Fall back on...wait what??


New Member
So I've heard a lot on this board about people who decided to major in something other than aviation, or in simpler terms: decided to get a back up degree to fall back on in the case of a furlough or what not.

My question is: "Has anyone here ever had to actually fall back on their plan B non-aviation major? If so, how did it go? Was the transition smooth, or did you simply find yourself inside a hole that was deeper than you thought?"

The reason I ask, is because to me, it seems that even if you did invest the time and money to get a non-aviation degree and even if by chance you did find yourself in a position in which you felt the need to fall back on something, you wouldn't have much better luck and might even have less luck trying to find a job in an environment where there are much more people competing for the same job you hope will sustain you (financially) throughout your furlough.
Happens all the time. People lose their medicals or otherwise get forced out of the cockpit for unforeseen circumstances.

The rationale is that pilot employers don't care what your degree is in; they simply use the college degree as a screening mechanism. On the other hand, your degree matters somewhat more in other career fields. Say you had an outside interest in investing. If something happens such that the flying gig is no longer possible or desirable given your individual circumstances, would it be easier to get hired at an investment firm if you have a finance or management degree, or would it be easier to get your foot in the door if you did nothing but fly and take aviation-related subjects?

So, getting a degree in another discipline keeps more doors open for you down the road, regardless of what happens with your flying career.
Believe it or not being a pilot is not the only aviation career choice.

True there, but the principle still applies. You're either on the business/managment side of aviation, in which case you'd still greatly benefit with a business degree (or MBA depending on how far you want to go). Or you're on the technical side where an engineering degree would be desirable (i.e. aerospace engineer). Or you're on the operational side such as ATC or dispatching, where like pilots your degree still doesn't matter and your livelihood is constantly on the line and you could lose your license in a heartbeat.

The only rhetorical questions I'm posing are:

Where can you work with a business degree?
Where can you work with an aviation degree?