Jump to content

B.S really worth it?


Recommended Posts

I've got a few years before my enlistment is up and I can start flight school up at FRH in Loveland, CO. I've been trying to come up with ways I can make myself more marketable to the industry by taking classes using tuition assistance though Embry-Riddle. I guess the question is, would earning a degree in professional aeronautics be worth the trouble? How much weight does this hold in the industry?

 

Thanks for the insight,

 

The Ginger

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My understanding is if you want to be mr. average pilot jow shmoe, you don't need one. Most helicopter pilot jobs don't require a degree. Nor do jobs as the trainer at larger helicopter companies. The position where having a degree actually makes a difference is if you want to work within one company and work your way up over the course of 5-10+ years to becoming a chief or assistant chief pilot then a degree looks good (but even then, still not terribly necessary). However this is in my own experience and studying this same question when I was beginning flight school. Other guys/gals on this message board may have different insight, but I've never seen any openings of jobs that really really required it. Then again, if you show up for an interview with 2000 hours and the other guy inerviewing also has 2000 hours and the only difference between the two of you is that you have a degree? That may be enough to tip the scales, but that's speculation on my part.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would look at college as a back-up plan. Get a degree in something outside of aviation (something that could lead to a good job if flying doesn't work out), unless you want to be an aeronautical engineer, or something?

 

This. I'm pursuing a degree on my downtime that has nothing to do with flying. I could maybe get a management job in an aviation company with it, but I mainly got it just to say I have it.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As Eagle5 said, get a degree in something outside of aviation as a back-up plan. Yes, college can be a pain (I know - I have two college degrees). However, aviation has many risks (losing your medical, for example). You always want to have at least one, and better yet several, back-up plans, both in flying and in life. If you're on a X-C flight and your destination gets weathered in, where are you going to go? If you're a professional pilot and you lose your medical, or get a violation from the FAA and your license is suspended/revoked, how are you going to pay the bills and put food on the table.

 

I'm not saying don't pursue aviation (plan to attend FRH myself in the year future), just have a plan (both primary and alternate) for what you want to do and how you are going to do it. A Bachelor's degree is always a good thing to have, even if you don't think you'll use/need it. You never know when your situation changes and you do need it (or it puts you ahead of someone else in the hiring because you have it).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This. I'm pursuing a degree on my downtime that has nothing to do with flying. I could maybe get a management job in an aviation company with it, but I mainly got it just to say I have it.

 

Exactly. I can't fly for another couple of years because of my military requirements... Maybe if someone had a flight school down this way that was covered %100... >.<

 

@ ADRidge... Yeah... I thought about it... I'm a network engineer and have received a LOT of job offers to do it on the civilian side... and it's probably a bad switch... but after your first few blackhawk, kiowa, Bell 214ST's... it's a hell of a bug to bite you :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just remember, there are a lot more jobs for peope with Bachelor's degrees out there than there are jobs for helicopter pilots. A job gives you money and money buys you opportunities. If you can't fly for a couple of years (and once you start flying, you want to fly regularly and consistently), why not knock out some kind of degree. Gives you more options and opportunities. Just my two cents. ;)

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

As Eagle5 said, get a degree in something outside of aviation as a back-up plan. Yes, college can be a pain (I know - I have two college degrees). However, aviation has many risks (losing your medical, for example). You always want to have at least one, and better yet several, back-up plans, both in flying and in life. If you're on a X-C flight and your destination gets weathered in, where are you going to go? If you're a professional pilot and you lose your medical, or get a violation from the FAA and your license is suspended/revoked, how are you going to pay the bills and put food on the table.

 

I'm not saying don't pursue aviation (plan to attend FRH myself in the year future), just have a plan (both primary and alternate) for what you want to do and how you are going to do it. A Bachelor's degree is always a good thing to have, even if you don't think you'll use/need it. You never know when your situation changes and you do need it (or it puts you ahead of someone else in the hiring because you have it).

 

Thanks for the gesture. I've got a career set up as a network engineer... I know I know... I kick myself for walking away from a 80K+ job starting... But I talk to a lot of guys who had passions like that and wish they would have followed it.

 

I hear what you guys are saying, but I was looking for advice on how to make myself more marketable towards operators. I know that safe/successful hours play into it. I want to put myself into the chief pilot slot for a company/operator.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

An 80k job could really help during those struggling CFI years, plus its probably easier to switch from that to full time flying one day once you build up your hours, than to go the other way if you cannot find work as a CFI?

 

I'm not trying to talk you out of this, I'm just envious of the choice you have!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hear what you guys are saying, but I was looking for advice on how to make myself more marketable towards operators. I know that safe/successful hours play into it. I want to put myself into the chief pilot slot for a company/operator.

 

I haven’t worked everywhere, but for a pilots gig, a degree (in anything) doesn’t provide any real advantage. HOWEVER, for your own personal growth and future prospects beyond flying, it’s monumental…. In short, pilot jobs don’t last forever, degrees do….

 

What operators look for is what they see every day. It’s no secret. PIC time is numero-uno but beyond that, it’s judgment, attitude, skill and knowledge…. Plus experience in a wide variety of machines conducting a wide variety of missions…. Fresh breath helps too…..

 

Lastly, Chief Pilot slot????? Maybe after some time in the business you may reconsider this goal… Or not….

Edited by Spike
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would say a degree will set you apart once you have your time built up decently and are starting to look for more of a career position or getting into management. Unless you got something in Meteorology or something wild like that. But with the GI Bill, you have a tremendous opportunity to probably knock it all out at the same time right?

 

In the beginning, your hours, ratings and relevant experience are #1. It will never hurt you to have one, but it may NOT make any difference more than it does. Although I don't have a lot of experience in the civilian helo market my flying is all government oriented. I have a HS diploma and a few college courses. I cant really see where getting my degree would do much for me. I will probably finish up my AA, but thats about it unless I see I need one for job X down the road.

For me, getting a degree would be for a fall back in case one day I walk out of the Dr's office WITHOUT a medical! One of our pilots was living the dream, went in one day for his medical and walked out no longer a pilot. He was still a cop, but his flying days were over. For him though, he was over 25yrs of service so he decided to just retire. But if that happened to someone like me in their mid-30s I could find myself out of two jobs, flying and law enforcement if something like that happened. That would suck hard!

 

I was recently hired part time by a local operator. The "interview" was standing in the hangar next to the helicopters just BS'ing about life, families, politics, local issues and common friends we knew and areas I had flown in around his operating areas. He was more concerned about whether he could carry on a conversation with me more than anything. After working a couple jobs with him, I can see why. Sitting and starring at a guy you don't like would make for a long day.

 

So what the heck am I trying to say? If you can get your degree, yes, definitely get it. If your strapped for cash and have to decide one or the other and you've already decided that you ARE going to fly, put that money towards your CFII and start getting started on your career. For me, I had so much cash wrapped up on my ratings, paying for a degree too just wasnt an option would have ended in divorce! :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A college degree may or may not help you get a job flying helicopters. However, over the years my college degree (Business) got me several interviews and several jobs. Plus it allowed me opportunities that I wouldn't have had within those companies if I did not have a degree. As helicopters get more and more complicated, I believe that you will see employers to give preference to college degree holders. Not so much for what their degree is in, but that they show they are trainable. Seeing what is coming out of high school these days, i really can't blame them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that the youngsters with the least amount of debt load are going to be the ones with the most advantage going forward from here. I would suggest that if you think you really need to get a degree, by all means do. Get it in something other than "Aviation Management " from Riddle or any of the other "Aviation Colleges" Go to a good State College or do it on line. Look for price and what your costs are really going to be! Now having an A+P would be of benefit and that is the one thing I regret not doing, while I had a lot of down time in the late 1970's.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Go for the degree and if your hearts set on an aviation degree you might want to consider a degree in "Human Factors in Aviation", since it opens far more doors than most other aviation degrees other than engineering, plus depending on your field of expertise, you'll still have the opportunity to fly...

 

Human factors involves gathering information about human abilities, limitations, and other characteristics and applying it to tools, machines, systems, tasks, jobs, and environments to produce safe, comfortable, and effective human use. In aviation, human factors is dedicated to better understanding how humans can most safely and efficiently be integrated with the technology. That understanding is then translated into design, training, policies, or procedures to help humans perform better.

 

Because improving human performance can help the industry reduce the commercial aviation accident rate, much of the focus is on designing human-airplane interfaces and developing procedures for both flight crews and maintenance technicians. Manufacturers also continue to examine human performance throughout the aircraft to improve usability, maintainability, reliability, and comfort. In addition, human factors specialists participate in analyzing operational safety and developing methods and tools to help operators better manage human error. These responsibilities require the specialists to work closely with engineers, safety experts, test and training pilots, mechanics, and cabin crews to properly integrate human factors into the design of all aircraft. Their areas of responsibility include addressing human factors in,

  • Flight deck design.
  • Design for maintainability and in-service support.
  • Error management.
  • Passenger cabin design.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Marketability really depends on what level you're at. In entry level hours mean EVERYTHING! If your choice is say, to work as a full time cfi and get to a thousand hours in two years, or work as a part time cfi while going to college and get your thousand hours in four years, I would skip college!

 

If you have say 5000 hrs a degree MAY help you get a job over someone else? However, since you say you already have a career set up as a network engineer, I would have to say skip college, spend all your reasources on flying, and use that network engineer career to either pay the bills, or as your back up plan!

 

Since you say you want to be a chief pilot, perhaps the best way to answer your question would be to simply call a bunch of operators, ask to speak with the chief pilot, and just ask them directly if they have a college degree, and if so, did it help get them the job?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Doesn't ERAU offer a degree in aeronautical safety or something along those lines?

 

Just saying....

 

You're stuck in the military, I know the when I was in the Army, THEY paid for college courses and it didn't come out of the GI Bill. Why NOT get a degree on the Military's buck? I'm STILL kicking myself in my ass for not taking advantage of that... I could have had all my Gen Ed courses knocked out and be going for two degrees at my school and be getting dual rated (fixed/rotor).

 

Seriously, use EVERY SINGLE BIT of the benefits you have while you're in. GI Bill runs out eventually... might as well get as many classes/degrees knocked out as you can before you end up on a benefit with an expiration date, right?

 

Even if it doesn't help you get a job in the future, it sure as hell can't hurt either.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think that the youngsters with the least amount of debt load are going to be the ones with the most advantage going forward from here. I would suggest that if you think you really need to get a degree, by all means do. Get it in something other than "Aviation Management " from Riddle or any of the other "Aviation Colleges" Go to a good State College or do it on line. Look for price and what your costs are really going to be! Now having an A+P would be of benefit and that is the one thing I regret not doing, while I had a lot of down time in the late 1970's.

 

I'm actually double dipping on the education benefits. Tuition Assistance is being provided at $750 per semester hour just because I'm on active duty. This doesn't even come out of my post 9/11 GI bill which will be used to pay %100 of my FAA minimums when I do get out. :D Now if I can find a good instructor that will work with me on how to not fly sloppy >.<

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've come to the realization that some of you guys don't understand that he WON'T BE PAYING FOR ANYTHING OUT OF POCKET.

 

So for any of you that read the first post, and then the last, don't sit there and tell him it's worthless and that he should put the money towards hours, because 1) it ISN'T worthless and 2) the MILITARY is going to pay for it, which means he's slightly limited to what he can do.

 

It may or may not help him land a flight job, but the truth is, it doesn't matter. Knowledge is power.

 

Besides, I've heard of people getting hired outside what their degree covers simply because it shows that the person has the ability to learn and is trainable to that company's standards.

 

@Ginger: How to not fly sloppy: Practice and remain relaxed. From what I've seen in my short time flying, the more tense you are, the worse you're going to fly... especially when you're still learning.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

I've come to the realization that some of you guys don't understand that he WON'T BE PAYING FOR ANYTHING OUT OF POCKET.

 

 

No we do understand that he can get a degree in ANYTHING ELSE or a tech cert and be better off.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe, maybe not. The degree he gets doesn't really matter to me. The only thing I was trying to clear up was the fact that he won't be paying out of pocket. If it came off as rude, I apologize, that was not my intention. I was merely trying to get the point across to the posters and anyone else who came across the thread and just skimmed it (big letters catch attentions) trying to tell him to "take that money and put it towards flight hours" or to not bother because it's a waste of money.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm actually double dipping on the education benefits. Tuition Assistance is being provided at $750 per semester hour just because I'm on active duty. This doesn't even come out of my post 9/11 GI bill which will be used to pay %100 of my FAA minimums when I do get out. :D Now if I can find a good instructor that will work with me on how to not fly sloppy >.<

 

No he isn't.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, it is worth it when it is free. I am in your same situation and I am using my TA to complete my CCAF degree. I will then transfer my credits towards a BS degree, which I must be enrolled in to get the 100% coverage from the VA. I am in my last class for the CCAF degree, and plan on working on the additional requirements for the BS degree. I would like to be set to focus more on flight training and less on math, English, ect. once I get to start flying.

 

If you don't use it, it is the same as throwing $4,500 a year out the window. My goal is to try to run out of TA every year until I get out or retire. I kick myself for not using it earlier in my career.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...