College for flight, air traffic control, or business?


#1

Hello All. Going to Auburn University next year for College. Trying to decide betweeen ATP, ATC, or aviation business. I have my private pilots license now and have always wanted to be an airline pilot, just really worried about the job outlook. Is ATC really any better? Any advice from anyone in the airline industry would be greatly appreciated! Thanks.


#2

ATC is a more stable career. However, you’re a government employee and have little control over your career (you can be moved pretty much at any time). However, you don’t have any short nights in crappy motels in the middle of nowhere before a 6 AM flight, no 5 hour sits in the terminal, and no POed passengers to worry about.

Being a cargo pilot is a good gig but it doesn’t pay very well if you plan on getting your university degree from a good school, then it’s probably not worth it.

Have you considered becoming a dispatcher? It’s a great combination because you need pilot and ATC knowledge and work for the airline so it’s easy to move over to the business or operations side if you get tired of it. Also, dispatchers get CASS (the ability to ride in the jumpseat) like any pilot (with most airlines).


#3

The economy is getting better now - the outlook for pilot jobs can only get better from here on. By the time you finish school and get all your ratings, things will probably be going great.

You really want to be a pilot, so go for it!


#4

I’m with Needlenose. Go the private route and fly a plane!

Having been a Fed employee for 25 years before retiring, I was in while the going was good.

Big time decline on the BFD of being a fed employee plus the salary of ATC just not nearly what they are worth and the benefits such as health, thrift savings and leave don’t outweigh the short comings of pay.


#5

Not if fuel continues the way it is. If it does the regional airline industry will contract immensely giving very few opportunities to enter the industry. In addition there will be large furlough lists at every regional and thousands of experienced former regional pilots applying for whatever jobs there are at LCC’s and majors.


#6

I would hope that the fuel situation will be under control in 4-5 years but who knows. I really do want to go for flight, but its expensive and I dont want to spend all that money to not be able to get a job after graduation. Do you guys think if I went for flight and couldn’t find a job that I could still do ATC/Dispatcher even though I wouldn’t have done an ATC-CTI program?


#7

In fact having flight training makes it much easier to get your Dispatcher License and having an ATP License definitely helps getting a job as a Dispatcher.


#8

As far as ATC, it would not help directly, but it certainly would not hurt any.

If I have no prior air traffic control experience and want to be selected, what must I do?

1 Be a United States citizen
2 In most cases, not have reached age 31
3 Pass a medical examination
4 Pass a security investigation
5 Have three years of progressively responsible work experience and/or a full four-year course of study leading to a bachelor’s degree, or some combination of the two
6 Achieve a score of at least 70 on the FAA pre-employment test
7 Speak English clearly enough to be understood over communications equipment
8 Complete an interview

faa.gov/about/office_org/hea … atc/path2/

THE TEST is the biggie! It’s tough! You get two chances to pass. Fail it twice, and you do NOT get a third try! There are test prep books available to help you prepare. If you decide to go that route, DO get at least one or two of the books!


#9

Uhh, didn’t this already happen around 3-4 years ago? If I recall correctly a whole bunch of regional airlines folded up or merged a while back. Are you predicting it will happen again? If so I’d believe it, but what about increasing demand of air travel (albeit slowly)?


#10

Yes, it will continue to occur. There simply isn’t a market for more than around 300 regional aircraft in the US at $120/bbl oil.

Increasing demand will be countered by increasing costs (and subsequent higher fares), keeping total fleet sizes stagnant or shrinking.

I mean, the market in India (although they’re currently in an overcapacity situation, I expect it to rectify itself within the next few years) and parts of Latin America will continue to expand, so I guess you could try to move there…