum the current state of things in the industry, but I am absolutely calling hogwash on this.

It seems as though the person you were talking to was either a) having a bad day, or; b) projecting his own dissatisfaction with his job (for whatever reasons that may be) onto the entire industry.

There’s never been a better time to get into the industry, and if there wasn’t a shortage, I can’t see how ATP would be placing several hundred pilots a year with various airlines.

I wouldn’t let the opinions of one unsatisfied customer discourage you. If if feels right, you enjoy flying, and are passionate about, I’d say full steam ahead!


Thanks for the input. It’s just hearing what that FO said was a bit of a gut punch to the optimism.

Changing careers is near as far from “light decision” as you can get. I just want to be sure as reasonably possible it wouldn’t come to bite me in the behind and load me with debt with limited prospects of finding work, or something like spending several years on reserve.


ATP placed over 600 pilots with the airlines in the last 12 months alone. That’s just one flight school. Sounds like a shortage to me? Not sure why but some people are just naysayers. I’m a Capt for Hawaiian Airlines which means I’ve probably be flying longer than your DA FO. While there’s no guarantee you’ll be successful they have no idea who you are or what you’re capable of.

This is by far the best time to get into this industry.



I would not let one pilot, who obviously has some work related issues dissuade you from following your dreams. There are unhappy people in every walk of life, pilots included. These people will complain about anything, you just have to tune them out.

That pilot is correct though in that there is not a shortage at the major level, but that does not mean that there are not jobs there. It just means that the majors are more selective and hire more qualified pilots than the regionals do. Make sure you are one of those and you should be good.

I am curious how changing careers would burn bridges. As long as you leave your career in a respectful way, there should not be any issues.


Less issue with leaving the field amicably, more subjecting myself to a lifetime of questioning and complaints from family who see piloting as an “wandering” career that isn’t conducive to having the wife and 2.5 kids and coming home every day after a hospital shift.


I have the some of the same concerns you have in regards to finding employment after investing so much money into the training, but I spoke with two different Captains with my carrier in the last two days about making the jump into flight training and pursuing a second career as a airline pilot. Both told me to go for it, as long as I was ready to put in the effort. Even knowing I’m 47 and will hopefully have 15 years of flying they said if it was something I wanted I would kick myself in 20 years knowing what I could have had. I know for me that even with career that will be more than half of what other will have, I can’t pass on this opportunity.



How does one make themselves stand out amongst the pack? Just curious.


Of course flight time and diversity of experience comes first, then I would say making connections, volunteering in the community (both the aviation community and the larger one) and presenting oneself well.

In reality, it is just like any other job in that it is more than simply having a degree.