Collegiate Aviation program versus Academy


New Member
I'm 35 have a BA and MS but looking to become a pilot. I work at a junior college that is 141 approved and I could get all my certs with tuition assistance for about $25000-30000 in a 5 semester program.

Have looked at Mesa, Pan Am, FSI but would all require I quit job, move family, and live like a pauper but would be done sooner (maybe) at a higher cost, but get training directed at joining a regional.

My thought is that either way I go I'm looking at trying to get a CFI job and pay my dues before getting on with regional. So, I should keep my job, work on licenses here at the college and then hopefully when done get a CFI job.

Suggestions? Opinions?
Assuming you did stay there and now have all of your ratings. What kind of flight time are the instructors getting at your FBO per month? Any of that multi-time?
Just an other something to ponder!
Good Luck
I'm not sure, but with our regional airport being in same city as largest army base in the world probably lots of ex-military looking for lessons. Also, have another college nearby (Texas State Technical College) that is looking for instructors so would assume if hiring in down time, when I'm done in 2 years things could be decent for CFI here. But, I don't know anything yet...just alot of interest in learning.
When the economy is doing great choose a Flight Training Academy. But when the economy goes south stick close to home with an FBO. When the airlines start hiring like they did back in 2000 they don't really care where you went for flight training.

Speaking from experience I never liked instructing at a Flight Training Academy. I went to Sierra in 1998 got all my ratings there and got hired here. Taught there for six months then got hired by a regional.

I got plenty of students at Sierra academy but it really takes a toll on you. I know of plenty of instructors who suffered from burnout and quit. Because at these Flight Training Academies you get paid less than what you would get at an FBO and they will try to work you to death. Plus all the SOP's and standardization stuff will just make you go nuts, some of SOP's contradict each other and others don't even make any sense. Then you have the Part 141 syllabus to deal with and getting all your student's stage checks approved. To do that you need to fill out a bunch of forms and get the groundschool office to copy all your students' records. It's supposed to be pretty simple. But then the groundschool office loses all your students records and you end up having to figure out who's telling the truth your student who says he took all the tests or the groundschool office who said they never received the test that your student supposedly took. You go back and forth on that for another two to three weeks then the groundschool office finally looks at the stack of papers near the shredder and finds your students tests. Then you finally get the stage check scheduled only to find out that under part 141 your student has to retake his last stage check because it has been 30 days since the last one he took. And the majority of those 30 days were spent looking for the documents needed to schedule this stage check. And the process starts all over again.

Back in 2000 most Sierra Instructors would instruct for only six months and then off to the regionals they go with just the minimums, if they did not get the job at the regionals they just go to work for some small FBO. If you stay an instructor at Sierra or any flight Academy for longer than six months you'd probably go insane.