Ive been thinking about going back to school and am wondering if a masters is helpful. Or is a four year degree the only big education threshold? Does it matter what field you study or just that you have one? Thanks in advance for any input.
Well, it's certainly not going to hurt your chances.
Honestly though, master degrees are a dime a dozen in the real world. Once you've crossed the 4 year degree hurdle the major airlines really only care about PIC time, the amount and quality of that time (ex: scheduled multi-engine turbine time). Having a lot of PIC time and a master's degree may set you apart from the competition when slots are few, but since flying airplanes doesn't require a master's, I'm not sure how much it is weighed during the selection process.
If you're going to get a master's degree then I'd suggest getting it in something you'd be interested in if you lose your airline career.
I don’t see why a master’s degree wouldn’t be helpful, especially if it is outside of aviation. Most everyone has seen the posts about getting your college degree in a non-aviation field as a backup (Wouldn’t it be nice if there were no such things as health problems and one could keep their first/second class medical status forever.) Not only would this degree be helpful in the “corporate” environment. I would see it advantageous if you wanted to help represent your pilots union or transition to a non flying job within the airline, especially if you find out after a year or two that you don’t like flying, being away from home, etc. I would say if you have the time to do it, go for it. With the economic down turn and job shortages, master degree programs are flooded with students. There are currently record numbers in enrollment for advance degree programs and its been this way for the last three years. Since students aren’t finding jobs right out of school they are sticking around for a MA or MBA. Looking at it from a non-flying perspective (a.k.a. having a backup plan), at some point the economy will recover and when it does and these folks gain some experience they will be extremely marketable for management and upper level positions. They will make the future job market field a little more competitive especially if the experience level between applicants is equal and one does have an advance degree. These are just my thoughts, good luck in what ever you decide.