Should I Get a Bachelor’s Degree While Becoming a Pilot?

Posted: October 27, 2020 | Author: Jaidyn Crookston | Read Time: 8 minutes

SUU Student aviation flying during class

Many future flight students wonder if they should get a bachelor’s degree while becoming a helicopter pilot. While a bachelor’s degree isn’t required to become a pilot, there are lots of benefits to getting a degree and it’s something students should consider.  Here’s a guide to whether or not you should earn a bachelor’s degree while becoming a helicopter pilot. 

An important thing to know when looking into flight schools is whether or not the school is attached to a university. If you attend a university flight school, you’ll have the chance to earn a bachelor’s degree with your pilot certifications. 

What are the benefits of a bachelor’s degree?
  • More flight hours
  • More flight experience
  • Advanced training
  • More funding opportunities
  • Opportunity to work as a CFI
  • Builds a better resume
  • Looks good to employers
  • Better chance at management positions

Getting a bachelor’s degree means that you’ll be in school longer and you’ll build more flight hours than you would at a non-university flight school. Flight hours are extremely important in the aviation industry and the more you have, the more likely you are to get a high paying job. By getting a bachelor’s degree, you’ll be above the competition when it comes to flight hours. 

Because getting a bachelor’s degree allows you to train for longer, you’ll also have more flight experience. You’ll have more opportunities to practice your flight techniques before getting a job as a pilot. Many pilots wish they had more time to fly and practice maneuvers before being called on to use them in a real-world situation. Getting a bachelor’s degree allows you to do that.

SUU Aviation N497SU

Getting a bachelor’s degree will also allow you to get advanced flight training. The more advanced training you have, the more marketable you’ll be to employers. Advanced flight training includes skills like night vision goggles, mountain operations, longline, external load, and turbine transition training. Some university flight programs have these built into the curriculum, and it’s much better to get this training now than having to pay for it yourself later down the line when you try to get specific jobs.  

While pursuing a bachelor’s degree you’ll also have more funding opportunities. As a university student, you’ll have access to scholarships, federal financial aid, and student loans. If you get a bachelor’s degree you’ll have extra time to pay back any student loans you may have taken out. This is especially true if you’re able to work as a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) while still going to school. This means that you could be earning money while still in school, giving you a chance to pay back those loans and start saving money. 

A common first job for helicopter pilots is working as a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI). While a job as a CFI isn’t guaranteed, it’s a great job to shoot for. Most flight schools like to hire their own top students back as instructors. This is a great way to build your flight hours and become a better pilot. As mentioned above, it also gives you a chance to pay back your student loans while still in school, since you won’t yet be charged interest and instead will be earning money. 

The more flight hours and flight experience you have, the better your resume will look to employers. By building your resume now, you can be above the competition when looking for jobs. There will be tough competition for most of the jobs you want, so taking the time now to stand out and get a degree will help you in the future. 

SUU student mechanic 

A degree is very helpful if you want to someday be in a management position. If you ever want to be a chief pilot or a top person in a company, having a degree will help you get there. It’s not impossible to get into management without a degree, of course, but it is more difficult. 

Every university’s degree requirements are different, at Southern Utah University getting a degree is made as easy as possible. SUU Aviation’s Bachelors of Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS) gives students a customizable degree with two emphases. One emphasis will be in aviation and the other can be on anything you want, such as marketing, business management, math, etc. Having this degree makes you even more marketable to employers because you’ll be qualified in more than one area. It also gives you a back-up plan in case someday you decide not to fly aircraft or are medically unable to. 

Challenges of Earning a Bachelor's Degree

While there are many benefits to getting a bachelor’s degree while learning to fly, there are also some challenges. The two main challenges of getting a bachelor’s degree are the time and money it will take.

At SUU Aviation, getting a bachelor’s degree involves going through the flight program for two years and then going to school for another two years studying either aviation or a different field. You’ll be taking flight classes, general classes, and degree-specific classes. After the two years it takes to get your pilot’s license and associate degree, you’ll be a fully certified pilot and may be able to get a job as a CFI while you continue your education. 

Not only will a university flight school take longer, but it will also be more expensive than a non-university program. This is because you’ll have to pay university tuition on top of flight fees. Every university’s tuition is different and depends on whether or not you pay in-state or out-of-state tuition. Even though getting a bachelor’s degree is more expensive than going the non-university route, it will be well worth it because of all the amazing benefits. 

If you’re a veteran, then chances are that you won’t have to worry about paying for most, if not all, of your flight training. Veterans have the amazing opportunity to use their GI Bill to pay for flight training. Your full GI Bill can only be used at a few flight schools, so do your research and find one that accepts the full GI Bill. With SUU Aviation, most veterans pay only for their supplies and medical exam and can then take aviation courses all the way through a master’s degree using their GI Bill. 

Should I Get a Bachelor’s Degree?

There are so many benefits to getting a bachelor’s degree. If you want to set yourself up for the future and ensure that you’re always valuable to employers, then getting a bachelor’s degree is a great way to do that. 

SUU Aviation makes it as easy and enjoyable as possible to get a bachelor’s degree. Not only does SUU Aviation have a great environment, but it’s also the top collegiate flight school in the nation and trains 10% of the nation’s graduating helicopter pilots.

Produced by SUU Aviation

The university's fleet includes 16 airplanes, 23 helicopters by the end of 2020, and state of the art maintenance training facilities. SUU Aviation offers advanced and relevant flight training in the safest and most efficient way possible. The program continues to be on the cutting edge of the industry, training tomorrow's aviation leaders.

With SUU Aviation, you’ll get a high-quality education and have the experience needed to get a job as a mechanic when you graduate. 

Tags: Aviation

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