For what it's worth.

AV8OR

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I've been reading this board for probably three years now and it has been very helpful, encouraging, and fun. I have gotten great advice about my career. With that in mind I'd just like to give a little unsolicited out for those up and coming airline pilots.

If you don't have a 4 year degree, take this time of marginal hiring, do whatever you need to do, and GET IT ASAP. I'm 35, left college after two years to fly and have been flying for fifteen years. I have about 5000TT, two jet types, a FEX ticket and fortunately flying for a pretty big airline on the 727, but.....

when Emery Airlines folded, with hardly a twitch from the FAA or ALPA, I made a decision, quit taking my sweet a$$ time on the ERAU degree and get it done, now. With that in mind, my wife and I decided to postpone building our new house, I'm backing away from most charity work I've been involved with, for the next year, and I'm boiling my life down to three things, my family, flying my trips and a full course load.

The only reason I'm posting this is, hopefully all you guys and girls are smarter than me and are not flying instead of getting the degree, but, just in case there's someone out there who thinks flight time and experience might make up for the lack of degree, you are wrong. We just finished the greatest hiring boom in forty years and, for the most part, the degree requirement held. I have had countless, and I mean countless, people younger and less experienced get hired at airlines that I couldn't even get an interview at. I am not bitter, those are the rules and we all have to play by em.

Anyway, if you know you want to, think you might want to, or think you might need to ever work for a major airline in your lifetime, do yourself a favor, get the degree now. As for me, see yall in a year, I'll be busy studying!

Take care.

Tom
 

avbug

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I'll second that. I started flying in high school and doing it for a living as soon as I graduated...and never went to school. I don't know that I'd quit flying full time to go back to school (it's a personal thing), but I'm doing the distance thing with ERAU, slowly but surely.

To be honest, looking back, I think I missed out not going to college, as I didn't have a "youth." However, better late than never, and there's always mid-life crisis to make up for it.

Not only has the requirement for a degree not been relaxed, but many segments of the industry that didn't formerly require a degree will expect it as a matter of competitiveness, today.
 

402driver

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Great Idea!

AV8OR,

Thanks for the good insight. I too am working on an ERAU degree via the DDLC. And, shamefully, I am taking my SWEET A$$ TIME. I want to dedicate more of my time to school, but I am flying 5-6 days a week (14 hour days are standard issue). I just don't have the energy!

What I am afraid of is this: I'll take a time-out from flying to go back to school, and while I'm studying, my flying skills will go out the window! I have worked so hard to become a good pilot, I would hate to throw all of my hard work away and start from scratch again. Isn't this something to be worried about?

I don't know, maybe flying is like riding a bike. Any words of wisdom?

Mahalo Nui Loa!:cool:
 

bobbysamd

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Get the degree

Excellent posts. I've gathered that before last year the majors relaxed somewhat the four-year degree requirement and that has lulled people into believing the majors don't care that much about it. Don't believe it. You need a degree to get somewhere in this business, i.e. the majors. You need a degree in something, and from an accredited college.

I'd advise younger people to earn their degrees before they start flying or during that time, if they can hack the workload. It is hard to go back to school after being out for years. Take it from someone who knows. Finish your education and get that major requirement out of the way. Then, there will be all the time you need for the fun of flying without that degree hanging over your head.

Of course, you can go to a college that has a flight program. My experience with those has been that you don't always finish in four years, primarily because flight courses are jammed and it's hard to get in them. I had plenty of students at Riddle who had finished classes and who walked at graduation, but hung around another year to finish flying. Still, it is something to consider.

Good luck with school.
 
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AV8OR

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402,

Here's my adivice for what it's worth. First, are you off during the day? If so even if you take just three hour a day, that's still 15 hours of study in a five day week. Get a laptop if you don't have one. Older models with a 60 day warranty you can get for as little as $500-$700 dollars and new models for not much more than that. You've got to be mobile, period. If you are flying a job that allows you to bid reserve and you can make enough doing it, do, and work the degree. If you are young enough, and without a family, live at home. Fly and study, design a plan with an end date, present your plan to the parents, so they know up front you're not gonna live there forever, and enlist their support, (financial, emotional, whatever they'll contribute). Last, don't know about your particular school, but throught the ERAU program you can nock it out as fast as you can handle it. Here is a true statement. I promise. Early on in your career, it seems like flight time is impossible to build and it is. But if you'll just keep a steady pace and always work for break it'll come. I assure you at some point you'll find yourself in a job that will fly your everlovin A$$ off in, turbine or jet equipment, and then once the " cool, I'm a jet pilot"mystique wears off you'll start thinking "ok now what are my options?" and you'll find that unless an absolute miracle happens, you really have none that are better than where you are. Which is fine if that's really where you want to be for say, twenty-five years. And there you are.

Most of us at anytime in our career can't imagine working at one job for twenty-five years, so when you find yourself in that position where you're pretty much done with the job hunt, I'd suggest it be on your terms, and at a place that will provide benefits that adapt and cahnge with your proirities as they do, i.e., "I know I'm not makin' much money while I'm on probation, but man this 757 is awsome and next year my pay will double." to "You know what's great about this 777? I can get my month of flying done in the smallest number of days for the most money, so I can spend the maximum amount of time with my wife and grandkids. And, man is it a slick ride!"

Anyway, there ya go. Think long term, big picture. Probably worth what it cost you.

Adios my friend,

Tom
 

RichardFitzwell

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I thought an Associate Degree was enough also. I finished with the two year program and I didn't want to miss 'the wave' of hiring. I started building flight time as fast as I could without my Bachelor's Degree. I too was passed over countless times by people younger and less experienced than me. About four years ago I'd had enough and started taking classes at ERAU through their distance learning program. I finished my B.S. Degree last year in Professional Aeronautics with a Minor in Business Administration. This was just in time to get hired by my first choice airline and then get laid off.

That's O.K. The Degree has given me the chance to get a well paying job outside of aviation that I wouldn't have qualified for otherwise. Diversification is a good thing... :)

R.F.
 

bobbysamd

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Degree as Plan B

Most everyone who advocates getting the degree, including yours truly, does so from the belief that you won't amount to much in aviation without it. We also advocate getting it so you'll have a credential to put food on the table during tough times.

I just thought of another reason to get the degree that none of us want to consider. What if you lose your medical? It can happen! I honestly don't know company rules on losing a medical. How long do you have to get it back before you lose your job. Or if there are mechanisms in place to place you in another job within the company. Just the same, that degree can save you if you should lose that medical.

Just a little food for thought. G-d willing, we should all remain healthy for the rest of our days.
 
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inline

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You don't need a college degree to fly for Spirit, Skywest, Vanguard, and many other regional turbojet operators. These operators have learned through experience that having a college degree has absolutely nothing to do with a pilot's ability to fly. In fact, these operators want a return on their investment in you, without a degree they know you won't be an attractive candidate to any of the "majors". Keeps their training costs down.
 

AV8OR

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Inline,

You are exactly right. The degree really doesn't mean whole lot for ones ability to do the job safely and professionally. And, there are regionals and national airlines that don't require it. During the boom SWA even hired a bunch without it. If someone wants to hang their hat at one of these airlines, that's great. I'm just encouraging any up-and-comers to do it because they WANT to not because they HAVE to.

Tom
 

RichardFitzwell

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Good point Inline,

My buddy interviewed at World a few years ago and the topic of not having his four year degree came up. The interviewer told him, "they liked guys without the Degree because they knew they would stick around longer." I'll never forget that. He is working there today.

R.F.
 

cactus

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I have been hired at two major airlines without a college degree. Niether one was my first choice though. I spent almost ten years at a regional airline while younger and far less experienced guys were hired at the majors. My advice is that if you have the opportunity to finish your four year degree then do it.
 

skydiverdriver

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I wish someone had told me this when I was younger! Thanks for the advise guys, and I would recommend Excelsior University, as it's much cheaper than ERAU, and eaiser to deal with, from what others have told me. Good luck to all.
 

wildbill

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AV80R,
It is a smart move to get the degree. Years ago I interviewed with TWA and was qualified right up to the time they said, "If you only had a degree". That hurt so I went and got one. A lot of good it did, they went Tango Uniform in the interim. Well at least I was inspired to finish. If all else fails it makes you qualified for other things.
Good luck, study hard and best of luck to you..
 

TurboS7

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I agree with the degree also. I have about 130 credit hours but because of the mix and match I never got a degree as I would have had to spend one more year at school. I have 7 kids and 3 in college I'll never have the time to get that degree now. But I will do it one of these days, as outside of aviation without a degree you won't get anywhere. Good Luck.
 
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