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Aviation Career Guidance for HS student?  
User currently offlineUAL748 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2012, 4 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 5 months 9 hours ago) and read 2766 times:

I am a junior in high school and am in the process of looking at colleges and careers, hopefully as a pilot. What I would like to know is where you all went to college, what you do for a living, and other things along that line. Any suggestions on where to go, what to do, or anything else would be greatly appreciated!!

Thanks in advance!

PS... That was my first post here  

[Edited 2012-04-04 14:21:23]

24 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineetops1 From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 1073 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (2 years 5 months 9 hours ago) and read 2746 times:

Sorry but what does this have anything to do with Aviation ??

User currently offlineUAL748 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2012, 4 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (2 years 5 months 9 hours ago) and read 2652 times:

I am sorry, i wasn't sure where to put it. Does it belong in another part of the forum, and if so can I move it?

User currently offlinePHX787 From Japan, joined Mar 2012, 7492 posts, RR: 18
Reply 3, posted (2 years 5 months 9 hours ago) and read 2652 times:

Yeah this belongs in Non-aviation. I'm sure the mods will move it.


次は、渋谷、渋谷。出口は、右側です。電車とホームの間は広く開いておりますので、足元に注意下さい。
User currently offlineacidradio From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 1874 posts, RR: 10
Reply 4, posted (2 years 5 months 9 hours ago) and read 2609 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
FORUM MODERATOR

Quoting UAL748 (Thread starter):
I am a junior in high school and am in the process of looking at colleges and careers, hopefully as a pilot.

Welcome to the forums! Since this appears to be about aviation careers I moved this thread to Tech/Ops.

Quoting etops1 (Reply 1):
Sorry but what does this have anything to do with Aviation ??

You had aviation careers in mind, right?



Ich haben zwei Platzspielen und ein Microphone
User currently offlineUAL748 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2012, 4 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (2 years 5 months 9 hours ago) and read 2606 times:

Yes, a career in aviation was where i was looking to begin. I have found a few ideas, but am hoping for more.

User currently offlinejetlife2 From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 221 posts, RR: 25
Reply 6, posted (2 years 5 months 8 hours ago) and read 2585 times:

My advice is to prioritize first getting the best education you can. There are many possible careers in aviation but without education you will be excluded from even competing for many of them. Are you expecting to go to college and obtain a degree? I would divide up aviation related careers as follows:

Flight Crew
Operations
Maintenance (line or overhaul)
Design
Business

Of course there are many other ways to slice the pie. I will speak to some of these. I see you are in the UK.

First Design: companies like BAE and Rolls Royce and many others in the UK and around the world are hiring professional Engineers. Caution: In the UK the word Engineer is misused all the time. In nearly all the rest of the world it means a professional position. I am speaking about those with at least an undergraduate BS degree in Engineering and in the US most people would have a MS degree. My advice: pursue Mechanical Engineering, it is the most flexible and marketable to the most industries. In the US six of the top ten starting salaries are Engineers (not so in the UK probably but it is an enormously valuable skill on the world market and you can move later). Engineering positions in major companies are often the pipeline for leadership.

Flight Crew: unless you can afford to pay for training yourself, consider joining the military if you can qualify. Ideally go to college and join the University Air Squadron while pursuing a technical degree, best of all worlds because you can go either into a technical position or flight crew. In other countries there are airlines hiring so-called ab-initio (from the beginning) flight cadets directly. These tend to be limited to citizens of those countries. Caution that entry level flight crew positions are long hours arduous for little pay for a long time.

Business: Tougher to get into Aviation, get a degree in business or preferably an MBA: now you are competing with a bigger pool of applicants, conversely those qualifications are useful in many other businesses outside aviation.

Line maintenance/overhaul: Get an entry level technician/mechanic position. GE and maybe other are hiring apprentices. This is for people who are not going to university but may pursue A&P license or other qualifications through night school or work release.

No doubt books could be written.

Hope that helps.

GHR


User currently offlineJRadier From Netherlands, joined Sep 2004, 4680 posts, RR: 50
Reply 7, posted (2 years 5 months 7 hours ago) and read 2555 times:

For an undergrad in the UK you might want to look at Loughborough


For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and ther
User currently offlineRoseflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9617 posts, RR: 52
Reply 8, posted (2 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 2477 times:

I have a masters degree in engineering, so will give my take on that.

I've moved back in forth in the industry, but got my start in college as an intern at an aerospace supplier. It got me in to engineer. I have since moved back and forth between design engineering and maintenance engineering. Both are great careers. If you are interested in new aircraft and design work, then it can be an interesting field. Sometimes you don’t really feel like you are working on aviation since the parts you work on have little to do with airplanes. You could be designing a hydraulic actuator for the rudder of a 747 or a hydraulic actuator for an offshore oil platform and the design work is not that different. When you get into maintenance you start looking at the entire airplane and it feels more like aviation and airplanes. Working at an airline is a fun experience. Travel perks are nice and you get to be around aviation. Being a salaried employee in management is not a bad job at an airline at all even though the pay might be a little less and working for companies that aren't profitable is never fun.

I've found the engineering path very rewarding, fun and diverse. There are many opportunities out there and I don't have to worry about being unemployed or in massive debt. Of any field in aviation, engineering reliably pays the best and is one of the few that has a normal 9-5 Monday thru Friday schedule. It is great if you are looking for that type of career. Pilot salaries can get higher than engineering, but you don't have massive costs to get into engineering if you go to an affordable college. Also with engineering it is more stable and you can switch companies since it is all about experience and knowledge and not seniority.

Quoting jetlife2 (Reply 6):
I am speaking about those with at least an undergraduate BS degree in Engineering and in the US most people would have a MS degree.

Actually only about 20% have a masters degree in engineering. A bachelor's degree is all that is needed. Many people have masters degrees in other fields including MBAs.



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineamccann From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 175 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (2 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 2393 times:

Quoting UAL748 (Thread starter):
What I would like to know is where you all went to college, what you do for a living, and other things along that line

I went to Iowa State University in the US, graduated with a bachelor of science in Aerospace Engineering. I am now a Boeing Twin Aisle Fleet Support Structural Analysis Engineer. It's a fancy way of saying I analyze structural repairs to the Boeing 747-8F/-8I, 767-200/-300/-400, and 777-200/-300/F. It's a great job, very stressful, quick moving, and exciting. I am a recent graduate and relatively recent new hire engineer so I don't have the background or experience of many other engineers on this forum but I essentially agree with Roseflyer. Engineering is rewarding, fun, and diverse. There definitely are many opportunities. However I don't necessarily agree that all engineering has a normal 9-5 schedule. Last night I was called at 830PM to analyze a structural repair and returned to work at 600AM today to finish the analysis and disposition... but that's all part of the reward and fun.



What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. - Ronald Reagan
User currently offlinejetblueguy22 From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 2786 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (2 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 2380 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
HEAD MODERATOR

I'm currently in school for Commercial Aviation at the University of North Dakota. It is a tough program but I wouldn't trade it for the world. Today I took off behind my buddy who was on a SkyWest jet and did stop and go's with a pretty good cross wind. It was a dream come true. The work is worth it if you really love aviation. Just make sure you do what you want in life. I had plenty of people tell me I was crazy going to school so far away from my home, that my major was way overpriced, wasn't worth it, and I wouldn't succeed. I have the highest GPA I've ever had in my life because I love what I am doing and it makes all the long days worth it. Do you and only you.
Blue



You push down on that yoke, the houses get bigger, you pull back on the yoke, the houses get bigger- Ken Foltz
User currently offlinetdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 11, posted (2 years 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 2364 times:

Quoting etops1 (Reply 1):

Sorry but what does this have anything to do with Aviation ??

This seemed clear:

Quoting UAL748 (Thread starter):
I am a junior in high school and am in the process of looking at colleges and careers, hopefully as a pilot.

He wants to be a pilot. How is that *not* related to aviation?

Quoting UAL748 (Thread starter):
What I would like to know is where you all went to college, what you do for a living, and other things along that line.

I started with a dual bachelors from Princeton University (Mechanical Engineering & Aerospace Engineering). Although I liked aero more, it was mechanical that got me my first job. So I echo the sentiment that mechanical is probably the most portable of the engineering degrees (along with electrical). Aerospace wasn't doing well at the time I graduated and my work visa situation was a little complex, so I spent about 5 years working in deepwater oil exploration with a service company.

I wanted out of the oilfield lifestyle after a while (I got married, among other things) so I managed to leverage the aero degree + customer engineering experience into a job with a major aircraft OEM doing technical customer support, first for fuel systems, then inerting systems, then engines and thrust reversers. Along the way I got a certificate in aircraft structures from the University of Washington (part-time) and started on a Masters of Aeronautical engineering (also part-time) from Standford University.

After about 3 years of that, including a stint in-house at Ryanair, I switched over to flight test at the same OEM and did that up to the present (finished my Masters along the way). I started as a basic test director then moved up to an airplane lead. Now I'm kind of over-specialized into aerospace enginering so I'm going back to school (full time this time) at MIT for an MBA and MSE starting in a few months, then back to the same OEM to work off my debts.

Tom.


User currently offlineiFlyLOTs From United States of America, joined Apr 2012, 479 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (2 years 4 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 2268 times:

Quoting jetblueguy22 (Reply 10):
I have the highest GPA I've ever had in my life because I love what I am doing and it makes all the long days worth it.

This is true for me too, I'm currently a Flight Management student at Lewis University in the Chicago area, and I feel like everything I've learned in the past 18 years of my life haven't mattered compared to the classes I'm in now. A few days ago I was on a solo cross country and surprised everyone when I was able to land a C172 in 30 knot headwind as a private pilot student and there were commercial students that were cancelling their flights because it was too dangerous. Trust me the work is worth it and the there is nothing quite like flying. Once the bug bites you, you just can never get enough of it.



"...stay hungry, stay foolish" -Steve Jobs
User currently offlineDalmd88 From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 2546 posts, RR: 14
Reply 13, posted (2 years 4 months 4 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 2228 times:

I started out wanting to be a pilot. After two semesters of college I figured it wasn't for me. I could not see myself working in that career. My personality did not mesh well with the skillset piloting requires. I found a much better fit repairing airplanes. I'll be quite honest, I've been working in aviation for 20 years now. It isn't a very lucrative field. The hours of work quite frankly suck. It is terrible on family life and the pay isn't that great for most. On the plus side, I always make sure my toolbox faces out of the hangar doors. That way when I'm standing at it I can watch the planes I work on take off. When we have a slow day I can stand there all day and just watch, it's still cool.

User currently offlineajd1992 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (2 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 2145 times:

Quoting UAL748 (Thread starter):
I am a junior in high school and am in the process of looking at colleges and careers, hopefully as a pilot. What I would like to know is where you all went to college, what you do for a living, and other things along that line. Any suggestions on where to go, what to do, or anything else would be greatly appreciated!!

Thanks in advance!

Judging by how your post is written, it sounds like you're from the US but your flag is UK. Are you American or British? A lot of the information given here by American members may not translate entirely if you're from the UK.


User currently offlineUAL748 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2012, 4 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (2 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 2135 times:

Thank you all so much for the help! I will take all of your opinions and ideas for consideration.
Also, does anybody here know much about ERAU? I got a letter in the mail from them, are they any good?

Quoting ajd1992 (Reply 14):
ajd1992

I am duel UK/US citizen so it can go either way.


User currently offlineflymia From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 7150 posts, RR: 9
Reply 16, posted (2 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 2105 times:

Quoting UAL748 (Reply 15):
Also, does anybody here know much about ERAU? I got a letter in the mail from them, are they any good?


I would not suggest going to college to fly. Get a degree in something that is not flying because job security is not great, and one health problem and flying is not longer possible. ERAU does have a fantastic engineering program.



"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
User currently offlineajd1992 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 17, posted (2 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 2090 times:

I would second that - get a degree in something wide ranging, like English or IT. There will always be a need for IT guys.

Most airlines just want you to have a degree - don't give a crap what it's in, but they want a degree, so your ERAU degree doesn't always mean you're at an advantage to somebody who has a Masters' in Basket Weaving.

Are you living in the UK or US at the moment?


User currently offlinen6238p From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 501 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (2 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 2067 times:

If you want to fly, get your ratings on the side and go to college for something unrelated to aviation. My aviation management degree got me an unpaid internship and a line service job. You can make money in aviation, just only when the system is hiring. I graduated from a university during the lowest of the latest aviation period for new pilot hiring and I pretty much have been spinning my wheels ever since trying to catch back up to the pack.


To actively root against anybody is just low, and I hope karma comes back at you with a vengeance
User currently offlinejetpilot From United States of America, joined May 1999, 3130 posts, RR: 29
Reply 19, posted (2 years 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 2047 times:

When I graduated HS I went to Flight Safety and got my commercial instrument multi engine certs. I went to University of North Dakota and quit after a year. I got a job offer as a flight engineer on the DC8 and took it. I worked my way up. I'm now 41 and fly the 727.

You don't need college. You need to be at the right place at the right time. As a FE/FO on the DC8 I made $50 an hour. Captains make $98 per hour. I never had a dream of going to a major airline. My quality of life is better than if I worked for a major. The pay is less but my quality of life makes up for it I have 2 weeks off in a row every month. Sometimes I bid back to back and get a month off. I never worked for $20 per hour at a regional. I never flew a stby line. I never had to jumpseat/commute to work. The airline buys me a ticket to wherever the plane is. I never lived with other pilots in a crash pad. Seniority grows quickly at small companies.

There are alternatives to going to college. Flame suit on... everyone is going to tell you how college is very important now. There are more companies than not that will hire you without college. Ever try and pay off a $100K college loan working as an FO at a regional? Unless your parents are rich and want to support you it can't be done.


User currently offlineRoseflyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9617 posts, RR: 52
Reply 20, posted (2 years 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 1991 times:

Quoting n6238p (Reply 18):
If you want to fly, get your ratings on the side and go to college for something unrelated to aviation. My aviation management degree got me an unpaid internship and a line service job. You can make money in aviation, just only when the system is hiring.

I absolutely agree that you should get a degree in a field in college other than aeronautical science or the aerospace degree that comes with the pilot license. One thing that misleads many students is that a minor is not a degree. A minor is essentially worthless in the job market. Getting a degree in aerospace and then a minor in business does not count since you can't fall back on a minor in anything.



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlinepilotpip From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3150 posts, RR: 11
Reply 21, posted (2 years 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 1977 times:

Quoting n6238p (Reply 18):
If you want to fly, get your ratings on the side and go to college for something unrelated to aviation. My aviation management degree got me an unpaid internship and a line service job. You can make money in aviation, just only when the system is hiring. I graduated from a university during the lowest of the latest aviation period for new pilot hiring and I pretty much have been spinning my wheels ever since trying to catch back up to the pack.

This.

Do everything you can to finance your education as you go. Don't go into massive amounts of debt while chasing a dream. The reality will catch up to you when you're in my position. 30, and just getting on your feet after years of making less than $20k, a furlough and being stuck at the bottom of the seniority list.

If I had to do it all over again, I would get a degree in something not related to aviation. Business, a science or math based degree, etc. While furloughed and trying to get work outside of an industry that wasn't doing any hiring I constantly heard "what does aviation have to do with being a bank teller/retail manager/sales person?" My resume had all of the above on it, and my career as a pilot had given me many skills related to all of the above, people didn't want to hear it. I was very fortunate it was only a 4 month lay off but it took me over a year to recover financially.

One of the things I consider a "perk" of flying is getting to know the person sitting next to you on a little more personal level. Spending 20+ hours locked next to somebody you hardly know leaves lots of time and you can only get mad talking about your company/contract negotiations/crappy schedule for so long before you have to find something else to talk about. My favorite captains are often the ones that are on their second career or have interests that are far away from aviation. I have learned a ton about the financial world, fly fishing, car restoration, real estate, home brewing beer (one I took up) and other hobbies/side jobs. It makes the time go by much better and I often find that I work better with people that have experience outside aviation because they are more well-rounded.



DMI
User currently offlineaogdesk From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 935 posts, RR: 3
Reply 22, posted (2 years 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 1968 times:

Quoting Dalmd88 (Reply 13):
On the plus side, I always make sure my toolbox faces out of the hangar doors. That way when I'm standing at it I can watch the planes I work on take off. When we have a slow day I can stand there all day and just watch, it's still cool.

+1.


User currently offlinebond007 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 5414 posts, RR: 8
Reply 23, posted (2 years 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 1959 times:

Quoting Roseflyer (Reply 20):
I absolutely agree that you should get a degree in a field in college other than aeronautical science or the aerospace degree that comes with the pilot license.
Quoting n6238p (Reply 18):
go to college for something unrelated to aviation.
Quoting ajd1992 (Reply 17):
Most airlines just want you to have a degree - don't give a crap what it's in, but they want a degree, so your ERAU degree doesn't always mean you're at an advantage to somebody who has a Masters' in Basket Weaving.

Well, I'm going to disagree a little here. Most folks have a degree that has little or nothing to do with the industry they are in. Those that do ... are often the better candidates and make for better employees in that industry IMO. As somebody involved in the hiring process, I can tell you that an ERAU (or other aviation) degree absolutely will give you an advantage over a Masters in Basket Weaving, all else being equal.

So, my personal opinion, is that you should do a degree in a subject that you enjoy, don't mind studying it for 3 or 4 years, and even are a little passionate about. If that is aviation, then DO take a degree in aeronautics or similar... but don't do an aviation degree just because you think you'll get to be a pilot with it.

Quoting pilotpip (Reply 21):
I would get a degree in something not related to aviation. Business, a science or math based degree, etc

Well, I agree on the second sentence, unless you truly have a passion to study aviation .. then do it. If you don't care between studing just math, computer science or aviation, then for sure do something that will definitely be more useful outside of the aviation industry. An MBA is always a good choice.

The theory that companies don't care what subject a degree is in, is just as true outside of the aviation industry.... and similarly, if your degree does match the job, it may well give you an advantage.

Jimbo



I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
User currently offline9V-SPJ From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 752 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (2 years 4 months 3 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 1808 times:

I got a Bachelor's and Masters in Aerospace Engineering at Georgia Tech and am now involved in Air Traffic Management Research - NextGen stuff, trajectory prediction etc. Not your typical aviation career, but I definitely use my knowledge of aircraft performance modeling to help in my work.

9V-SPJ


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