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COLLEGE DEGREE'S - Valuable for helicopter pilots?

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I have a degree. Never asked a pilot if he has a degree. First thing I ask them is how many hours and what ratings they have. I jump in a cab or an Uber and I ask them where they are from and how long have they worked. If the pilot or driver has a degree he will usually tell you that.

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I can only relate the story of a very young married couple who approached me in the days following our local "aviation day" event. I could tell that the young lady specifically was jazzed with the idea of becoming a helicopter pilot. She was specifically interested whether she should continue on to complete her college degree in education or business, or if she should simply borrow money to complete her fixed wing and helicopter ratings in hopes of securing a paid position as a helicopter pilot.

 

I shared that having had both a professional career with college degree(s) as well as having had my own businesses, that if ultimately she wanted to be both a pilot as well as eventually own her own aircraft she would be smart to complete her college degree.

 

Once she understood that in aviation, especially if you want to be an owner, is about having discretionary cash available, and when she understood that even having become a helicopter pilot professionally, it would only take one health event to potentially cost her the medical certificate and career, having a back up plan for a back up profession, vocational or professional, is a very smart idea.

 

Just my thin nickel...for what little it still buys you downtown

Edited by Rich1
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I didn't read through the entire thread but did take the survey. In the utility and fire industry having a college degree isn't going to help your chances for advancement. Maybe having a degree could serve as a "backup plan" but so could many other skills. Some of the most intelligent managers I've worked for in the industry never went to college.

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I have an MPA...I wish I had spent that money on a vertical reference course instead. It would have been a better use of those funds. Unless you aspire to leave the flight deck and pursue a management position, I think it’s a poor use of money and time. I see the majority of helicopter flying as more of a trade...and flying 767s as more of a profession.

 

Besides, with all of these rotor transition programs offered by the regionals sucking up military pilots and the end of the GI Bill for helicopter training, the helicopter industry is gonna be in a serious world of hurt. If anything, the requirements will only get lower. Requiring a four-year degree would be suicide for a helicopter operator.

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