Guidance for my future

Andrew101

Well-Known Member
I’m currently a high school senior, and the next couple of months are very hectic for me involving college applications and deciding on what I would like to do with my life. Ever since I was an early child, I have always dreamed into becoming a pilot, “thanks to my dad”, but I am not really sure on how and where to start. I’ve read up on various colleges that offer a flight programs with a degree, but decided its best to get a better rounded degree first, while currently looking at Computer Science as my major.
I live in California, and it seems college prices can be quite expensive, ranging from $70-100k for a four year degree, and then if I would like to go to a flight school afterward, and that can be from $40-60k extra. Is it really normal to be spending around $140k for college and flight school to become an airline pilot, or am I making a terrible mistake with my process? I’m worried that if I go to a four year college with those cost, it may handicap my future, and once I graduate I will decide to stick with a career in my degree, abandoning my dream of becoming a pilot because of the school cost.
Any insightful tips or advice on what I should do would greatly be appreciated, thank you.
 

Customx

Well-Known Member
Why don't you go to a community college for two years, then transfer to one of the UC schools? I thought all the UC schools have an agreement with community colleges which guarantees you admissions as long as you meet all the core requirements and have a decent GPA. While you're going to school, you could work part-time and save up for your ratings, and hopefully become a cfi so you can build hours and make more money flying. There's no reason to spend 100k on college, and 40-60k for training.

You're young. Don't worry about becoming a pilot asap. Enjoy college while you can. The four years I was in college gave me some of the best memories in my life thus far.
 

germb747

Well-Known Member
Go get a real degree from a 4-year school; do the FAFSA and apply for as much financial aid as you can get. Then get your flight training from a local flight school; at the end of the day you'd save a lot of money over a university flight program and you get the same certifications. Another option you might look into, if you're interested, is the military ROTC detachments. Regardless, there's no 'one size fits all' approach, it depends on your individual circumstances. Good luck in whatever you decide; I know senior year of HS can be exceptionally stressful because you're trying to figure all this stuff out. There are much smarter people here than myself, and I'm sure they'll all pitch in some good advice. Welcome!
 

ppragman

FLIPY FLAPS!
Get a job, and student loans, and get your ratings through CFI, then go to school and use your CFI'ing as beer money. That's essentially what I'm doing, cept' I'm not a CFI just a commercial pilot.
 

fish1260

Well-Known Member
Choosing a school is a bit of a catch in your situation, not knowing for sure you will pursue aviation after finishing college. If you are headed to the airlines then nobody will care where your degree came from, but if you end up working in your chosen career field, the name on that transcript may be a little more important. I would strongly consider what Customx was saying as far as CC then a UC school. Minimize costs and have University of California XYZ on your diploma.

Edit...on second thought, if you do that you miss the experience of the first two years in college when its fun, the later two are just work...
 

coa787

Unknown Member
I'm a high school senior, too. I got accepted to UND just recently and I'm going to look into the FAFSA as my primary source of money to help pay for college. I'll also try to pick up some small scholarships along the way if I can. I'm planning on doing all my flight training at UND and then I'll look for a CFI job or some commercial pilot job to help pay back the loans and also to build flight time before I move on to the airlines.

Just a quick perspective from another high school student. Welcome to JC.
 

juxtapilot

Snowflake
Just remember there are many, many, many ways to become a commercial airline pilot. There's no "right" way. Get your degree in whatever you want, and pursue flying on the side.
 

VATechPilot

Well-Known Member
Go to a good state school. Going off of what fish said, go to a cc and then transfer to a uc of xyz if you wanna minimize costs, or start off at uc of xyz to experience the fun of the first two years. Major in CS and get a job. My friend just graduated from va tech (a state school) with a cs degree and is now in Seattle making 80k for Microsoft. Then either build hours while working at a local FBO, or work for a year or two and save up for a year at a flight school. But the very cheapest way would be...CC>State school>Work while flying at an FBO.
 

fly8slep

New Member
I’m currently a high school senior, and the next couple of months are very hectic for me involving college applications and deciding on what I would like to do with my life. Ever since I was an early child, I have always dreamed into becoming a pilot, “thanks to my dad”, but I am not really sure on how and where to start. I’ve read up on various colleges that offer a flight programs with a degree, but decided its best to get a better rounded degree first, while currently looking at Computer Science as my major.
I live in California, and it seems college prices can be quite expensive, ranging from $70-100k for a four year degree, and then if I would like to go to a flight school afterward, and that can be from $40-60k extra. Is it really normal to be spending around $140k for college and flight school to become an airline pilot, or am I making a terrible mistake with my process? I’m worried that if I go to a four year college with those cost, it may handicap my future, and once I graduate I will decide to stick with a career in my degree, abandoning my dream of becoming a pilot because of the school cost.
Any insightful tips or advice on what I should do would greatly be appreciated, thank you.
If your ultimate goal is to be a pro pilot and nothing else then the quality of your school is not necessarily important and in fact it can make the challenge of choosing majors a little easier. The down side is that you will not be using your college degree for anything other than self improvement and being able to check that box for the major airlines or any aviaiton jobs that prefers college graduates.

That being said, you'd be CRAZY to spend a penny more than is necessary to get the cheapest degree. I never understood why people go to aviation colleges, maybe it's to consolidate the flight training but in the end you spend an obseceno amount of money for nothing. Just to say that you got a 4 year degree in pro piloting. Well you don't need that all, all you need is a month of easy free paid ground school and pass a checrkride to be a pro pilot.

If you're short on cash, go to a community college. The first 2 years of any degree are pretty much the same so no sense in spending 200 dollars per unit at a 4 year school vs 20 dollars per unit at a community college. Meanwhile stay at home, get a job and start saving money. At some point you will have to start flying, you'll figure out when. Anyways the main point is to SAVE as much money especially now when no one is hiring so no need to be in a rush to finish your school and ratings. Good luck
 

Realms09

Well-Known Member
Apply to a variety of schools - CC, state, and private. Decision time is not until the spring, so let them pitch you their financial aid packages. I have a few friends that worked their way through a state school in 4-5 years. Some went to class during the day and worked a night shift at a database/programming company. Others did it more intermittantly - taking periods of time off to earn money and then returning to finish their degree. It can be done. If you are dead-set on a university aviation program I would do it at a state school such as Illinois, UND, Ohio State, etc. that offer a better college experience than Riddle can.

To those students earlier along in high school, put your nose to the grindstone. Qualified students can go to good state schools for free.
 

fisher37

Well-Known Member
i agree with all of the above...

I'm currently going to Kansas State @ Salina to pursue a degree in aviation...i went to a community college for 2 years to get most of my general eds out of the way...and now i'll just be here for 2.5 years..and its saving me a boat load of money. I currently have a associates degree in business and will have a bachelors in aviation when im done...so it kind of works out perfect...

by the way...i made money going to a community college, you can make it work:D
 

GAPILOT

Well-Known Member
This is a hard decision, but I'll tell you how I did it. I went to a small two year college right out of high school while working on my private. It took me almost 1.5 years to finish my private because I was only making $6.50/hour. After I got my private I went to ATP. Most people will encourage you to go to a smaller FBO school and I agree that is a much cheaper way to get the same ratings. However, you can't get a student loan for an FBO school. That was my problem. I was unable to pay for college and flight training off of my small pay check. After I finished ATP I went to work at a small flight school and have been finishing my BS online. I pay for classes as I go. I only take what I can pay for in cash. I now work for a regional and have about another 2 years to finish my degree at my current pace.

I hope this helps you. It's kind of a risk giving the current economic condition. It may be hard for you to get a job as a CFI after training. ATP does hire most grads, but the pay is on the lower side and you may be stuck there for a while.

Good luck and follow your dreams.

Andy
 

scramjet

Well-Known Member
If you decide to do a degree in anything other than aviation, make sure it's something you really want to do. I did the same thing and I really wish I had just studied aviation instead of ending up shooting for a degree in a subject I really don't care that much about just so I can finish in time and be able to "check the college box" on the application. Just my two cents...
 

VATechPilot

Well-Known Member
Remember folks, a degree is not simply the ability to check a box on an application. It is a fall back (or at least if you degree in something outside of aviation) and if there's any industry where you need a fall back, its aviation.
 

JA Yawd Bwoy

Well-Known Member
Hi there Andrew,:hiya:

I am also a HS senior in NJ and I am also planning on attending college, here is my plan... I am taking a break after my graduation and I actually plan on starting college Spring '10. I plan on starting off at my community college (Middlesex County College) and then moving on to Vaughn College in NY after I acquire my Associates. The reason I am choosing this route is because the MCC is only 3,500 a year which equates to 7k, Vaughn four year tuition equates to 60k, subtract 30k, I just saved 23k which I am pretty sure could get me my Comm and my CFI ratings easily... between now and Spring '10, I plan on working, spending time in JA, and working on my Private and possibly IR. Anyway, good luck with any route you take...:)
 

SFCC/UND

Well-Known Member
I did a couple years at a community college, which was part of UND. I departed the UND after I got my private because I got a job working evenings and the instrument class was also in the evenings. I took my AA and transfer to EU online, while doing part 61 and working as a ground agent for Horizon. Flash forward I'm a senior in college and wouldn't changed anything because I've had a blast doing it.
 

JulietBravo

On Call, On Demand
I'm a senior in college pursuing an Aviation Management major. Basically I get to fly and get all of my ratings, plus I receive a business minor. Now that might not be much to some people, but it's a little fallback.

Anyways, I've been instructing for the past 2 years here as a CFI and building my hours. I have made a network of friends and I have a job lined up when I graduate this Spring. There are plenty of aviation jobs out there besides going right into a regional or anything like that. You need to walk before you run, find a job through friends you make in school, and build hours that way. After 4 years of college, and Private - CFII, I have no more than 65K in loans. Not bad for a state school with an education and flight ratings all in 4 years.

My .02 cents.
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
"once I graduate I will decide to stick with a career in my degree, abandoning my dream of becoming a pilot because of the school cost."

Depending on the environment when you graduate, that might not be a bad thing. The career tends to ebb and flow with the economy. It's a great career, I think, but you have to be ready to ride the wave. The whole point of a back up is to be able to use it if necessary. If it's necessary right out of school, then use it. You can always get your ratings and flight training done when the time best presents itself. Maybe during school, maybe right after, maybe a year down the road.

In any case, the best thing you could do is minimize costs with both school and flight training. As many others have mentioned, starting at a two year school is a great choice. That's what I did, and I flew at the local flight school during that time as well.
 

skydog

New Member
I’m currently a high school senior, and the next couple of months are very hectic for me involving college applications and deciding on what I would like to do with my life. Ever since I was an early child, I have always dreamed into becoming a pilot, “thanks to my dad”, but I am not really sure on how and where to start. I’ve read up on various colleges that offer a flight programs with a degree, but decided its best to get a better rounded degree first, while currently looking at Computer Science as my major.
I live in California, and it seems college prices can be quite expensive, ranging from $70-100k for a four year degree, and then if I would like to go to a flight school afterward, and that can be from $40-60k extra. Is it really normal to be spending around $140k for college and flight school to become an airline pilot, or am I making a terrible mistake with my process? I’m worried that if I go to a four year college with those cost, it may handicap my future, and once I graduate I will decide to stick with a career in my degree, abandoning my dream of becoming a pilot because of the school cost.
Any insightful tips or advice on what I should do would greatly be appreciated, thank you.
First things first: spend some time on this forum. There is a wealth of information to be found here. Ask questions, read, and learn.

Think about what kind of professional flying that you want to do. Lots of ways to make a living piloting airplanes. Most people tend to think of just airlines, corporate, and military. There are many options besides those

Read Flying the Line Vols. 1,2,3, and also Hard Landing. These books give you a good insight into the nature of airline labor management relations, and a decent overview of airline industry history. It ain't all hugs and puppies.

Consider your life goals outside of aviation. This profession requires a lot of personal and family sacrifice that the typical nine to fiver doesn't have to make. Consider the future. You're young and carefree now, but that will not always be the case.

Start following the aviation business. Your reasons for wanting to fly are your own, but the person whose airplanes you will be flying is trying to make money from those airplanes. Understanding how the business works will better help you understand your role in that business.

Once you have done all that, then you can come back and ask about flight school and such.
 
Top