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Is an ATPL equal to BSc or BA?

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Is an ATPL equal to BSc or BA?

Old 3rd Jun 2017, 09:41
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Is an ATPL equal to BSc or BA?

This follows on from a previous thread, in which I questioned why a FI Rating has no status as a qualification outside aviation, likewise the same applis to the PPL, CPL and ATPL. This is a problem if someone does not have a first degree and wants to study for a Masters or PhD. UK Universities treat it on a case by case basis.

The combined UK Government website Gov.uk lists the equivalents for academic qualifications between the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) and the framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ). The UK also has the NVQ system which goes from 1 to 5, 5 being the top end so a masters or PhD. The FHEQ goes from 1 to 7.

Under FHEQ, HND is 5, BA or BSc is 6, MSc or MPhil is 7, PhD is 8, the FHEQ system seems much bettter than the NVQ system.

Does any one know if there is any equivalence in terms FHEQ system, in terms of PPL, CPL, ATPL, as I would say an ATPL is equivalent to FHEQ 6 (BSc or BA).

Is a pity that pilots spend quite alot of time and money on studying, yet the CAA have never engaged with the Higher Education community and FHEQ. To add to this any pilot leaving aviation for whatever reason can have real problems, in terms of employment, as most half decent jobs require a degree thesedays.

Goes anyone have any experience of this, and I would be interested what the situation is in North america.
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Old 3rd Jun 2017, 14:55
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ATPL theory only just about reaches GCSE difficulty; it is no way comparable to degree level study.
If we made ATPL principals of flight on par with BEng level Aerodynamics I suspect 70% of pilots out there would never pass the ATPLs. The fact is the educational level needed to be a pilot these days isn't actually that great. The way the ground school on a modern type rating also means the technical knowledge needed to pass a modern type rating is also quite low. If someone chooses to go straight to pilot training at 18 without first getting some other career then that is the chance they take.

If you want to do a MSc or a PHd then sorry go and do a degree first. Interestingly in North America all the Major airlines require a College Degree anyway.
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Old 3rd Jun 2017, 15:43
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portsharbourflying.... Not sure I agree with you, but respect your opinion. and you have a valid point about getting a first degree, but the cost!. I have to add I have known pilots to do a masters or PhD, without a first degree, on the basis of a UK ATPL and research and experience in aviation. For example a Masters Aviation Management, I see not need for an ATPL holder and experienced line pilot to hod a first degree.

As for PPL, I recently looked at the GCSE in meteorology and climate, and I would say that is comprobable to the PPL Meteorology, I would say A levels are comparable to the CPL theory and practical.

As for equating the ATPL to a first degree, its not just the theorectical exams but the practical skills set aquired in flying, such as the practical skill set an undergraduate might aquire. say as a biochemist or in genetics.

I think that these days degree courses are highly variable, Mathematics being the most difficult degree in my opinion and at the other end of the scale, BSc Surf Science and Technology (Plymouth University), BSc Golf Management (Birmingham Universiity), BA Creative Writing (UEA), surely the ATPL theory, technicals IR and 1500 hrs flying is more worthy of equivalent degree status than the three previously mentioned degrees.

Last edited by Homsap; 3rd Jun 2017 at 15:55.
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Old 3rd Jun 2017, 16:06
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Embry Riddle have some programs for BA and MA studies in combination with an ATPL where some "credits" can be cross assigned between the two. Although "my" FTO is one of their partners in Europe I don't know the details. IIRC the ATPL will be credited at around 1/3 of a bachelor's degree in aeronautics or similar. But you really should inquire with them directly.

Myself I got my degrees in aerospace engineering before the ATPL. In my experience, in terms of difficulty and effort the ATPL theory was about 1/10 of the bachelor in engineering (and 1/100 of my ph.d) and this is what I personally would credit for it.
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Old 3rd Jun 2017, 18:46
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Is an ATPL equal to BSc or BA?
Its neither, an ATPL is a Licence; a Permit to conduct a function, like a gun licence or a dog licence, or a fishing licence. Any academic endeavor in obtaining that licence may have parallels however; flying licences, at whatever level are just licences, not academic qualifications.
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Old 3rd Jun 2017, 19:47
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Woopity, while I respect you your posts, in the past I need to say fifteen years ago, someone training as a state registered nurse quaulified as a SRN, but these days nurses qualify with a BSc, likewise Radigrapehers and Dieticians. The training and I stand to be corrected, is a third academics and two thirds practical. So why is it any different with pilots.

I need to add I think alot of people travelling in first class from say LHR to LAX would not imagine that P1 and P2 are considered below graduate level. Worse still if the bean counters get on to this they will be demanding pilots are paid less than nurses.

I would add that if a RAF pilot gains his/her wings and completes OCU, that should have equilient status to BSc, but who the awarding body would be, who knows.

i think I need to add the ATPL is a qualification as well as a licence, unlike my TV licence for which i did not take exams. What I actually object to is that if I was quaulified as a surgeon under the Royal College of Surgeons, I retain that quaulification until death,, so why can retired ATPLs not retain an ATPL up to any age, but with PPL priviledges, it it very disrespectal, to ex airline pilots, they quualified, they are entitled to their qualification aa experienced pilots.

Last edited by Homsap; 3rd Jun 2017 at 20:16.
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Old 3rd Jun 2017, 20:52
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i think I need to add the ATPL is a qualification as well as a licence,
That is not the view of the CAA!
why can retired ATPLs not retain an ATPL up to any age, but with PPL priviledges,
They can, I have one and do!
these days nurses qualify with a BSc
Then why not become a Doctor? Neither a nurse nor a policeman needs a degree to do their job.

I spent a long time in the RAF training people with and without degrees, with a few exceptions I could not tell the difference.
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Old 3rd Jun 2017, 21:30
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Does any one know if there is any equivalence in terms FHEQ system, in terms of PPL, CPL, ATPL, as I would say an ATPL is equivalent to FHEQ 6 (BSc or BA).
Yes, I do. There is none.

There used to be a Level 4 NVQ (with parity of esteem with a foundation degree) in piloting transport aircraft, with which I was closely involved, but it was almost universally and cynically misused as a vehicle for tax avoidance and was, consequently, withdrawn. As I recall, only one was ever issued, to a senior BA Captain on the sole basis of a portfolio of evidence with zero assessment. If nothing else, the exercise served to demonstrate the unbridgeable void between academic theory and the real world.
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Old 4th Jun 2017, 10:19
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Whopity some good points, I could never see why both nursing and policing as a profession needed to become a degree qualified profession, but it is the way the world is going. I just feel that ATPL's are in danger of having a lower status than nurses and policemen.

I agree with you in respect ex RAF piliots and airline pilots, I have met some outstanding people without degrees with expertise in flight safety and training, likewise some not outstanding peple with degrees.
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Old 4th Jun 2017, 11:16
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I'm not sure that pilot licenses have any equivalence with educational qualifications. Amongst other things qualifications, once gained, remain in place where as pilot licences require currency. I think a nearer equivalence would be professional registrations.

I'm a lapsed PPL/IMC, but my professional post-nominals are "MSc C.Eng MIET". The "MSc" is my most senior "qualification", the "C.Eng" is my professional registration (Chartered Engineer) and the "MIET" is the membership status of the professional institution which polices my behaviour and currency.

I could be a C.Eng without any degrees (it's more difficulty, but it can be done) and having the degrees is not enough to get C.Eng accreditation. To get the C.Eng accreditation you need to demonstrate a certain minimum level of "underpinning knowledge and understanding" (aka "UK&U" - for Chartered level the level is the equivalent of a Masters and an Honours in engineering disciplines). You then have to demonstrate a history in which you have exhibited five "competencies" (Theory of engineering, application of theory to real problems, management & leadership, communication and professional behaviour). These are assessed by assertion, reference and interview. If you are passed through this process then you must continue to show compliance with the codes of conduct and also undertake a minimum of 30 hours "continuing professional development" per year to maintain the registration.

Now I haven't seen anything in the process of getting to ATPL that has equivalence to an academic qualification, but I *can* see an equivalence to a professional registration. You have the three elements - a minimum level of "UK&U" (aerodynamics, air law, meteorology, navigation theory etc etc), a history of demonstrating the required competencies and a requirement for continuing development/training to remain current. As others have said, the required academic level of the UK&U is sub-A-level (in British terms), so I suspect the level of equivalence wouldn't be at Chartered level except for those pilots who DO have higher degrees, but I could support an argument for Equivalence with Incorporated Engineer.

Of course there would need to be a suitable Institute to assess, award and police these registrations for this idea to have any mileage.
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Old 4th Jun 2017, 12:43
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How can an ATPL possibly be equivalent to a degree? Ludicrously pretentious idea!
ATPL. 1 year. Degree 3 years.
ATPL is (a great deal of) rote learning but not to such a high intellectual standard as GCSE. Not even more than a most basic knowledge of Trig needed. NO original thought or thesis appropriate, let alone required. Degree requires several GCSEs to commence it and involves significant amounts of original thought and logical argument.
Chalk and cheese.

As for PPL Met being equivalent to GCSE Climate and Weather (OK, I admit I've never seen the coursework) but I can't believe anyone could pass that after 2 days study, which is all PPL Met takes.

What's this fetish for degrees anyway? Many of the stupidest people I ever knew had two or more degrees. The RAF stopped requiring them for a while in the '70s whan the chop rate increased to an unacceptable level. I, with hundreds of others, joined the RN as a helo pilot on a minimum reguirement of 5 "O" Levels. Go figure. Pilots are doers, not thinkers.
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Old 4th Jun 2017, 15:25
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PDR1 ... yes your comments on chartered status are interesting. but it always amuses me when people put MRAES after their name.

As to noflynomore. There is of course a fetish about degress, I think in the in the 1970 only about five percent of people leaving school went onto university, and I'm not sure how many go to university these days, but due to the large number, the government had no choice to apply tuition fees. I was under the impression that in the seventies in respect of Officer Cadets, graduates went to RAFC and non graduates went to RAF Halton, or am I wrong. The good thing about the RAF in the last thirty years is they look for potential in terms of leadership, teamwork and of course academic sucess, it was 5 GCE in the eighties, I think you now need A levels, but not a degree.Did the RAF ever only accept applicants for GDP's from graduates?

Also, ATPL in a year? I have a niece doing a Bsc in Physiotherapy, I will check with her but I guess like nursing or radiography it's probably a third academics and two thirds practical. So getting back to the ATPL, you couldn't do the flying hours and academics in a year. Again equating on time, I remember a head of training in a well known euuropean airline, suggesting that a BSc could easily be achieved in two years, the academics at this conference were livid, he was of course correct, if academic terms were longer or should I say full time and students were not spendind their summers inter railing, BUNAC, or whatever they do these days.
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Old 4th Jun 2017, 18:06
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Originally Posted by Homsap View Post
Also, ATPL in a year?
That would be very sporty... A full time theory course takes around 5 months. Allow two months preparation for the exam and a smart student will have passed his theory exams after 7 months. He would then have to fly 10 hours a week for the remaining five months to complete his ATPL in a year. Certainly doable but the weather must be right and the aircraft serviceable and instructors available.

This would be like two semesters at university (one for the theory, one for the practical training). A bachelor study in engineering typically lasts 6 semesters at university and one semester doing some practical stuff.
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Old 4th Jun 2017, 20:34
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what next: in the early '70's BA ran sponsored courses for their cadets at OATS. This produced a CPL/IR + ATPL theory in 54 weeks!

PS in those days the course required 230 hrs of flying + 70 hrs of simulated flight (LINK - yes LINK! + Frasca + Comet sim. )

Last edited by Meikleour; 4th Jun 2017 at 21:29. Reason: Typo
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Old 4th Jun 2017, 21:18
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Originally Posted by Homsap View Post
...but it always amuses me when people put MRAES after their name.
Why? The RAeS is an engineering institution licensed by the Engineering Council. You can only use the "MRAeS" post-nominal if you have achieve full membership. You can only achieve full Membership by demonstrating certain education, competences and experience - it's not just a matter of paying membership subs. Achieving that membership is a first step on the path to gaining Engineering Council registration as a professional engineer at EngTech, I.Eng. or C.Eng level (or you could do it through one of the other licensed institutes like the IMechE, IET etc). So I'm not sure why you sneer at it - an inferiority complex, perhaps?
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Old 4th Jun 2017, 21:44
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"I need to add I think alot of people travelling in first class from say LHR to LAX would not imagine that P1 and P2 are considered below graduate level. Worse still if the bean counters get on to this they will be demanding pilots are paid less than nurses".

Sorry Homsap, A Pilot is not an occupation that requires a high academic entry level; the academic requirement to be a pilot is GCSE level. Other than the main stream airlines a lot of pilot jobs are not that well paid. A lot of turbo prop first officer salaries are only about 20 to 25K a year. Although in the long run the pay can be good, for most of us it would mean going bankrupt before we can/could get there.
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Old 4th Jun 2017, 22:27
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Originally Posted by Meikleour View Post
what next: in the early '70's BA ran sponsored courses for their cadets at OATS. This produced a CPL/IR + ATPL theory in 54 weeks!

PS in those days the course required 230 hrs of flying + 70 hrs of simulated flight (LINK - yes LINK! + Frasca + Comet sim. )
Not exactly degree scale in any way, is it?

Academic requirement is perhaps as much as 3-4 GCSEs in a year, if that.
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Old 5th Jun 2017, 10:52
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I have a BEng as well as being a chartered engineer. ATPL theory is nowhere near degree level, certainly not an engineering degree.

And anyway, why would you want an aviation qualification (be it a license or a rating) to be considered equivalent to anything outside of aviation?
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Old 5th Jun 2017, 13:09
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PDR.. I'm sorry if I caused you and others offencewith my comments, I accept that MRAES may be the first step to professional accreditation. I have checked the RAES wedsite, and you need to have a degree and four years experience or without a degree fifteen years experience, plus the fee.

I have to say, my view was rather jaundiced, beause I have known people in the adscence on post nominal in the form a degree or chartered status have 'bought' a MRAES as a post nomininal, to give the impression they are more qualified than they are when seeking consultancy work. I think it would be better if the M was removed it give the impression of a masters, why not simply use RAES as a post nominal.

As for post nominals in surgery a MRCS incolves post graduate exams to be passed, likewise does FRCS again its based on further exams. I believe MRCP which GP's have is the same process.

In respect of I and probably everyone else on this thread upon payment of 302 to the RAES, could put MRAES after their name, which rather goes against how you describe it as part of a developmental process. As for me I think two academic post nominals is enough and as to my membership of RAES, as Groucho Marx said 'I would never want to a meber of a club who would have me as a member'

Again PDR, soory for any offence and clarifying the position.

Last edited by Homsap; 6th Jun 2017 at 17:28.
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Old 5th Jun 2017, 21:50
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Homsap,

I will agree with you to an extent MRAES and CEng mean very little; there are two year graduate training schemes in some companies that allow someone to gain charter-ship by getting them to jump through the necessary hoops to tick off the boxes for charter-ship; without necessarily gaining competence in any one technical specialisation.

In Aerospace certainly in my field no one puts that much emphasis on charter-ship; I have never needed it, there are other industries where it is regarded and required but certainly not in Aerospace.

Check, Design and CVE approvals under Part 21 are the important thing and none of those require CEng or MRAES. I normally find that the competence of a person is inversely proportional to the letters displayed in the email signatures. The best Engineers I know even if they have CEng and PHd will tend to keep it quiet. Those with the three line email signatures with every letter they can muster tend to be the less competent (to put it politely).
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