New to the thread here. I am 38 years old and have been seriously contemplating a career at the airlines. I just found this forum and noticed very quickly that I am most definitely not the only 30 something year trying to make a decision. I own a small business that has treated me well financially but has it’s own set of challenges. I bought the business with the intention of making enough money to pay for all my training and could now do that.
I have one thing still holding me back and that is I do not have a college degree. In fact I was not allowed to finish high school (because of parents religious beliefs). I did get my GED and did well with that but that’s all the formal education that I have at this point.
I have my PPL and approximately 130 hours logged. Also have Instrument written test done and about half done with instrument training.
My question is, with the education that I have, what would you recommend that I do? I have thought about doing an online degree but not sure which one?
Any ideas , comments?
None of the airlines (Regional or Majors) require a degree there is however a caveat. While the Majors don’t require a degree they do most definitely prefer one and to be competitive you really do want to have one. Thing is while you’re not old, you’re not young either and definitely want to get cracking.
So, if I were you this would be my plan. First put the degree on the back burner. Get trained quickly and efficiently (yes that means ATP), build your time instructing and get hired by a Regional. THEN, once you’re flying for a Regional (getting paid and building experience) sign up for an online aviation degree with Embry Riddle, Utah Valley etc. They will give you credit for your licenses and ratings reducing the requirements, time and cost significantly. By the time you finish the online degree you’ll have also built the required mins for a Major and then you can apply and hopefully advance your career. Now keep in mind nothing is guaranteed but this is a solid plan that will put you in a position to be a competitive applicant.
Thanks for your response. That is what has been bugging me… with my age and limited timeframe I have, what is the best way to approach my situation? My work can eat up a lot time and energy so haven’t had the chance to get a degree yet . Thanks for giving me an outline of what will hopefully work!
I would recommend completing your ratings, building your flight time, getting hired at a regional airline, and then completing your degree. There are many schools out there that will give credits for pilots licenses. You will not need a degree for the regionals, but you will for the majors.
Thanks for your input! Now I just have to make the “transition” if you know what I mean🙂 A little nervous about a career change but it sounds like this is the time to do it!
Thanks a lot guys!
PS any thoughts on location Chicago area vs Nashville?
Nashville has Prince’s Hot Chicken! Best chicken on the planet so BNA gets my vote!
Other than that ATP strives to standardize all their locations so all students receive the same quality of training. Choose a location that works best for you.
But don’t forget the chicken!
The locations are all very standardized. I would pick the one that is most convenient for you and just go from there.
I think the pilot shortage is sufficient enough that they would overlook your lack of a degree. Don’t ever let the lack of a degree stop you from pursuing ANY position.
Sure it is worth applying for a major airline position without a degree, but the odds of being hired without one are extremely slim. The shortage has not really hit the majors yet. With thousands of applicants with degrees, there is almost no reason for an airline to hire somebody that does not have one.
“You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”
Think of it this way…in 3 years…you’ll still be 3 years older whatever you decide…how do you want to spend your remaining work years and time on Earth?
“You also miss 100% of the shots you take if you’re not allowed on the ice”
Hoping to get lucky really isn’t a plan for the future. The fact is the Majors aren’t experiencing a shortage like the Regionals are. They prefer a degree and until they run out of qualified pilots with degrees you’re going to be at the bottom of the list.
Correct on the Wayne Gretzky quote, but I bet he didn’t take shots from the other end of the rink, either. He took shots when he was well positioned to take them.
The better course of action here would be to apply, but to also get a college degree, as that will greatly increase the odds of the shot making it.
Thanks for everyone’s comments and opinions concerning my question about a degree. I will say that I would like to earn a bachelors degree of science in aviation someday. Liberty University has an online course that looks pretty good.
In my community there are many people who got degrees and ended up with lots of debt and never used them. As a result of listening to some of their stories I decided to start my own business instead and it has finally paid off.
However I find myself wanting to continue my education and actually enjoy challenging myself with anything that ends with a test. (Absolutely loved ground school!!) Was just wondering what the best route to a career in aviation would be and I’d say you answered it quite well! Thanks Adam and Chris for your replies. Also to everyone else who commented. You’re right on Steve! That’s my big fear if I don’t do it! I’ll just be older and I’ll wonder what if??
No problem. Let us know how else we can help you.
Remember, your degree doesn’t need to be in aviation. Consider it a fallback should you no longer fly.
Unless there is a field of study you feel passionate about, a college degree is a complete waist of time, energy and money. However, you could alway go for that Art History degree…it will certainly make you a great pilot LOL.
And you fly for which Major?
Where I’m from there are a lot of self made millionaires with nothing more than an eight grade education. I live in a community where a little ingenuity and a lot of hard work can pay off pretty well. Most of the good jobs here don’t even require a high school education. That life path is fine if that’s all you want to do, however if you want to make a living teaching or specialize in something like the medical field or fly for a major airline you should get some college. In fact you pretty much need it. I totally get what you’re saying Gerry but I have always wanted to get a degree in either engineering or aviation. Just too busy trying to get rich:confused:
Sorry wrong emoji, not confused!