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Academic Qualifications

Old 13th Feb 2001, 16:18
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Academic Qualifications

What value does the CAA/Jaa/ Airlines place on academic quals. I have no english 'O' level and don't know if this will prevent me from getting on a course with a flight training organisation. I do have higher engineering quals but don't know if its enough? HELP!
Old 13th Feb 2001, 17:51
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The classic outline that the CAA set out for academic qualifications is 5 GCSE's including English Language, Maths and a Science subject. However this does not mean that these are pre-requisites to the course. All the CAA are doing is recommending that the candidate have sufficient knowledge of these subjects to start the course. In fact many schools will ask you to work through a induction pack before the course starts.
If you have higher engineering qualifications then I would think that this wouls prove that your are not stupid and are perfectly able to do the course.
Some schools may put barriers up but if you prove to them that you are up to it then I'm sure there won't be a problem.
Old 13th Feb 2001, 18:35
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Lets hope your right. Thanks for your comments. Guess i've just got to sort the money out now.
Old 2nd May 2002, 11:37
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Academic Qualifications?


I am told that airlines like BA etc only require 5 A-C GCSEs and 2 A-levels.

Now that sounds great for me as i am interested in becoming a pilot but i would still like the opportunity to go to Uni.

Am i giving myslef a very large advantage over other applicants if i take a degree or do the airlines not mind either way?

any comments welcome,


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Old 2nd May 2002, 12:19
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Hi Jimbo,

It really depends on what you actually study at University. At the end of the day (as far as I am aware) the fact you have a degree is simply a piece of paper saying you can complete a degree course to the required standard and is of little advantage at the interview stage for airlines.

It may help your training if you undertake a physics or maths related degree subject to get your head around some of the ATPL modules when you come to them. You can also sign up for the University Air Squadron and get some free flying in and have a great time doing it.

Not sure if this directly answers your question but good luck. One last point, I think the best advantage of doing the degree is that it gives you more experience of living (horrible, horrible cliche I know) which looks good on the application form and provides you with a good fall back if the flight training does not go according to plan. Always have a backup plan!

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Old 2nd May 2002, 12:29
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thanks alot for your advice mate, wil bear it in mind when i finally get there, im only first year college at the moment!
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Old 2nd May 2002, 21:02
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High Flying Bird
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Of course, doing a degree in any subject also builds up other skills, like time management, and team work etc etc. Bugga, it's late, wanna write my report for me?

Oh, and for those considering doing a postgrad course of some sort, it's GREAT for that future airline career. You get really used to having no money, and working all hourse of the night. Coffee can be pretty grim too!
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Old 2nd May 2002, 21:22
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I would argue that a degree in the case of BA gets you up in the crowd who ARE invited to interviews and are successful. Certainly those are the minimum qualifications, but with so many keen beans, who is to be chosen? Given a choice between someone straight out of school, and a graduate or someone who has been in a relevant industry for a while, the decision would more likely go to the latter, simply as they are better able to be the top dog at selection.

Don't worry about the degree subject, worry about the classification and where you do it.
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Old 26th May 2002, 19:48
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Anyone completed ATPL intergrated without A levels?

Hi im young, naive and unqualified. i.e im 17, want to become a commercial pilot (paid), and quit my A levels earlier this year due to personal problems.
I quit the A levels (maths, physics, english lang) not because im stupid (well i must be in a way because i quit them), but had absolutely no motivation (due to personal probs possibly).

But anyone I want to know from anyone who has or is going to do an intergrated ATPL without ever doing A levels.

I myself am confident that I can learn, apply and adapt but it would naive of me to spend an awful lot of someone elses money (family/banks) on an ATPL at hopefully Jerez and suddenly realise that im lacking certain basic knowledge.

So please anyone I would love some advice.
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Old 26th May 2002, 20:19
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Jet Blast Rat
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Why integrated? You will not get sponsorship without A-levels, nor a first job with the majors. Therefore a modular course would be a cheaper route, giving you more hours with no penalty. There is no real penalty now in any case, as all are approved.

If you have been talking to Jerez they may have been persuading you this route as I think they only do integrated. At least consider modular (I admit I work for an FTO that only does modular, but what I say is true).
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Old 26th May 2002, 21:58
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Exams - level of difficulty

Just an observation from someone half way through modular ground school ...

I'd say the level of understanding required in the ATPL exams is close to or at A Level science standard - certainly in theory of flight, instruments and aircraft performance - also in parts of the aircraft systems papers - hydraulics, piston engines, gas turbines etc.

Other subjects like human performance are essentially a memory test, albeit interesting !. If you are numerate the mass and balance should be very straightforward. The two comms papers should be a walk over for any well trained UK PPL pilot.

Some of my friends on the course left school before 18 (or have been out of education for a long time) and have had some struggles with what may be seen as the "academic" parts of the course.

I know that Oxford are considering either a foundation course or an entrance test or both for future modular students. Seems a good idea & their pass rate is already high.

You need to take a good look at your own experience / competance so that you will get the most out of the course that you select - For myself I found that having read all Trevor Thom's books for PPL cover to cover was a very good preparation. The thing that you will not be prepared for is the sheer volume of information that the ATPL course will require you to absorb.

Your choice of distance learning or modular course not only depends on the depth of your pockets, but also on how long you want to take with the exams and how you rate your self discipline of getting down to the studying.

Hope this helps, best of luck,

D 129
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Old 26th May 2002, 23:43
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I completed my ATPL without A-Levels and also employed sitting in the pointy end.

The advice above is good, if you are looking for sponsorship then there is no way a airline is going to pay for it without A-Levels at the least.

I kid you not it is very hard work and there is a lot of it and once you get your first job you find it's a career of on going exams and tests, it never stops.
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Old 27th May 2002, 11:28
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If you're motivated enough, A-Levels are irrelevant. Believe it. The ATPL exams are not easy, but they are RELEVANT. That's the key word here, and that's why many of us didn't have an interest in secondary level qualifications. Too much [email protected] If you like it it'll seem easy.

niallcooney is offline  
Old 27th May 2002, 19:56
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You don't need A-levels to do an ATPL. You do need them to get a job with most airlines - although the need for them is inversely proportional to your age and experience (ie the younger/less experienced you are, the more you need them).

However, more importantly than that, you do need to prepare for the possibility (even probability for the moment) that you may well not end up flying for a living. Non-A-level-qualified youngsters don't tend to get offered great jobs in any field. Think very carefully before you abandon these very useful qualifications. You're very young - you have plenty of time to qualify for whatever you want to do. Don't start stocking up the regrets cupboard just yet!
scroggs is offline  
Old 27th May 2002, 21:32
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I think niallcooney has hit the proverbial nail on the head

On my ground school course there were guys with degrees who were toiling. On the other hand there were those of us with few or no A levels who found the ATPLS a breeze (ish). Why, because they were common sense and relevant to what we wanted to do in life (I exclude air law!!!).

I am in my second flying job now at 23 no-one has asked about the grade of my A levels let alone whether I have them!!

As has been said before, it’s down to hours, where and how you trained and, most of all, perseverance.

Having said all that if you can get you’re A levels,... go for them.

If however you have spent the last couple of years wondering why they teach such rubbish and have no hope of catching up, all is not lost…but you will have to work bloody hard!!!

Good luck
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Old 27th May 2002, 21:40
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those damn exams

hi there,

just a bit of advice. i am 17 and currently doing my ATPL (modular) at Oxfrod. I have found the course to be fine as far as understanding goes. The main problem has been lack of concentration, ( girls, beer, more girls etc the usual thing that us "KEVINS" as the guys call me and they now how they are). I would the best thing is focus from day one. anyway thats all i can say, if you have anymore questions or just wanna chat e-mail me.


Baby hormones
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Old 28th May 2002, 11:12
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Not wishing to depress you but there is not a bank in the land that would lend money to a 17 year old without any formal education.

Back to airframes and structures Great.
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Old 28th May 2002, 11:41
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na I havn't done my A-levels. I worked for a year after school then went to oxford. Yeah it's ok bit pissed off though. i got 74% for my instruments. i failed by one question. How are you finding the CPL I did think about doing that. But I don't think instructing is my thing. I have little patients.

P.S I must apologise for my last post. Spelling was awful(well it was late).


Baby Hormones
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Old 28th May 2002, 12:05
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I did 'A' levels 12 years ago and only just managed to pass them.
Getting back to serious study years later was difficult but I have just recently managed to get good passes in all of the Phase I exams with OATS.

If I where you, I would do the exams now whilst your brain is still like a sponge instead of a sieve.

You can do your 'A' levels whilst queueing up to get an instructors job with me.


PS You said "I have little patients". If this is the case, why do 'A' levels when you already have a degree in Dwarf Medicine
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Old 28th May 2002, 12:33
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I can only reiterate what has already been said; You can do the ATPL without the 'A's but you will find it virtually impossible to get employment without them - trust me, I know of at least 6 young pilots in exactly the same position at the moment and the RAF and all the majors won't touch them with a barge-pole without their 'A' Levels.

Whatever you do, go back to college, do the 'A's, THEN do the ATPL - by which time, it's predicted that the industry will be crying out for pilots and you'll land yourself a great job.

Good luck and we'll see you on the flight deck in a few years time.
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