Flight Training - July 2012 - 46

CAREER PILOT»

guaranteed 75 hours per month puts that pilot at $24,030 annually. After five years, FO gross income gets up to about $42 per hour or nearly $38,000 annually. Of course, things look better when flying the 100-hour maximum per month if you can get it. Senior captains at the regionals can make $100,000 annually. Spend a couple of decades in the left seat at a major airline and the salary can top $200,000 per year for minimal flying time monthly. Here’s the point. Much ado is made about the dismally low pay for regional airline first officers. That is a fact. But, that carrot is there for anyone who can make it past those first five years. The first year can be the toughest. Here are some real-

life stories from those who made it—and those who did not. Sam is a late-life career changer. He spent 10 years as an Air Force air traffic controller and another 20 with the FAA. He retired from government service with 30 years under his belt. So, at age 52, what did he do? He went to fly for Tran States. He says, “The government retirement made it reasonably easy for me to make the transition to regional airline pay. The kids were on their own, and the wife has a decent job. Frankly, I am retired with pay. For the first time in my life I am doing something that I really want to do. No matter what they say about the regional airline lifestyle, I am enjoying it. Not having to rely solely on a first officer’s pay is

the key. Having the supplemental income and support of a loving spouse is making life comfortable.” Bill inherited the family publishing business and ran it for more than 10 years. Along comes a major publishing house, offers $1.2 million for the business, and he takes the cash and runs right to Mesa where he began to fly Beech 1900s. The annual pay that barely made $19,000 was merely “petty cash” to Bill. He was having a ball. On the flip side, Jack went to a pricey Florida academy. He married while in training, relied solely on his wife’s income, bought a condo, and saddled himself with debt. He got a job with a regional airline that transferred him to Corpus Christi. There, he bought

CAREER ADVISOR

The benefits of getting training at a two-year college
» By Wayne Phillips

TWO-YEAR PROGRAMS
you are 23. But, even with a commercial pilot certificate, it is difficult to envision a 21-year-old flying a corporate or air taxi turboprop or jet airplane. The folks in the back may be a little jittery. So, flight instruction is probably going to be a first job for anyone in their early twenties. Why not do both? Why not work through those ratings and get a degree

»Q. I am a student pilot learning at a large aviation academy. I have a job at a certain hardware superstore that’s paying for my lessons, plus my parents help out. I have 28.6 hours. Should I continue to attend a flight school to earn all the certificates for a career in aviation and then get a college degree sometime in the future? Or, should I get a degree first then earn all certificates? If I were to quit flying now, all those hard-earned hours would be all for nothing. »A. Earning a college degree at any stage of life is certainly not money wasted, nor is the time that you have invested in the 28.6 flying hours to date. Those 28.6 hours are a good start toward the 1,500 hours you will need to fly for the airlines. If you are planning a flying career other than the airlines, those 28.6 hours toward the minimum hiring criteria for a corporate or other professional job will never go away. Presume that you churn through all of those FAA certificates and ratings in the next year. You cannot earn the ATP until

you will save a fortune because you can earn a commercial pilot certificate at a minimum of 180 hours rather than the 250 required by FAR Part 61. • You will earn all of your certificates and ratings right through multiengine-instrument in two years rather than four. • You will most likely become an instant flight instructor for the school once you graduate. • The college credits that you acquire can, in most cases, be applied toward a bachelor’s degree program at a four-year

WHY NOT DO BOTH? WHY NOT WORK THROUGH THOSE RATINGS AND GET A DEGREE AT THE SAME TIME?
at the same time? I recommend that you consider earning an associate degree at one of the fine two-year collegiate programs. Take a trip through Flight Training magazine’s aviation college database (http://flighttraining.aopa.org/learntofly/ school/aviation_colleges). You will find plenty of options listed by state. There are benefits that accompany getting your training at a two-year program: • If the school is an FAR Part 141 school, institution when you are ready. • The overall cost savings is significant when compared to a four-year program. If you delay college now, you may never have the time, motivation, and freedom to earn a degree, which is essential for a fallback position in the event of furloughs or other disqualification.
Send your Career Pilot questions to careers@aopa. org and we’ll answer the best ones here.

46 /

FLIGHTTRAINING.AOPA.ORG


http://flighttraining.aopa.org/learntofly/school/aviation_colleges http://flighttraining.aopa.org/learntofly/school/aviation_colleges http://FLIGHTTRAINING.AOPA.ORG

Flight Training - July 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - July 2012

Flight Training - July 2012
President’s Perspective
Right Seat
Letters
Best of Both Worlds
How It Works
Knowledge Test News
After the Checkride
News
Since You Asked
News
Final Exam
Products
ASI News
AOPA Action
Flying Carpet
ENJOY THE VIEW
V IS FOR VELOCITY
TECHNIQUE
Weather
Checkride
Flight Lesson
Year One
Career Advisor
Tech Talk
Is Flying Hard?
Delaying Solo
Are You Positive?
Advertiser Index
Debrief
Flight Training - July 2012 - Flight Training - July 2012
Flight Training - July 2012 - Cover2
Flight Training - July 2012 - 1
Flight Training - July 2012 - 2
Flight Training - July 2012 - 3
Flight Training - July 2012 - President’s Perspective
Flight Training - July 2012 - 5
Flight Training - July 2012 - Right Seat
Flight Training - July 2012 - Letters
Flight Training - July 2012 - 8
Flight Training - July 2012 - 9
Flight Training - July 2012 - Best of Both Worlds
Flight Training - July 2012 - 11
Flight Training - July 2012 - How It Works
Flight Training - July 2012 - Knowledge Test News
Flight Training - July 2012 - After the Checkride
Flight Training - July 2012 - News
Flight Training - July 2012 - Since You Asked
Flight Training - July 2012 - 17
Flight Training - July 2012 - News
Flight Training - July 2012 - 19
Flight Training - July 2012 - Final Exam
Flight Training - July 2012 - Products
Flight Training - July 2012 - ASI News
Flight Training - July 2012 - AOPA Action
Flight Training - July 2012 - 24
Flight Training - July 2012 - 25
Flight Training - July 2012 - Flying Carpet
Flight Training - July 2012 - 27
Flight Training - July 2012 - ENJOY THE VIEW
Flight Training - July 2012 - 29
Flight Training - July 2012 - 30
Flight Training - July 2012 - 31
Flight Training - July 2012 - 32
Flight Training - July 2012 - 33
Flight Training - July 2012 - V IS FOR VELOCITY
Flight Training - July 2012 - 35
Flight Training - July 2012 - 36
Flight Training - July 2012 - 37
Flight Training - July 2012 - TECHNIQUE
Flight Training - July 2012 - 39
Flight Training - July 2012 - Weather
Flight Training - July 2012 - 41
Flight Training - July 2012 - 42
Flight Training - July 2012 - Checkride
Flight Training - July 2012 - Flight Lesson
Flight Training - July 2012 - Year One
Flight Training - July 2012 - Career Advisor
Flight Training - July 2012 - 47
Flight Training - July 2012 - Tech Talk
Flight Training - July 2012 - Is Flying Hard?
Flight Training - July 2012 - Delaying Solo
Flight Training - July 2012 - Are You Positive?
Flight Training - July 2012 - Advertiser Index
Flight Training - July 2012 - 53
Flight Training - July 2012 - 54
Flight Training - July 2012 - 55
Flight Training - July 2012 - Debrief
Flight Training - July 2012 - Cover3
Flight Training - July 2012 - Cover4
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