DAL763ER From United States of America, joined Oct 2008, 744 posts, RR: 0 Posted (6 years 9 months 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 4178 times:
I'm finishing high-school in June '10 and was wondering what would be best to do. I want to become either an ATC or a pilot. Later this September I will be applying to several universities in the UK and US but will want to study Computer Science (as a fall-back degree).
However, something's been bugging me for the past days - both Eurocontrol and NATS take kids fresh out of high-school and train them to become ATCs, provided there are vacancies. Should I also apply to these 2 institutions and if they accept me, go? What about my university studies - could I get a degree online or something? Because, if I get a job as an ATC, I don't think I'd be able to spend 3-4 years in college, would I?
In conclusion, what would be best? Apply to NATS/Eurocontrol and, if there are vacancies and they accept me, move on and become an ATC or get my degree and then figure out if I want to become what my degree offers me(programmer), a pilot, or an ATC? Moreover, if you suggest I do the first option (become an ATC next year), what would be best to choose - NATS or Eurocontrol? Why?
You will probably never have the opportunity to do that again in your life, and earning/ finishing your degree while working is a second near full-time job.
I'm pretty sure everyone who did that like me will recommend taking the time for college now. The career opportunities will be there after you finish college, only more of them for better paying jobs.
I was thinking about going to NATS/Eurocontrol and at the same time/after finishing training with them, doing an Online degree at ERAU. It's still a degree from ERAU and has the same value. I second your opinion about "better paying jobs". A career as an ATC, albeit the stress, has lots of benefits and a good pay. The most important thing, though, is to enjoy your job.
The thing is that, one can get his degree any time but becoming an ATC/Pilot has an age limit...
B747-4U3 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2002, 998 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (6 years 9 months 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 3992 times:
I think you would be much better off going to a good university and getting a good degree. A good degree from a good university will be a significant boon to your CV/ Resume and help you get a good job. An online degree simply doesn't have the same appeal with blue-chip companies or companies in competitive industries... in fact most of them would probably just toss your application in the bin if you have graduated from anything other than the best. Even if you have your heart set on NATS/ Eurocontrol, having a degree will improve your employability with them and widen your career choices should you not get accepted on NATS' scheme.
Remember, you can always apply to NATS/ Eurocontrol after university. Also, NATS and Eurocontrol are very very competitive. I think NATS only take 1 person for every 70-100 applications. Being clever enough for the job simply isn't enough. You have to exactly match their profile for what they want.
DAL763ER From United States of America, joined Oct 2008, 744 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (6 years 9 months 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 3976 times:
Quoting B747-4U3 (Reply 4): Even if you have your heart set on NATS/ Eurocontrol, having a degree will improve your employability with them and widen your career choices should you not get accepted on NATS' scheme.
That's why I am confused about what to do. In any industry, employability chances are higher provided you have a degree in whatever. But, then, why do they accept applicants fresh out of high-school?
Knightsofmalta From Malta, joined Nov 2005, 1843 posts, RR: 17
Reply 7, posted (6 years 9 months 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 3944 times:
I'm a lecturer at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences - ZHAW. We have a Bachelor course in Aviation. As part of your studies you have the opportunity to obtain a licence as a pilot with Swiss or an ATCO with Skyguide.
There are other universities in Europe which offer a similar set-up such as Graz, Aachen, Berlin or Hamburg.
L1011buff From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 115 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (6 years 9 months 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 3821 times:
It is not just about the degree.
College when you are stepping out in the world on your own is an experience which you can never repeat. The on-line degree completely misses the environment and expereince.
Of course some of us enjoyed the freedom and adventure a bit too much, and not the school work.
I agree fully to this! It sounds like you have a lot of opportunities, but ask yourself, what do I REALLY want to do? Talk to some pilots and ATC guys, hear their stories and make a decision. Take into account stress, job location, travelling, layovers, unions, possibility of a family, salaries and think what is best, but don't be afraid to try and reach your dreams! best of luck! Kevin in RDG.
Modesto2 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 2898 posts, RR: 5
Reply 9, posted (6 years 9 months 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 3783 times:
Go to college. Then, figure out what you want to do. I disagree with a poster above about how you can go to college anytime. Instead, you can only get the true college experience once in your life - upon graduation from high school. An online degree does not compare to a traditional degree for many reasons. Most notably, you'll be missing out on one of the best opportunities in your life - college!
So, go to college, get the degree, and then weigh your options. Good luck!
B747-4U3 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2002, 998 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (6 years 9 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 3710 times:
Quoting DAL763ER (Reply 5): That's why I am confused about what to do. In any industry, employability chances are higher provided you have a degree in whatever. But, then, why do they accept applicants fresh out of high-school?
What they say on the website isn't necessarily the same as what actually happens. They might say that they welcome applicants straight out of high-school, but I would be willing to bet a lot of money that hardly anyone ever is recruited out of high-school. The company I work for said on the website that if you reach a certain stage of the application process you stand a 30% chance of being offered the job. Based on the number of people who were at the final interview and the number offered a job the percentage was more like 5%. Companies want you to think that you stand a reasonable chance otherwise people wouldn't apply and they'd miss out on potential stars. Also remember that a lot of people who apply for jobs are exactly the same. To get picked you need something that makes you stand out from the crowd. A good degree from a good university is something that elevates you above many of your peers. A lot of companies will instantly dismiss your application if they don't think you are sufficient academically qualified (even though you might meet the minimum requirements on their website). I have a rather unusual degree from a top university and when I was applying for jobs I found it a valuable asset because it made me different from everyone else and was a talking point in interviews.
NATS will spend a lot of money training you and therefore want reassurance that you aren't going to get bored and wander off. Having a degree will show your commitment plus you'll have a lot of fantastic experiences at university which will give you something to talk about in interviews ( you'll probably also have a lot of fantastic experiences that are best not mentioned in interviews).
If I were in your shoes my priority would be to go to a good university and get a decent degree. You'll have fun, widen your career choices and stand a better chance of getting whatever job it is that you apply for.