Real Answers from Real Pilots

4-Year Aviation University’s

Hello,

I’m currently a Junior in high school and I have hopes to one day become a airline pilot. So far I have found this forum very helpful in weighing this decision. One thing I have not yet found much information about on this forum or on much other websites is universities with majors in aviation like Purdue and Western Michigan University.

If I do go to one of those universities, I will most likely get a major that teaches me how to fly planes and gets some licenses while also getting a major in a “backup” like business or finance. My real hopes of doing this is to save time so I can hopefully start gaining flight hours right after I graduate and get started in regionals as soon as possible.

I guess what I want to know is is this a good idea? I’m aware the forum promotes the ATP training and such but just wondering if going through the university route is a good idea.

Don,

There are many routes to a career as an airline pilot and only you can decide which works best for you. If you’ve read the various posts regarding aviation university programs then you’ll know we have primary concerns. First most of the programs are very expensive. Flight training itself isn’t cheap as airplanes require a considerable amount of maintenance plus fuel etc. Once the university tacks on their “profit” it ends up costing a lot more than it needs to. Second, as you point out, is having a back up. Now are you saying you’re going to have a double Major? One in aviation and another in something else? If that’s the case you’re going to have a very high workload. Most schools require a double Major in similar fields of study which aviation and finance certainly are not and doubles often add an additional year (or 2) to your degree (which obviously won’t save you any time). If you’re not doing a double then I recommend you get the degree in something other than aviation as a backup but then I’m not sure you’ll earn all your licenses and ratings?

It’s still early. I suggest you do your research and see how this plan of yours will work by talking to your school advisors and getting as much info as you can.

Adam

Don,

I wouldn’t say that your idea is a bad idea, but it is certainly not the
most efficient or affordable. Your current plan will eventually lead you to
your goal of becoming an airline pilot, but it isn’t the path that I would
choose for myself. I agree with everything that Adam has said. Ultimately,
the decision is up to you. Consider this though. Every extra year spent in
college will not only cost more money, but also reduce the amount of
potential earnings at the airlines.

Tory

Don,

There is certainly nothing wrong with going the university route, many before you have done that. My concern with it is the very high cost, it can end up costing several hundred thousand dollars more, for the exact same FAA licenses.

I always recommend going to a regular college and getting a degree in something like business administration, then going to an accelerated flight school. I recommend this not because of ATP, but because it works and saves a boat load of money, while also providing a backup education.

As a side note, my grandfather went to Perdue and was one of the founding members of the flying club there.

Chris