Nearing your high school graduation (or post graduation) can be an extremely daunting time in a young persons life. You’ve loved airplanes your entire life and have decided that you want to enter into the aviation industry and become a pilot.
Let me be the first to tell you, becoming a pilot requires hard work, money (although there are a few ways to get around this), practice, dedication and a little luck, but the end results are extremely gratifying, because after you’ve put in the long hours, the world becomes your playground.
You get to visit amazing places, meet different people, and best of all, you have the best office view in the entire world! (Unless you’re an astronaut of course!) So what can you do to make this dream a reality? Getting from the classroom to the cockpit can be easier than you think so let’s begin!
Just as you would file a flight plan for your flight, you should map out your goals and how you plan to achieve them.
Planning is vital to your success.
There are several ways of going about becoming a pilot and really all depends on your goals and finances (to an extent). There are aviation related degrees at colleges allowing you to earn a degree and a pilot’s license, flight schools, you could even go to the military and learn to fly. Each institution can offer different experiences, so do some research on each and decide what will be best for you.
It’s What You Know And Who You Know.
While I was in college, I took several unpaid positions just to immerse myself in the industry. If you do a good job, people will remember the work that you did, and you never know, might be able to land you a job or at a bare minimum, point you in the right direction.
Another thing that can set you apart from the competition is being more than just a pilot. Learn to dispatch aircraft, help with flight and crew scheduling, whatever you can do to set yourself apart and who knows, it could even open up further avenues!
Center, We Have To Divert…
Things won’t always go to plan and aviation teaches us contingency planning for those “what if” scenarios and you should do the same when thinking about becoming a pilot. You have to plan for those turbulent times. By no means am I telling you to not become one, I think it’s the greatest job in the world, but we also have to be realistic, the aviation industry is a cyclical one.
Pilots get furloughed and seeing as though you will be low on the seniority list (if you’re flying for the airlines), you’ll be the first to be laid off. Recently, one airline just recalled pilots that could have been furloughed as far back as 2001 (here is a great article on furloughed pilots).
It’s important to be well rounded in other disciplines in the event this does happen, so you can be prepared for it and are not hurting financially as a result. Just like flying, the better prepared you are you are for an emergency, the better you’ll handle it when it does arise.
Despite that though, becoming a pilot is one of the most fulfilling jobs out there. For those of you that use these tips, feel free to comment with any questions that you may have. As a recent college graduate, I may be able to give some insight and I’ll do my best to answer them or at least point you in the right direction. Remember if you find something you love doing, you’ll never work a day in your life.
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