|Quoting TheGreatChecko (Reply 10):|
I hate to say it, but there is no ranking for aviation programs, just egos. Some are better than others. Pick the ones you might like and visit them.
Personally, at least double major in something other than aviation science. The degree is fun and does to an extent help prepare you for training, but its not worth much in the real world.
Well said. There are as many paths to a commercial flying job as there are pilots. Just like every other industry, your success depends on your own motivation and attitude more than your alma mater. When you're looking for a college, this is what I'd suggest keeping in mind:
1. How comfortable do you feel on the campus? Generally, you're going to be more successful in a comfortable atmosphere. Visit campuses in person and pay attention to your gut feelings. You're probably going to live there for a few years, so pick someplace where you feel at home. Switching colleges midstream is expensive.
2. How much is it going to cost? Flight training is expensive, and everyone tends to end up in the same low-paid regional job no matter how much they paid for their training. If the initial ticket price looks high, be assertive and ask about grants and scholarships. University recruiters are trained to be positive about everything, so they'll all insist their students get scholarships. Ask for numbers regarding the average scholarship or grant size, how many are given out, the average amount of aid each student gets, etc. Ask what the university does to help students find scholarships. A university with high tuition may still be a good deal if they're assertive about finding grants for their students.
3. How well will they prepare you for a non-flying job? When you're interviewing for a flying job, the interviewer doesn't give a hoot whether your degree is in Economics or Professional Pilot (apparently, that's an actual degree at some colleges). With this in mind, do what Checko suggests and make sure that you can get a job outside of a cockpit with your degree. You never know what will happen in the industry or to your health, so you should always have a non-flying career available.
4. What kind of internships do they offer? Actually, this isn't nearly as important these days as it used to be. Only a few years ago doing an airline internship would allow you to shave years off of landing that airline job. With the current hiring boom, this isn't a big deal. On the other hand, if you think you'd like working in management or an airline's training department internships are still a good way to get your foot in those doors.
As others have pointed out much more succinctly, you can't really say that one college is "better" than another. You just have to decide which is right for you. If you're just looking for names to check out, these are the ones that I seem to hear the most about:
Florida Institute of Technology
Aviation is not so much a profession as it is a disease.