Poll: When Asked, Do You Advise People to Pursue an Aviation Career?

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  1. “Emphasize the REALITY.” Gone is the “boosterism” of “It’s a great career–you’ll make more money than you can ever spend, have half of the year’s days off, and never have to worry about layoffs.”

    It’s still a great career, but we need to be accurate in the way it’s portrayed. Yes, you can still make a lot of money–but money isn’t everything. Yes, you can still have the career that lets you live almost anywhere–that lets you schedule days off–and perhaps most importantly, to be able to spend your working life doing things you ENJOY.

    That said, prospective career pilots should be made aware that there is more to working in aviation than working for the airlines. Corporate flying pays well, and it lets you LIVE “the lifestyle of the rich and famous” without having to pay for it. Yes, it pays less than the airlines, but it does let you live well–and often at the place you CHOOSE to live. For those who can stand the irregular hours, “night freight” can pay MORE than the airlines–while also letting you live pretty much where you would like. For those who value lifestyle more than money (provided you make enough money to support that lifestyle) there are many General Aviation vocations. Prospective pilots need to be aware of all of these options.

    As pilots, we are often asked about careers in aviation. We do the person asking our opinion no favors if we don’t tell the COMPLETE story–“warts and all.”

  2. Everything that jim h. said! I always add “try to take time to enjoy the training while getting your ratings”. If you are not having fun while doing that you will be miserable flying for a living. And this occupation is not one that tolerates bad attitudes very well.

  3. I’ve always counseled pro pilot students—“There are 3 great motivators for a career—Money, Recognition, and Time.

    You can get by for a while with one of them—you can make a lot of money, for example—without recognition or time. You could volunteer, and gain recognition—foregoing money and time.

    The problem is—you can’t do it for very long. (Think flight instructor—little money, but you do have recognition and time).

    You need at least two of the 3 for long term happiness, but strive for a balance of all 3.

    The equation changes over time. You may have a job that makes lots of money and has recognition, but no time. Later in life, you may have already made your money, and go BACK to flight instructing—recognition and time, but not much money.

    Strive for the balance.