The pilot shortage? Blame 4 year degrees!

GypsyPilot

Well-Known Member
This is an article from last spring, but just showed up in one of my financial news feeds as a “Fact of the Day”.

It’s pretty hilarious how horrible it is... None of the airlines she listed have or will ever have a shortage! Even those second rate cargo operators UPS and FedEx that she mentioned.

 

FlyingAccountant

Well-Known Member
I stopped reading when she compared aviation to the culinary field.

Anyone can get a cheap paper mill four year degree and check the box. I mean, hell, the traditional four year large state school I graduated from was charging me $2500 for a full load semester, so $20k total for a four year degree? You can cash flow that with a pretty basic job.

She quotes $75k for flight training and then goes on to say a four year degree and the flight training can cost a combined $200k.

Who's paying $125k for a four year degree? No one outside of an Ivy league school and those guys likely aren't going into aviation with a pedigree like that anyway.
 
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mastermags

Well-Known Member *giggity*
I stopped reading when she compared aviation to the culinary field.

Anyone can get a cheap paper mill four year degree and check the box. I mean, hell, the traditional four year large state school I graduated from was charging me $2500 for a full load semester, so $20k total for a four year degree? You can cash flow that with a pretty basic job.

She quotes $75k for flight training and then goes on to say a four year degree and the flight training can cost a combined $200k.

Who's paying $125k for a four year degree? No one outside of an Ivy league school and those guys likely aren't going into aviation with a pedigree like that anyway.
Um, a lot of people are paying $125k, especially with room and board and fees.
 

JordanD

Honorary Member
lol. I think FedEx was the only one on that list that actually requires a four year degree.
 

USMCmech

Well-Known Member
AA has effectively dropped the degree requirement with their flow from Envoy, etc. PSA will hire you with no degree no problem.

I'm firmly in the Mike Rowe camp when it comes to how our society has oversold the idea of sending everyone to college. A degree in Art History, or my degree in Business Admin brings absolutely nothing to an airline cockpit. I was the same guy after I graduated college as I was when I entered. I learned some stuff, but I could have paid a lot less.

Having said that, yeah that article is way off base. The majors are still going to be selective, and while I expect them to start looking at candidates they would have looked past in years gone by for now, you still need to check the box.
 
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killbilly

Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens
There is a pretty good point made in this article:

Greater attention ought to be paid to improving flight schools, on top of encouraging a new wave of pilots and instructors by removing barriers like the four-year degree mandate.
Bolded emphasis mine. You'd have a better training pipeline if the role of a CFI was considered a career that paid a commensurate amount to be one. It is the only job I've ever seen that most (not all) love doing, and abandon it as soon as they can because there is no advancement or quality pay or benefits.
 
AA has effectively dropped the degree requirement with their flow from Envoy, etc. PSA will hire you with no degree no problem.

I'm firmly in the Mike Rowe camp when it comes to how our society has oversold the idea of sending everyone to college. A degree in Art History, or my degree in Business Admin brings absolutely nothing to an airline cockpit. I was the same guy after I graduated college as I was when I entered. I learned some stuff, but I could have paid a lot less.

Having said that, yeah that article is way off base. The majors are still going to be selective, and while I expect them to start looking at candidates they would have looked past in years gone by.
Yes, for the "flow". But trying getting in OTS without a degree. Also, if you're in the "flow", or they stop it outright, or severely limit it. Try getting out of it and to the next level elsewhere without a degree to the likes of UA, SWA, DL or anywhere else, sans degree. Nope. You're stuck. Probably a good reason why they don't have a degree requirement. To keep their regional feed stocked.
 

killbilly

Vocals, Lyrics, Triangle, Washboard, Kittens
I'm of the opinion (shared by many here) that if that's what the Company wants, that's what they want. You want to work there, you do the paper.

It's worth remembering, too, that a historically VAST swath of airline pilots came from the military, and typically you had to have a degree to be an officer to have flight status. (Not always - I know there are exceptions, but these are a small minority in the big picture.)

So - although I understand the requirement, as well as the need to weed out the thousands of resumes that hit the pile, I also wonder if updated thinking and newer/different procedures can and should be considered in the hiring environment. I don't know this to be true, I'm just wondering aloud if the paradigm should be updated.
 

Nark

Sheepdog
You guys easily forget that the Army has Warrant Officers, which are officers, but no degree is required.

There hundreds, if not a thousand, Army rotary pilots in the training pipeline for various regionals at the moment. Some have flows to the “big leagues.”

This is kind of like when the ATP rule came in to affect in 2014?. I didn’t pay much attention, as I already had an ATP. Same rings true for the degree requirement. I’m not going to lose sleep over an opinion piece that’s disguised as an article.
 

Murdoughnut

Well sized member
A degree shows a basic level of motivation, and the ability to accomplish something - which, if you've been paying attention to what's especially being written about young men in this country, is becoming less common. In a world where people increasingly over-hype their accomplishments through social media channels, being able to at least see the paper saying they finished is worth something - particularly if you're going to get a thousand degree holders apply.

I should note, however, that my last hire did not have a degree. He enlisted in the Navy, and spent nearly three decades doing the work we do immediately after. I turned down a young super star with a Masters degree for him and never regretted it.

I guess the point is that a degree isn't important if you can show that you've done something. Hard to do when you're 25.
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
Bolded emphasis mine. You'd have a better training pipeline if the role of a CFI was considered a career that paid a commensurate amount to be one. It is the only job I've ever seen that most (not all) love doing, and abandon it as soon as they can because there is no advancement or quality pay or benefits.
It’s funny how what’s old is new again. I’m back to CFIing as side work, and putting in to be a DE. And it’s pretty enjoyable with having over 3 decades of experience behind me. I see these young CFIs at these local schools struggling to make it and move up, and I agree about the lack of quality pay and benefits that would likely keep some of them around.
 
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