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6 Answers

Aviation College or Flight School

Asked by: 1845 views Student Pilot

My son is studying aviation at Henderson State University.  He is there on a football scholarship.  He has to pay for his flight time, which amounts to roughly 50,000 over 4 years.  He loves flying more than football and wants to leave Henderson and go to a dedicated flight school.  He wants to be ATP pilot in the future.  What will give him the best advantage when looking for jobs?

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6 Answers



  1. Shea on Feb 27, 2013

    This is all a matter of opinion but i can toss in my two cents. I went through MTSU’s professional pilot program for pvt, inst, comm, and multi. Then went through a public flight school for CFI and MEI. Through this I learned a few differences and similarities. It does not matter too much on where the training is done, but rather who the instructor is and how they teach. A big school may require higher standards but some instructors are there for time building and little more. I have had wonderful experiences with both types of schools. I have also had less than great instructors at times.

    The big issue is employability. Almost all airlines I know of require a 4 year degree in addition to the flying licenses. Also a degree is never a bad investment for a future where a flying job is never guaranteed. I also work at an international airport and hear constant stories of furloughs and closures.

    Best of luck to you and yours. Just remember to never give up if it is trully something you want!

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  2. Mark Kolber on Feb 27, 2013

    According to folks I’ve spoken to in the aviation recruiting biz, while the majors all want that 4-year baccalaureate, there is no advantage to getting a degree from an “aviation college.”

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  3. Jim F. on Feb 27, 2013

    I went to the University of Central Missouri and got my Professional Pilot B.S. While most employers will only require a 4-year degree, I have run across many that like mine being a degree as a pilot. The down side of that is not having a fall-back should I run into a medical issue. Some people suggest getting at least a minor in something else, such as business. (Perhaps the most common combination at UCM is Pro Pilot and Aviation Management. There are many classes that overlap, cutting down on required courses, and you’re still dealing with what you love.)

    As Shea said, it really comes down to the individual instructor for quality, instead of the school. However, as most universities are part 141 certified and the smaller local flight schools are generally part 61, there are lower time requirements for some licenses when at a part 141 school. But, most people will exceed the higher part 61 requirement anyway, so that’s normally a non-issue. I have noticed that there does seem to be higher quality instructors at my smaller schools, as I have the freedom to interview and personally choose who I want. A big consideration in choosing is availability. At my university, we didn’t have that option. We were assigned and stuck with whoever. They also had at least a dozen other students, so we were stuck with a couple hours for two days a week. If you can’t fly due to weather, you can’t easily re-schedule. In retrospect, I personally would/should have done a different, non-flying major/minor, and complete my ratings and flight training at a local flight school or freelance instructor. I feel that would have given me the best overall education with the most options for employment.

    As for the cost of flight time, it’s the same at a university and a local school. My first freshman roommate actually thought the aircraft time was included in the credit-hour cost, which just isn’t the case.

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  4. Michael Washington on Feb 28, 2013

    I attended Henderson and I can say that, flight schools really dont change. The bottom line is COST, Henderson was cheaper than any other flight school at the time (early 90s) and it worked for me. I still have loans to pay back but, I’m sure if I went to any other school the I would still be paying back loans. Having a four year degree has helped me but that may change. I would say go for the flying now but get the degree in the future. You never know who is on the other side of the table looking at your resume.

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  5. Michael Washington on Feb 28, 2013

    I attended Henderson and I can say that, flight schools really dont change. The bottom line is COST, Henderson was cheaper than any other flight school at the time (early 2000s) and it worked for me. I still have loans to pay back but, I’m sure if I went to any other school the I would still be paying back loans. Having a four year degree has helped me but that may change. I would say go for the flying now but get the degree in the future. You never know who is on the other side of the table looking at your resume.

    Good Luck

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  6. kelly mckinney on Feb 28, 2013

    Thank you for your responses. They have been very helpful.

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