While you don't need a college degree to become a professional pilot, earning a degree in aviation can give your resume a huge boost. As a commercial pilot, you will need to have excellent communication skills, and be able to make important decisions in a moment's notice. You will have to work with members of a crew, and manage many aspects of the flight. While you can get training as a private pilot, many commercial airlines require some college classes or even a bachelor's degree in order to get hired. It's a competitive field, and the better prepared you are when you apply for a job, the more likely you are to get hired.
The First Two Years of Aviation College
Like many four year college programs, the first two years of aviation college, like Institute of Aviation at Parkland College, will contain a number of general education classes. These classes are the basics, such as English, math, and computers. You'll take harder classes, such as physics, in order to better understand the workings of an airplane and how to handle potential problems. The classes you take for general education purposes will be similar to those at other colleges, and can transfer into other career options. Getting your four year degree when you want to become a pilot is not going to be a waste, no matter what you end up doing in the aviation field down the road.
The Basics of Becoming a Commercial Pilot
The requirements to becoming a commercial pilot may seem basic at first. You have to be 18 years old, and pass a physical. You must be able to show a logbook that outlines your knowledge from a licensed instructor, including the 250 hours you must spend flying in a variety of circumstances. Next you must be able to pass a written exam from the Federal Aviation Administration, and complete a practical exam that demonstrates your abilities as a pilot.
Once You Pass Your Basic Tests
To be able to fly an airplane that transports passengers, you have to get additional certification beyond your commercial license that is called an airline transport pilot. To fly passengers, you must be at least 23 years old, log 1,500 hours of flight time, and pass another exam from the Federal Aviation Administration. You are then ready to apply for jobs at commercial airlines, and this is where your four year education will help you land a job.