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6 Answers

Flight Schools

Asked by: 1549 views Commercial Pilot, Student Pilot

Hi I am looking to earn my pilot's liscense. Ultimately I would like to fly float planes in the Florida/Bahamas area for turism. I took an introductory flight and the flight instructor told me that Arizona State University has an aviation program and so does a local community college. He said that most small businesses don't care about a college degree; they mostly care about you FAA cards. I then talked to the Arizona State University advisor and she told me that a four year degree is needed to do anything these days. I'm not looking to fly huge jets for Delta or the like, I'm mainly looking for employeement through smaller businesses. Which person should I believe, the university advisor or the flight instructor? Please help. Thanks

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6 Answers



  1. Wes Beard on May 25, 2013

    You don’t need a four year degree to do most things. What you need is experience and the knowledge to do the job.

    Get the FAA certificates and experience and you will do fine.

    Oh by the way, Arizona is Wildcat country!

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  2. Mark Kolber on May 25, 2013

    I’m going to disagree with Wes. I don’t have the final answer, but consider:

    • Whether you need a college degree or not depends on the job market. Unless a degree in some way over-qualifies you for something (like a job at Walmart, maybe), the bottom line is, if there are two job candidates, both with the “experience and knowledge” to do the job, but one has a degree and the other doesn’t, the one with the degree definitely has an advantage.

    • If we’re talking a small business operation, a degree may even mean more. The smaller the organization, the more hats one wears. Showing that you’re not “just a pilot” can add substantial value in the job market. Suppose i;s a business-related degree.

    •. According to a speaker in the career consulting part of the industry who spoke at a conference I attended this post spring, an aviation-specific degree makes no difference whatsoever. A degree does make a difference, but it doesn’t matter much what it is in.

    • Finally, suppose your dreams of being a sea plane pilot for a small tour operation doesn’t happen? That non-aviation degree might make the difference between a viable alternate career and, well, Walmart.

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  3. Bob Watson on May 25, 2013

    You could always ask some of the operators that you’re interested in, what’s important and/or required to work there, hypothetically speaking, perhaps. They could tell you what their minimum flight time, and licenses are to work there and what other jobs a newbie might start off doing (and for how long). That would help you refine your training and experience goals.

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  4. Sam Dawson on May 26, 2013

    I am with Mark on this one.
    Now I am not saying to go with a degree program (as he pointed out as well). You want to find quality flight training, but also look at this cost.
    As for degree, I would also agree with Mark that the type of degree matters less in aviation than having a degree- normally. The exception would be an employer looking for something specific, such as an engineering degree in flight testing; maybe a company looking for a pilot who is also an accountant. It has been written numerous times before, I would get a degree in something you both enjoy yet something that will also give you a return on investment (ROI), and be useful should you run into problems with an aviation career.

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  5. Roger Tuott on May 27, 2013

    The answers are appreciated. I have a follow up question. If I do go get a degree now I will be using 2 to 3 more years to get the degree. Also, I will be taking out more loans to finish school. This degree will be in a field that I don’t want to pursue. This takes away time and money from what I really want to do, fly. How have you guys balanced this aspect into you flight careers?

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  6. Mark Kolber on May 28, 2013

    I don’t have a flight career so I can’t comment on the balance of career and education. But:

    This degree will be in a field that I don’t want to pursue.

    If by that you mean a degree in something you would not be at all interested in pursuing if Plan #1 falls through, that’s a mistake. If you are going to pursue the degree, it should be in something you my find both interesting and ultimately useful.

    Since you’re talking about college issues, I’m assuming you are at typical high school/college age. If you’re much older than that, I think this might still be useful.

    After full time college plus 3 years of law school, with some classmates having taken time off between the two, here’s the advice one of my profs gave on the last day of class: “You may think you know exactly what you want to do with your life and career but never let that make you blind to opportunities that will come up along the way.”

    He was a wise man.

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