The importance of having a degree

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mamba
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The importance of having a degree

Post by mamba » Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:18 pm

Hy all,

Do you have some opinions about the importance of having a university degree/diploma in order to become a pilot ?
Will the employer be tempted to hire a pilot who has that kind of background ? does it really increases your chances of getting a job ? Do the airlines care about this ?
I'm asking this because I'm getting into university to study engineering and I want be a pilot. I am thinking It can give a good financial situation, it's also a good way to stay on ''stand by'' while you're looking for your first job and it may be very useful in case you don't keep up with your medical ... on the other hand, you'll start flying a little later, around 26 years old or so, is it a little ''late'' ? Or the fact that holding a diploma can make up for a lack of flight time ?

What do you guys think ?

Thanks.
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Re: The importance of having a degree

Post by ajet32 » Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:57 pm

Education is never wasted. At one time all applicants applying to Canadian Airlines required a degree. This is not the case with any major carrier in Canada . A number of US carriers require one.
Those who despair of education usually don't or haven't seen the need or advantages of having one.
Just my 2 cents worth. It doesn't make you a better pilot just helps cut down the resume pile.
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Re: The importance of having a degree

Post by Tommyr » Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:33 am

I am getting a degree right now, then am going to think about doing my CPL because I want to know that I have something to fall back on.
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Re: The importance of having a degree

Post by bmc » Tue Sep 21, 2010 2:38 am

Good option to fall back on.

Guys do lose medicals. :?
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Re: The importance of having a degree

Post by PunkStarStudios » Tue Sep 21, 2010 3:40 am

mamba wrote:I am thinking It can give a good financial situation
If you're looking for financial stability - or just to make a good living... aviation isn't it. ;-)
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Re: The importance of having a degree

Post by cplpilot » Tue Sep 21, 2010 4:52 am

Knowledge and a degree make you INDIPENDENT not smarter.
Good luck with everything your are going to do
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Re: The importance of having a degree

Post by Hedley » Tue Sep 21, 2010 7:47 am

IMHO the more degrees a pilot has, the less employable he is, as a line pilot.

Go get a Phd in Physics and then apply to Buffalo. Let me know how that works out for you.

Looking at two identical guys, except one has a degree and 5,000TT and one has a high school diploma and 10,000TT, I'd hire the guy with 10k hours.

PS I have an engineering degree from Queen's U. Very useful in just about everything except working as a line pilot. Nobody needs an educated line pilot.

PPS If you want to get hired by AC, your money and time would be better spent on becoming a visible minority :wink:
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Re: The importance of having a degree

Post by zed » Tue Sep 21, 2010 8:06 am

You want to fly... fly.

If you're...
looking for financial stability - or just to make a good living... aviation isn't it.
+1

If later on you discover that you're flying career is hitting a glass ceiling without that piece of paper, then start doing correspondence courses and complete the easiest/simplest degree from the easiest accredited university you can find in North America.

Just remember, right now you are probably without attachments... Wife, kids, etc. You are MUCH more mobile and willing to take discomfort. As you get older, things change, you get married, divorced, married, kids (yours and some), and your attitude towards taking the chicken shit being thrown at you as part of your NEED to keep a pay cheques coming your way starts to get a little old and less acceptable.

So if your heart is for flying, do it. If you can't commit, then accept it and move on.

My two bits, listen, don't listen. Your life, your choice.
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Re: The importance of having a degree

Post by mamba » Tue Sep 21, 2010 8:10 am

Thanks for the replies.

When I said good financial situation, I meant before starting your carreer as a pilot, we know first moments are difficult ( low paying jobs, sometimes expatriation ... ) so having extra money can be helpful :wink:
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Re: The importance of having a degree

Post by CpnCrunch » Tue Sep 21, 2010 10:24 am

While I agree with Hedley that a degree is pretty useless for a pilot, I wonder if AC or WJ give preference to someone having a degree over a similar candidate without one? I have a degree myself, and it is actually pretty useless to me in my line of work, although it did help to get my first job.

I think the main advantage of a degree is that it shows to an employer that you have a few brain cells to rub together and you have certain skills. As you get more work experience it becomes less important, but it might help you land your first 'proper' job. And yes, a phd is pretty useless for a pilot (unless perhaps you're planning on working for NASA), but I don't think the original poster is considering that.
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Re: The importance of having a degree

Post by peakbagger » Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:04 pm

As stated earlier, extra education can't really be a bad thing. Maybe for the odd job someone might prefer someone without a degree but for the vast majority it can't hurt. I have full time flying work and am finishing the last 2 years of my degree by correspondence. If you are capable, you can do both at the same time :)
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Re: The importance of having a degree

Post by Gannet167 » Tue Sep 21, 2010 2:24 pm

A degree is a really wonderful thing to have. It broadens your horizons and DOES make you smarter, absolutely. Whether it will help you in aviation or not is really a question of where you want to go, but overall I believe (having a degree myself and spending a good amount of time taking post secondary courses in a variety of areas) that it does improve your quality of life and give you immense perspective, rounding you out. Generally speaking it does open up employment options and degreed people earn more money and have a higher quality of life, generally speaking.

Applying at Buffalo, I might not bother to mention that I have a degree - it might not be valued by that employer. At other employers, it might. It does set you apart from the general public. But it depends on the degree. Having a degree in business management might even appeal to Buffalo, since you'd be able to think like a business manager and maybe have some insight into how to make the company more money. Who knows. If you start working at a major airline, fly for a few years and then decide you're bored, hate being on the road, or lose your medical, you are situated to do something more management like, rather than just fading into obscurity. You could rise up through management with the right academic background and end up making big money as an executive.

If you want to join the Canadian Forces, having a degree is pretty much a necessity. There are some entry programs that don't require one but they are rarely opened and would still require you to get a degree while doing your flight training / as an active line pilot, deploying etc. Not a great idea.

If you really just want to fly, always will, never will lose your medical and just want to get to some big metal as fast as you can, I'd say the degree (while generally speaking, time well spent) is not as helpful to you as spending those 4 years building time in your log book.

Doing a degree later in life can be pretty hard. For a real degree program, the amount of work required is immense and a game best played while you're young. Also, doing it via correspondence is very hard - particularly if you're balancing work, family, life etc. Getting the cheapest/easiest degree that you can find gives you bragging rights (well, sorta) but really defeats the purpose of getting a degree. If you want a degree because you're interested in subject X, get a good degree and learn a lot about X. If you want a degree for career purposes, get a respected degree in a relevant field - not one from Devry or Sally Struthers' ICS school. If two guys walk into a management position, one with a degree from Walmart Univeristy and another from McGill or Queen's Richard Ivey School of Business - well, you get the idea.

Those who make fun of the educated, belittle higher education and discredit its merits don't have the education to appreciate education. You need a degree to appreciate what it means to have a degree.
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Re: The importance of having a degree

Post by mattedfred » Tue Sep 21, 2010 2:33 pm

i'm glad i didn't get a degree first

i regret going to aviation college

however, i now have the time and resources to pursue a higher education in something that truly interests me

if your goal is to be an airline pilot than my advice is to find out the biggest bang for the buck with regards to education and experience then get the hell on a seniority list ASAP. one groundschool can make the difference between getting either furloughed, upgraded, downgraded or not.

good luck!
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Re: The importance of having a degree

Post by . ._ » Tue Sep 21, 2010 3:59 pm

Getting a degree in something employable will get you a middle to upper-middle class paying job- engineering, nursing, accounting, computer science...

Getting a B.A. will make you appreciate and think critically about your shitty life delivering pizzas.

Getting a B.S. will make you smarter when it comes to the chemical processes in the flavour of the pizza and the energy expended to deliver it.

Getting a B.F.A. will make you appreciate the drama and poetry of the common man who orders the pizza.

Getting a plumber's or electrician's ticket will give you a job ANYWHERE in the country (from Alert to Pelee Island), and you will be able to afford as much beer as you can drink. (but won't be rich)

I'm 40. Heed my advice, young man. No one ever gave me advice, or if they did, I didn't listen.

I don't know diddley about flying and degrees, other than there are a bazillion people flying the Big Iron in Canada without them (according to my 8 years of research on Avcanada)

My $0.02.

-istp :roll:
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Re: The importance of having a degree

Post by Brown Bear » Tue Sep 21, 2010 4:33 pm

Students working on a degree, or in most cases, even a diploma, fall into one of two categories. 1) depressed....they KNOW there will be no jobs when they graduate. 2) delusional......they think there WILL be jobs when they graduate.
I've known folks with degrees flipping burgers at McDonalds.
I've known pilots with degrees.
I've known pilots without degrees.
I've known folks without degrees flipping burgers at McDonalds.
Unless you are doing a degree for a specific career path, you're (in a lot of cases) better off going to a community college.
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Re: The importance of having a degree

Post by Nark » Tue Sep 21, 2010 4:54 pm

I'm not going to add what has already been stated.

However here is a new perspective:
You have one page to impress upon the chief pilot: a Resume. If you're a suck up you'll also have a CV. making it two.

What will get you noticed will be on that page. Often it is either a university to which you obtained an engineering degree, or it'll be military experience, or it'll be the same company you both worked for in years past.

In my experience, it has been what is on my resume that got me past the first hurdle to the interviews. A degree is only in part of the whole picture.
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Re: The importance of having a degree

Post by Zatopec » Tue Sep 21, 2010 4:55 pm

PunkStarStudios wrote:
mamba wrote:I am thinking It can give a good financial situation
If you're looking for financial stability - or just to make a good living... aviation isn't it. ;-)

Not! I have a degree, financial stability and make a good living... in aviation!

It got better when I left the cockpit for the other side of the frequency..
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Re: The importance of having a degree

Post by . ._ » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:03 pm

What's your degree in?
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Re: The importance of having a degree

Post by RVR6000 » Tue Sep 21, 2010 5:38 pm

Hedley wrote: Looking at two identical guys, except one has a degree and 5,000TT and one has a high school diploma and 10,000TT, I'd hire the guy with 10k hours.
After certain amount of time, I would say roughly 5000 hours, TT is pointless. I think a 5k guy who's built his time doing night circling approaches into yvm, yxp and off-strip work is a better pilot then a 10k guy who’s done his time pavement to pavement, ILS to ILS.

PS; your money is better spent on learning French if you want to get in to AC.
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Re: The importance of having a degree

Post by BDM » Tue Sep 21, 2010 6:08 pm

One point no one yet has mentioned is the social development and fun that occurs between 18-22 at University. The thought of trading in those memories for 4 years of working in the real world scares me.
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Re: The importance of having a degree

Post by LegoMan » Tue Sep 21, 2010 6:45 pm

10,000 hours is the number it takes to become the best that one can possibly be. If I am hiring a pilot most likely a 5,000 hour pilot with a degree will not only be more of an asset to me but I can pay him less than I would a 10,000 hour pilot and still be able to train him and have him fly the plane the way I want him/her to, where as a 10,000 hour pilot is used to flying the way they are and will not change or become better at that point.
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Re: The importance of having a degree

Post by Zatopec » Tue Sep 21, 2010 7:26 pm

istp wrote:What's your degree in?
Aeronautical science and aviation weather.
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Re: The importance of having a degree

Post by . ._ » Tue Sep 21, 2010 7:32 pm

Is that a B.A., B.Sc., B. Sc. with a Dmet? B.Asc., B. quoi?
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Re: The importance of having a degree

Post by scopiton » Tue Sep 21, 2010 8:34 pm

...
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Re: The importance of having a degree

Post by a340x » Tue Sep 21, 2010 8:57 pm

Hedley wrote:IMHO the more degrees a pilot has, the less employable he is, as a line pilot.

Go get a Phd in Physics and then apply to Buffalo. Let me know how that works out for you.

Looking at two identical guys, except one has a degree and 5,000TT and one has a high school diploma and 10,000TT, I'd hire the guy with 10k hours.

PS I have an engineering degree from Queen's U. Very useful in just about everything except working as a line pilot. Nobody needs an educated line pilot.

PPS If you want to get hired by AC, your money and time would be better spent on becoming a visible minority :wink:


I wouldn't say that nobody needs a non educated line pilot. A captain is someone who has to have certain skills in order to work well with crew and passengers and i believe a degree can teach them a PART of that. I am not saying that pilots with degrees are better than others without, I am just curious in knowing your reasoning behind saying "nobody needs an educated line pilot."
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