PPRuNe Forums - View Single Post - Do a degree, be an instructor, don't be too impressed by flying hours....
Old 7th Jan 2015, 11:33
  #9 (permalink)  
taxistaxing
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Central London
Age: 37
Posts: 311
Comparing this to my own background and prejudices - I have two aeronautical engineering degrees, and later did a CPL. I also designed the syllabus of one of the UK's "aero-eng + pilot studies" courses. On the other hand, I've been arguing for years that degree education and pilot training should really be regarded separately: this paper seems to say that I was wrong, and those three years spent putting that degree course together really weren't wasted. [I'm deliberately not saying which one, so don't ask - but anyhow, I am no longer inolved with it in any significant way.]
A fascinating document, many thanks for uploading.

Although sadly, given the cost of degrees these days, I wonder how meaningful this study really is for the notional 18 year old aspiring aviator starting from scratch who is about to be faced with some rather expensive life choices. The 40k+ tuition fees and living costs of many degree programmes would go a long way towards obtaining professional flying qualifications and some valuable experience.

This is further compounded by the fact that, rightly or wrongly, the flight training fraternity and indeed airlines seem to place little emphasis on rigorous academic ability and rather more on ability to pay. I'm just not sure that the limited additional benefit of having a degree on your cv when looking for an aviation job would justify the costs involved.

I realise that this isn't really comparing apples with apples in sense that, unlike flying training costs, the 45k spent on a university education is available as a student loan at low interest rates, only repaid from salary above a certain earnings threshold etc. Nonetheless it is a substantial debt to be saddled with at a young age. Particularly for someone who is then going to have to find tens of thousands of pounds to fund flight training.

Given this backdrop I'm not sure I would advise our notional 18 year old to embark on a degree at all if he or she knew from the outset they wanted to be a professional pilot.

At the risk of going slightly off topic, it is a sad state of affairs in my view that as the cost of academic study goes up people are increasingly forced to conduct a cold cost-benefit-analysis of how likely they are to secure a high paying job off the back of their degree in order to justify doing it in the first place. There is seemingly no room any longer for the lofty notion that academic study should be seen as an end in its own right, pursued purely to further oneself.

Ironically it is probably the widening of access to university level education that has created this scenario - so many people now go to university (many of whom would be better advised to spend their time and money doing something else) that the government can no longer afford the cost of subsidising the fees.

EDIT: the above is written from the perspective of the UK employment market. I understand that in the states a university degree is a prerequisite to getting hired by a major airline so the considerations will clearly be very different here.

Last edited by taxistaxing; 7th Jan 2015 at 12:51.
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