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Which types of degrees for aviation/piloting are available?

Is it better to get an Associate or Bachelor's degree in aviation/piloting? #college #aviation #airline-industry #pilot #commercial-pilot #flight-instruction

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Rico’s Answer

Highly recommend a bachelor's degree vs. an associate degree.

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Kevin’s Answer

Degree in Aeronautics would be helpful. Look at Embry Riddle

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Sean’s Answer

All great advice above. I strongly recommend a Bachelor's Degree, as they are required be almost all the US airlines. For an example, I have a great friend who is an excellent pilot and has 10,000+ hrs of excellent experience, half of which is on a wide-body aircraft flying internationally, and he can't even apply to most US airlines just because he doesn't have his degree. It really is shame, but unfortunately that's the way it is. Hopefully he can find a way around the requirement. Now, later in life, he is finishing his degree on line; always telling me that he wishes he had finished school first. So, that said, I suggest you go to a 4 year school, that has a flying program and get credit for your flying (two birds with one stone). Embry-Riddle is a great school, but very expensive. There are many other flight schools/colleges out there with 4yr degrees (ie... Southeastern Oklahoma State, Averrett College, University of North Dakota, etc...). These have great programs (quality for cost effectiveness) and when it's all said and done, your FAA Pilot's Certificate is the same. This is a great time to be starting a flying career. Best of Luck!

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Candise’s Answer

I would say that if it's financially possible, it's better to obtain a Bachelor's than an associates degree. There are still some niche parts of the aviation world where a Bachelor's degree isn't necessary, but I think it's more common to have a Bachelor's degree in something aviation related if that is the industry you're committed to, and you want to advance within the industry over the long term. Given the availability and affordability of online courses, 2 + 2 programs where you do an Associates degree at a community college and then 'transfer' to a national college or university co-located at the same physical location, obtaining a Bachelor's degree in aviation science, aviation management, etc. is more accessible than ever. To answer the question regarding degrees/majors, they are typically Bachelor's in aviation science, aeronautical science, aviation management, and flight focused degrees Associate's like professional pilot, applied flight, or something along those lines.


If your goal is to be a PILOT for the rest of your life, you could first obtain a flight training/pilot training Associates degree, then transfer/advance to a Bachelor's degree that is typically more well-rounded. There are many, MANY programs out there including Embry-Riddle, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Liberty University, that do the remaining 2 years and essentially allow you to obtain a Bachelor's degree online, possibly while you're working as a flight instructor or something to build hours and experience. In my opinion, obtaining a flight instructor rating or airline transport pilot license requires you to amass a body of knowledge that is at least comparable to completing a college major, so you might as well do it. The general education classes required to obtain a Bachelor's degree also should keep you more well-rounded in the long run.


Finally, if you look at a lot of the pilot jobs out there and how airlines and some helicopter operators work, some of them are starting to require a Bachelor's degree in order to be more selective, and it's almost always stated as 'preferred.' Outside the airlines, there are a lot of operators like NetJets, AirMethods, etc. that are very 'institutional' and having the experience of getting through an 'institution of higher learning' demonstrates that you are more likely to make it in such a setting.


If you want to do something very specialized like be a bush pilot in Alaska or agricultural spraying, the Bachelor's degree probably doesn't matter.

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Tyler’s Answer

Great advice by Candise above and I agree with everything said. A bachelor degree is obviously going to be preferred and most likely required for most top level jobs. Can I offer an alternate pilot career track based on the current pilot hiring conditions (which are very good!).

Do all of you pilot training through CFI first. The training is difficult and very expensive. It would be best to find out this is in fact the career path you want before investing in a aviation degree that will be worthless without the flying credentials.

This path would allow you to flight instruct while later attending college which would be an excellent way to make money in limited hours while attending school. By the time you graduate from college you should have the 1500 hours required to be employed by the airlines and minimal debt.

Best of luck and safe flying!
Tyler

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