Career decision help

Hello everyone, my name is Brandon, and I am currently a junior in high school trying to figure out if aviation is a career I should pursue. Currently, I’m stuck between two different career paths. One of which is software development, which I had planned to attend college for a bachelor’s of computer science. But I also have great interest in flying aircraft. But there are two things, from what I’ve read around the internet, that deter me from aviation. These are: cost of flight school, and unstable job market. Can anyone provide some insight into this?

A degree and some experience in software engineering would be a pretty solid backup to a career in aviation if you’re concerned about the volatility of the job market. The general consensus around here is that it is better to get your degree in something other than aviation as a fall back, and then begin your flight training. However these days you have some pretty unique options available, and as a junior in high school your timing couldn’t be more perfect.

A newly minted CFI from my location got a job as a flight instructor at a state university instructing students in the college’s aeronautical program. As an employee of the university, he is able to take classes at MASSIVE discount. Employee tuition benefits varies across schools, but at my college the employees and their dependents paid $0.00 in tuition. This way he is offsetting the cost of flight training by getting his bachelor’s for practically free while getting paid to do it. May take him slightly longer to graduate as he is a full time CFI, but by the time he’s 23 (min ATPL age) he’ll have accumulated thousands of hours and most likely be very close to his degree. So far this is absolutely the best use of time and money I’ve heard of to get yourself to the airlines. Only catch is you have to get your PPL and accumulate 78 hours by the time you’re 18.

Brandon,

We always recommend getting a degree in another field as a backup and software development is as good as any. Now let’s talk about flying.

Yes flight training is expensive but no more so then graduate school for many high paying careers (law, medicine, etc.). Just like any of those careers it’s an investment in your future and the fact is there aren’t that many careers where you can make $350k+. As for the job market things have literally never been better. There’s a drastic pilot shortage that’s forecast to go on for many years. While there are no guarantees, the prospect of getting hired (provided you’re successful in your training) is excellent.

With all the above in mind, you don’t mention if you have any flight experience (and no sitting in the back of a Boeing going to Disney doesn’t count). Flying is different than many other career paths as there are physical aspects to it. I’ve never heard of anyone throwing up or being terrified after a computer science class. Again flying that could be a possibility. To that end if you’re seriously considering aviation as a career you need to visit your local flight school and go up for an intro flight. If you love it great but if you don’t, well then your decision becomes much simpler.

Adam