Have a degree, mixed on joke/not a joke. I got a degree in Computer Science. Ever since I was a child I have always felt a "tug" towards aviation. So even during college I was flying on the side and working. I won't say that I paid 100%, but I did work for a good part of it. It was not an online degree or anything like that. I did have parents who helped me tremendously though and without their help I don't know if I would have made it. I studied hard, did everything I could to do well, yet I still only passed with a 2.9.
I learned a lot while going to college. I did some partying, a lot of studying, and "grew up" the most during those years. When I graduated it was the time when everyone was outsourcing to India and so every entry level position wanted 3-5 years experience but I couldn't get it due to I was fresh out of college, typical catch 22. I have not worked in the Computer field at all and even if I wanted to try again (which I don't), I would have to go back to school to get caught up (hence my indecisiveness on Joke/Not Joke).
Now that being said, I think that a college degree, or even some college time, is worth it. Not just for the check-mark but because of how much you grow as a person in that time. It took me a while after college (I'm only 29) to look back and see how much I had changed over the years but a HUGE part was due to my time at the university. I see some of my friends from HS and see a huge difference in who they are and who I am (No I'm not saying I think I'm better, just different).
Does having a college degree automatically mean that you are a professional?? Thats a big H*** no. Are there people out there without any college degree whom I would consider a Professional? Without a doubt. But I think that if you looked collectively, there are more "Professionals" that have a degree than without, at least this has been my experience.
With this new whole 1500 hour rule coming into play (I know, other forum) let me just say that I think that that is not an unfair rule (and I currently only have 1100TT). I had finished up my training in July of '08 and had just missed "the hiring boom." At the time, I would have been one of those wet commercial pilots flying an RJ had I been given the chance. I didn't want to instruct. I think that a lot of instructors are that way. For those instructors out there, I think you'll agree, that I have learned SO MUCH during this time that i have been teaching. Am I glad that I was "forced" to teach? Absolutely, without a doubt, and I am glad that it has worked out this way.
Part of the definition of a Professional (FOI stuff) is one who is always learning to better himself. So if people have to teach just so that they can get their 1500 hours and move on, so what?? I don't care. You learn a lot having these kids trying to kill you on a daily basis. Teaching aerodynamics, wx, radio (and radio courtesy/etiquette), and everything else that is involved over and over again might suck, but you gain such an understanding that it is invaluable.
Now I am ready to move on and gain experience on other aircraft besides Cessnas and Light Twins. Maybe 1500 is a "smidge" high for TT Requirements. I definitely believe that 250 TT is too low. Maybe more appropriate would be 1000TT. But in the grand scheme of things, you can't have too much experience in this industry and 1000 or 1500 TT is not unreasonable.
I'm sorry for the long post/rant. These are obviously just my humble opinions and I wanted to give a little bit of a background on me. This post will be posted on both threads, "Poll: College degree
" and "House votes today on 1500hr rule WITH college loophole
" as I think that this post qualifies for both so I apologize if you read it twice.