Aviation Degree
Hello, I'm 90% going into this degree in the upcoming year and wanted to advice as too see if there is any benefit to having this degree. Now i recently earned my Private Pilots license and has really gotten me into aviation. With not every job needing a degree as much as they use to(mostly because of the trade schools), is it worth having a degree anymore? One of the reasons i'm considering the degree is because i notice that in some jobs (besides aviation)they would ask for a degree, but when they check the degree it was never the field they needed, but were wanted anyway because they were able to show that they has some sort of education. I'm picking aviation because i think i would pick it up faster because i enjoy it and it will open doors for me. I would like to also add that i'm 40 years old and another reason why i'm posting this. Would like to know the communities thoughts and any advice they could give me. 
10 Replies

Hi Jorge. I have an aviation degree!
It’s an Associate’s Degree from a community college. There was a discount for the degree at the time (10 years ago) because it was considered a man-power shortage field. Could be a similar thing now with a need for STEM professionals. I’d say what I got most out of this degree was the networking. All the teachers at the community college were part-time and had full-time jobs in the industry. This networking did help me get a couple jobs and an internship.
However, what I learned from my Bachelor’s degree in environmental science is that it would have been better to get a more generic degree if you are getting it for the sake of getting a degree. You should pick something like Business or IT and then do all your report/projects with an aviation theme. That way you are marketable but you still get to dive into the aspects of a subject you enjoy.
Hope this helps.
I would encourage a long term career counseling effort.   Assess all your talents and interests.   Identify a variety of careers.   If Aviation is your primary choice, identify all aviation related jobs that appeal to you.   Identify both the education and experience requirements for those jobs AS WELL AS the career trajectory for each.

Doing a thorough life plan NOW for your working years will pay off.   Don't wing it.   Pun intended.  Manage your life for the results you want.   

Nicole's networking suggestion is golden advice.   
Ronald Levy
1432 Posts
A 4-year college degree is not only a sign of a certain level of knowledge in a particular area, but it is also an indication of your ability to be a self-starter -- to function and learn in an environment independent of parental control and guidance. As such, many employers consider it mandatory for any job requiring independent functioning.  That's why the USAF and USN want 4-year college degrees for all officer candidates.  While they prefer STEM degrees, the F-111 pilot who thought up the long-range fighter strike concept which became the 1986 Libya raid graduated college with a degree in trombone performance.  So while the airlines are now, in their hours of desperation, willing to consider less than what they want, it may not always be that way, and if anything happens to cut short your flying days, that 4-year degree in aviation or anything else can open the door to another career even outside your baccalaureate major field.
100% agree with Mr. Levy.   Definitely go for the full Bachelor's Degree from an accredited institution.   Choose the particular degree program with your long term future in mind.
In the early 70's, I changed from Aeronautical Engineering for which I had a full ride scholarship to a Professional Accountancy / CPA program.   All that hard work and expense needs to match up with job availability and earnings potential.   Grades matter to future employers.  So every "A" counts.   Do your "homework" with the job market clearly in view so you don't get surprised.   Too many college graduates are struggling to find work.   Article from Forbes Magazine tells the tale:   https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackkelly/2019/11/14/recent-college-graduates-have-the-highest-unemployment-rate-in-decadesheres-why-universities-are-to-blame/#2b1a74cd320b
Dan Drew
4 Posts
I will be the odd man out on this subject.  
1.  I just retired after 30 years of flying for UPS and almost ten years at other airlines and corporate prior to that.
2.  I can barely add two plus two.
3.  I worked with pilots that were PHD’s, Masters in Engineering etc.  Navy test pilots, Air Force One, Blue Angels, Thunderbirds all the way down to me.
4.  Although it cost me many opportunities, I never got a college degree.  Right place, right time and the right people.
I do not recommend my route because of what has been stated above.  I am an anomaly.

​​​​​​However, I do NOT recommend a degree in anything that you cannot earn a living at i.e. French literature, flower decorating, gender studies.

You never know when the medical bug stabs you in the back.  Even a trade is good because the first year pay is not that great and as you gain seniority you will be able to do your own work.
Nicole- GREAT tip. As i was touring the school and getting information this was one of the things the director was telling me, network network network. My class is the place to do it and the instructors are all in the field which gives me hands on information of the field and network. As for the business degree that was 1 of my options i just dont think i would enjoy it as much. Thanks for the advice, especially having that specific degree! :)

Michael- definetly did that, and i have something worked out and did my research for it. lol I will definetly aim for those A's as well. 

Ronald- always great advice, thank you! Being in Human Resource i completely get that and have heard that and have SEEN people that did not get a degree in what they got hired for still have that door open because they showed they have a degree, made a commitment to better themselves and show it. So i only see benefits in it. 

Dan- lol.. still appreciate the advice. The route you have taken is kinda my route in Human Resources, meeting the right ppl, connecting and overall doing a good job, but i can tell u that after doing that for years im tired of not having that concrete diploma to help employers know that i'm serious cause unfortunately the experience is not enough to them.