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cakentennis
Topic Author
Posts: 117
Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2007 7:41 pm

Backup Degree For Wannabe Pilots?

Mon Oct 22, 2007 11:55 pm

Hi guys,


I'm currently into my junior year in Mechanical engineering at Purdue. Quite frankly, I hate it. I've decided on a career as a commercial airline pilot, it's what I've always wanted to be. I know that I need to get a basic 4 year degree before that happens, question is, what is a good backup degree for a pilot ? I don't feel like ME is making me happy and I'm not any good at it either, it kinda sucks that I had to waste 2 1/2 years to realize that. I gave it a shot, and it didn't work out. I tried to go to the airport here and talk to an adviser, and got slapped with a "sorry, busy with incoming freshman" !

I intend on transferring into a different major, but still stay at Purdue. I'm also going to start working on getting my private Pilot's license from here. I'm just confused about what major to transfer to now.

It would be great help if members who are pilots can tell me how then went about fulfilling their dream.


Note to Mod: I apologize if I posted this thread in the wrong section.
 
luisca
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RE: Backup Degree For Wannabe Pilots?

Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:01 am

All airlines require is a 4 year degree. So it is up to you what you want to have as your backup. If you want to stay in the Aviation industry an Aviation Management degree can help, but anything, business, humanities, engineering, Russian literature, anything counts. Just choose whatever you like best. (And try to at least use some of your credits from those 2 1/2 years)
If it ain't Boeing (or Embraer ;-)) I ain't Going!
 
Silver1SWA
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RE: Backup Degree For Wannabe Pilots?

Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:07 am

I'm working on a business degree.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
 
futureualpilot
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RE: Backup Degree For Wannabe Pilots?

Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:11 am

I'm a Purdue student as well, majoring in Aviation Technology: Airline Management. Keeps me around aviation without flight being my major, but I still fly on the side. Feel free to PM me with any questions.

As for your original post, do whatever will make you happy. They just want a 4 year degree. My uncle is a 757/767 Captain at AA and majored in finance, I know pilots who have majored in everything from religion, to engineering, to economics. Just do what you will be interested in, and what makes you happy.
Life is better when you surf.
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: Backup Degree For Wannabe Pilots?

Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:52 am

Quoting FutureUALpilot (Reply 3):
Just do what you will be interested in, and what makes you happy.

Amen  yes 


You could major in fashion design and the airlines could *usually* care less.

But staying in an aviation related field would be helpful.
 
DeltaGuy
Posts: 3965
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RE: Backup Degree For Wannabe Pilots?

Tue Oct 23, 2007 2:25 am

Business Degree...piece of kelp.

DeltaGuy
"The cockpit, what is it?" "It's the little room in the front of the plane where the pilot sits, but that's not importan
 
modesto2
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RE: Backup Degree For Wannabe Pilots?

Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:03 am

Is mechanical engineering that bad? I always knew I wanted to be a pilot but completed my bachelor's degree at UCLA in mechanical engineering. While it wasn't comfortable at the time, I am so happy with my decision. Learn about something besides aviation to broaden your horizons, and on a more practical level, have a great back-up degree that's not related to aviation.

When, the airline industry falls, I don't want anything to do with it. And my degree (back-up plan) better not have anything to do with it, either. Feel free to message me with questions or advice. Good luck! (And if you can, stay with mechanical engineering!)
 
AirTranTUS
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RE: Backup Degree For Wannabe Pilots?

Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:33 am

If the Aerospace engineering curriculum is similar to Mechanical at Purdue, then switch to that since you already have credits that work toward it.
I love ASO!
 
joness0154
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RE: Backup Degree For Wannabe Pilots?

Tue Oct 23, 2007 5:06 am

Quoting FutureUALpilot (Reply 3):


I'm a Purdue student as well, majoring in Aviation Technology: Airline Management. Keeps me around aviation without flight being my major, but I still fly on the side. Feel free to PM me with any questions.

As for your original post, do whatever will make you happy. They just want a 4 year degree. My uncle is a 757/767 Captain at AA and majored in finance, I know pilots who have majored in everything from religion, to engineering, to economics. Just do what you will be interested in, and what makes you happy.

Do what he says. I'm doing the exact same thing (except I'm trying to get into aviation consulting while flying/instructing for fun)

FutureUALpilot is in my CFI ground school at Purdue right now. Hah
I don't have an attitude problem. You have a perception problem
 
Ward86IND
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RE: Backup Degree For Wannabe Pilots?

Tue Oct 23, 2007 6:48 am

My major is Aviation Administration with a business minor, and I am working on my PPL here also as my college has an airport (Lewis University). Considering I'm a diabetic flying as a career at this point is a long shot, so I have the AA degree to fall back on. Even if I never fly as a career, my flying background will help me in whatever I decide to do as a career.
Live your dream.
 
bablackpilot
Posts: 101
Joined: Sun Apr 09, 2006 3:36 pm

RE: Backup Degree For Wannabe Pilots?

Tue Oct 23, 2007 6:59 am

Quoting Luisca (Reply 1):
All airlines require is a 4 year degree

Not all airlines require a 4 year degree. All airlines recommend and there are a "few" that require but not "all" require a 4 year degree.
What ever degree you choose to do, be happy with it. Don't waste your money on a degree that won't get you anywhere or anything. If you're going to spend all that money, spend it on something that you will enjoy and learn from.
Personally I have a degree in Computer Science and Aeronautical Science with a minor in Psycology. All three of these are in areas that I enjoy.
My arrogance is only an issue between you and your self-esteem!"
 
n710ps
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RE: Backup Degree For Wannabe Pilots?

Tue Oct 23, 2007 7:25 am

I would highly reccomenda degree in business. It is an easy degree. It has many options if you need a fallback and it is a benifit in the airline world because you can go other places in an airline with that kind of degree if being a glorified bus driver falls apart. Right now I am tetering in debate on whether I want to continue my career in the airlines at all, move to another country where the industry is better or completely go out of it and get into the corperate world and just rent a Seneca 3 every once in a blue moon to keep the cravings controlled personally. Maybe even down the road get into the charter business but it all depends on how high your standards for a quality of life are. In the US from my take on it being in what I do right now and my experince the airline industry is too unstable and will always be that way because of deregulation. I love it to death but the bottom line is you need to be able to survive and the variables of flying commercially and even working in the airline industry here in America are very very exposed. I hate to put a negative spin on being an airline pilot but there are many others who can attest to it and many people I call family (coworkers) are past their prime and have nothing else to go to at this point in their lives. They have had alot taken from them and like me worry every day if something is going to come about in the airline that may knock them out of the running for good. Be careful and decide wisely. Think about your future and what you are willing to risk. Cover all possible options before you dive into anything in this business.
There is plenty of room for Gods animals, right next to the mashed potatoes!
 
cakentennis
Topic Author
Posts: 117
Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2007 7:41 pm

RE: Backup Degree For Wannabe Pilots?

Tue Oct 23, 2007 7:42 am

Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 4):
You could major in fashion design and the airlines could *usually* care less.

I know you meant that as a joke, but I seriously considered it when I was a teenager !  blush 

Quoting Modesto2 (Reply 6):
Is mechanical engineering that bad?

That's what my dad said, but I have my reasons. I figured it'd be irrelevant to explain that.

Quoting AirTranTUS (Reply 7):
If the Aerospace engineering curriculum is similar to Mechanical at Purdue, then switch to that since you already have credits that work toward it.

Nah, I figured that would be worse than doing ME as it would drastically lower my career options.

Quoting Ward86IND (Reply 9):
My major is Aviation Administration with a business minor, and I am working on my PPL here also as my college has an airport (Lewis University). Considering I'm a diabetic flying as a career at this point is a long shot, so I have the AA degree to fall back on. Even if I never fly as a career, my flying background will help me in whatever I decide to do as a career.

I'm glad you reminded me of health issues. Do I need to worry about having a 20-20 vision? cause I don't ! I recently read that they have relaxed their regulations on vision, but I doubt the validity of the source.

Quoting Bablackpilot (Reply 10):
Don't waste your money on a degree that won't get you anywhere or anything. If you're going to spend all that money, spend it on something that you will enjoy and learn from.
Personally I have a degree in Computer Science and Aeronautical Science with a minor in Psycology. All three of these are in areas that I enjoy.

I have a truck load of guilt about that. I'm trying to make things right before they get worse.

At this point I'm thinking about a Business/Management degree with a minor in French. I seriously hope I can pull it off.
 
cakentennis
Topic Author
Posts: 117
Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2007 7:41 pm

RE: Backup Degree For Wannabe Pilots?

Tue Oct 23, 2007 7:47 am

Quoting N710PS (Reply 11):
. I love it to death but the bottom line is you need to be able to survive and the variables of flying commercially and even working in the airline industry here in America are very very exposed.

I don't intend on building a career here in the states, atleast not for the long run. I'm actually an international student and I need to get TSA clearance before any of these plans I'm making can get off the ground. The aviation scene in India looks really promising to me and I think I can manage a good life there.

I'm not really a family oriented person, so the thought of being away from family is a non-issue for me.
 
bablackpilot
Posts: 101
Joined: Sun Apr 09, 2006 3:36 pm

RE: Backup Degree For Wannabe Pilots?

Tue Oct 23, 2007 8:04 am

Quoting Cakentennis (Reply 12):
Do I need to worry about having a 20-20 vision

If you are thinking about flying in the states for a major airline, check this link out http://www.leftseat.com/FAAforms.htm
they have the 1st class medical requirements listed for you. If you don't comply with those and you think you can't get a waiver from the FAA, then find another career. I hate to be blunt but that is what my FAA medical examiner told me when I applied for my first medical over 10+ years ago. He said it's best to find out early if you have medical issues that need to be address before you start working on a goal that won't happen because of medical reasons.
I would recommend that if you are worried about the vision thing, go to your local AME (Aviation Medical Examiner) and get a medical if you can. Get a 3rd class medical and then discuss with the AME the requirements for a 1st class medical and if in your current condition would you be "Medically" able to obtain a 1st class medical.
My arrogance is only an issue between you and your self-esteem!"
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Backup Degree For Wannabe Pilots?

Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:13 pm

I got my degree 13 years ago. Time flies. Anyway my degree is in economics and business. I have since then worked as:
- Computer support dude.
- Stock trader.
- Logistics/IT manager at small office.
- IT consultant.
- Server sales engineer.
- Server brand manager.
- Software sales engineer.


A related example is my wife, who studied marketing and now works as an operations executive in an investment bank. The stuff she studied is totally useless to her now.

As you can see, the specific skills conferred by the degree have not been very useful to me. However the fact that I do have a degree in something "mainstream" has been extremely useful. In any case, once 5-10 years have passed since you graduated, employers don't seem to care that much what you studied, as long as you did.

Bottom line: study something "mainstream" (economics, engineering, medicine or even law, but not archeology) and pick what you will. In hindsight, I would rather have studied computer science (because that's what I enjoy) but there you go.

Note: No disrespect to all the archaeologists on the board, but that sort of thing is only useful on the resume if you actually plan on working in the field.

[Edited 2007-10-23 05:16:36]
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
2H4
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RE: Backup Degree For Wannabe Pilots?

Tue Oct 23, 2007 1:16 pm

Quoting Luisca (Reply 1):
Just choose whatever you like best.

Great advice. Study something you're passionate about. That way, if you get sick of flying, lose your medical, etc, you have an opportunity to look forward to.

The airlines (at least here in the US) generally don't care what degree you have....so long as you have a degree. I knew a guy once who got hired as an Alaska Airlines FO with a degree in zoology.

2H4

Intentionally Left Blank
 
Fly2HMO
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RE: Backup Degree For Wannabe Pilots?

Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:36 pm

Quoting Bablackpilot (Reply 14):
Get a 3rd class medical and then discuss with the AME the requirements for a 1st class medical and if in your current condition would you be "Medically" able to obtain a 1st class medical.

Some AMEs charge the same for all 3 classes so you might as well just get a 1st class right off the bat.
 
bok269
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RE: Backup Degree For Wannabe Pilots?

Wed Oct 24, 2007 2:27 am

I am going to go for Mechanical and/or aerospace (my first choice has them together in a bigger umbrella program) Engineering, potentially with a double major in either Systems/electrical engineering or Business (transportation management).

[Edited 2007-10-23 19:27:45]
"Reality is wrong, dreams are for real." -Tupac
 
RacingGreen07
Posts: 211
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RE: Backup Degree For Wannabe Pilots?

Wed Oct 24, 2007 8:59 am

Quoting Cakentennis (Thread starter):
I don't feel like ME is making me happy and I'm not any good at it either, it kinda sucks that I had to waste 2 1/2 years to realize that. I gave it a shot, and it didn't work out.

At least you tried right? I mean if you hadn't of taken the course you might of regretted it!

I also want to work within the aviation industry and I want to do a degree in business. All that aeronautical and mechanical engineering stuff doesn't appeal to me, however Business does!

Like 101 people in this thread have said, do something your really passionate and interested in. Something you'll devote loads of time too as well as a subject that will promote you to work harder!

I wish you all the best!
A dream worth having is a dream worth pursuing- August Horch- Founder of Audi AG
 
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Jetlagged
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RE: Backup Degree For Wannabe Pilots?

Thu Oct 25, 2007 2:25 am

There's no point continuing with a degree you really don't enjoy. Chances are if you don't like the Mechanical Engineering course won't enjoy being a Mechanical Engineer either (if you fail to be a pilot that is). An aviation related degree would be better. As a prospective pilot you will find it more interesting. If you make it as a pilot, the study might come in handy. If not, you can still get into aviation.
The glass isn't half empty, or half full, it's twice as big as it needs to be.
 
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jetmech
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RE: Backup Degree For Wannabe Pilots?

Thu Oct 25, 2007 2:39 am

Quoting Cakentennis (Thread starter):
I don't feel like ME is making me happy and I'm not any good at it either, it kinda sucks that I had to waste 2 1/2 years to realize that.

I pretty much agree with the sentiment of the other posters in this thread, but do remember that you go to university to get a piece of paper, you are not there to have fun or enjoy yourself. By all means pick an area you are interested in, but do realise you will inevitably get bored of the daily grind of study no matter what you choose.

Regards, JetMech
JetMech split the back of his pants. He can feel the wind in his hair :shock: .
 
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Jetlagged
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RE: Backup Degree For Wannabe Pilots?

Thu Oct 25, 2007 2:43 am

Quoting JetMech (Reply 21):
do remember that you go to university to get a piece of paper, you are not there to have fun or enjoy yourself.

Things must have changed since I went to uni  Wink
The glass isn't half empty, or half full, it's twice as big as it needs to be.
 
Msl747
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Joined: Tue Jul 27, 2004 9:30 am

RE: Backup Degree For Wannabe Pilots?

Thu Oct 25, 2007 3:00 am

I am currently attending community college, planning on transferring to Embry Riddle in Prescott in two years. I am going to Major in Aeronautical Sciences. Becoming an Airline Pilot would indeed be awesome, but I am keeping myself open to other areas in the field of Aviation. The fact that I'm 6' 8" might be an obstacle to becoming a professional pilot, so I am making sure that several other options.
Commercial Pilot Certificate: Single and Multi-Engine Land; Instrument Airplane
 
DKCFII
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RE: Backup Degree For Wannabe Pilots?

Wed Oct 31, 2007 3:20 pm

Right now I'm currently in my seinor year of Mechcanical Enigineering out at CU Boulder, and working as a flight instructor. If you made it through the first two years you can make it through the next two. I find that there are a lot of situations in flying where I get a deeper understanding of whats going on due to my experience in engineering. Like some others have said, any degree you pick will be a grind. I say stick with it, in the end it's always a good backup degree to have. Cheers.
 
bond007
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RE: Backup Degree For Wannabe Pilots?

Wed Oct 31, 2007 6:50 pm

Quoting N710PS (Reply 11):
I would highly reccomenda degree in business. It is an easy degree.

Personally, as somebody who is involved in the hiring business, many of 'us' also think it's an easy degree. I don't necessarily buy that, but I do realize that many people take a 'business degree' because it is fairly broad and straightforward, and a degree for those that "just want a degree". Please also understand that employers also believe that ... whether it's true in your case or not. All other things equal, I might give the guy higher marks that did the Chemistry, or Electronics degree, because that was what he really wanted to learn.

Sure, a degree does make a difference, but I sometimes cringe (and no offense personally if you have one), when I see resumes from all these folks with psychology degrees.

Hey, like the others. Do something you're going to enjoy, take an interest in, and of course, might be of some use in the real world.

hey, I have a Computer Science degree, and an Aeronautical Science one (later in life)... both of them because I love the subjects.


Jimbo
I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was in the air, than in the air wishing I was on the ground!
 
speedracer1407
Posts: 330
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RE: Backup Degree For Wannabe Pilots?

Wed Oct 31, 2007 7:14 pm

Quoting JetMech (Reply 21):
do remember that you go to university to get a piece of paper, you are not there to have fun or enjoy yourself.

Nonsense. I'm surprized, JetMech, that you would have such a crummy view of the university experience. Look, you get from the degree what put into it. If you're there for a piece of paper, then fine. But you will have learned only how to perform tasks that may or may not be asked of you at a future job. If you're there learn something, then you can leave University with your degree AND a better understanding of yourself and your world. Sure, the study can be drudgery, but so can work, even work that you like. And if plodding through business and accounting doesn't sound like fun, why not go for something in the humanities?

O
Dassault Mercure: the plane that has Boeing and Airbus shaking in their boots.
 
charlipr
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RE: Backup Degree For Wannabe Pilots?

Wed Oct 31, 2007 9:32 pm

I did Aviation Management from The Ohio State University, and quiet frankly, it has worked-out for me.
 
sanjet
Posts: 205
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 1:58 am

RE: Backup Degree For Wannabe Pilots?

Thu Nov 01, 2007 12:38 am

If going for a degree, I'd choose something completely different from aviation. It would be a good back up to have incase the industry hits the fan again. What's the point of having a degree in the aviation field if the industry goes upside down? At least you can get a job in another industry.
Will Fly For Food!
 
cakentennis
Topic Author
Posts: 117
Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2007 7:41 pm

RE: Backup Degree For Wannabe Pilots?

Wed Nov 07, 2007 9:14 pm

Quoting Charlipr (Reply 27):
I did Aviation Management from The Ohio State University, and quiet frankly, it has worked-out for me.

That's my final plan as of now. I've decided to transfer to Krannert at Purdue. They're still in the top 30, I've heard.

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