Real Answers from Real Pilots

Finishing college first or continue with training?

Hello, I am Manuel (US citizen), I’m 21 years old holding a foreign PPL which I already converted to a FAA license, an IR that I will have to convert to FAA and 2 years of college already completed. I’m planning on finishing my 2 last years of my bachelors degree (construction management) at a college in NY and then going to a flight school or any accelerated program that will help me get the rest of my ratings and licenses but I’m still thinking about if it’s better to continue with my flight training now and then get my bachelors or if I should finish with school first, save some more money and then finish my training. In the case of finishing my training now I’ve heard that getting a bachelors online could work. I would love to get some advice on this so I can take the best and most mature decision that will help me make it to the airlines faster.


Welcome to the forum and thank you for joining the discussion.

In your situation, I would recommend going to an accelerated flight training program now and then start building your hours to get the required 1,500 hours for the regionals. Once you are at the regionals, you should have plenty of time to work towards a degree and many colleges will give credits for your aviation training.

Check out this link: College Credit for Airline Career Pilot Students / ATP Flight School

I am curious, what country did you get your PPL in? How different was the flying there than in the US?



Your call on this one. While you can complete your degree online after your flying, many people find going back to school very challenging and don’t. If you think you’ve got the discipline then sure but if not stay in school and complete your education.


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Welcome, Manuel!

With your background, I’d say jump right into an accelerated program and finish the degree later. You may find it more difficult to pick your academic studies back up a couple years from now, but I would bet that you would also find it difficult to maintain your pilot knowledge and skills for two years if you decided to finish college now. If it were me I would tackle the degree online while at a regional.


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thanks for your advice, I will keep it in mind while I take the best decision. I started my training in El Salvador and decided to do it because is very challenging learning to fly out there, also some instruments procedures and emergencies practices feel a lot real! training zones are over lakes, rivers and are surrounded by volcanos and mountains with elevations up to 8,000 ft. DME arcs practices are very challenging because at the time of making the arc procedure you will have mountains at your left/right wing so there is no chance for mistakes, also learning to fly IFR over there is something else, situational awareness needs to be the closest to perfect, also knowing how to read the different instruments located in the panel and learn to detect which ones are failing if any is very important because if you are not focused this kind of mistakes could kill you out there. I think learning to fly under this environment with a lot of pressure knowing the risks is a great thing in someone’s career.


I really think jumping right into an accelerated program is the best for me but as I said before, I will keep your advice in mind and definitely I will make the best decision for my career. Thanks for taking the time to reply back to my topic.

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I feel capable of finishing the degree later and I know I have the determination to do it but I still feel fresh to keep finishing my degree and I know I can keep myself current and proficient with theory and flight training. thanks for taking the time to reply back, I’ve read your background and it’s very impressive how you became a pilot at 39! you’re the true definition that never is too late, way to go!!


I will be honest, that sounds far more challenging than flying in most of the US, I bet skills are top notch.

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