Aerospace/Aviation/entry to college

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QUESTION: My name is Aamish patel. I want to become an international pilot. I have done A-level,cie. I am originally from India but have f1 visa for the us. I'm currently in the us doing esl and planning to get an aerospace engineering degree. I have got number of questions: 1. Does the ranking of university from where I've got my aerospace degree matter when I go for seeking jobs? 2. Are there any university that have contracts with major airlines? 3. Which degree is awarded if I do 2+2 years program with a community college and university? I was told that you get bachelors degree only if you do 4 years at a university. But if you do 2+2 program then you may only get an associate degree. Is that correct?  4. Which degree is preferred more?  If I go with 2+2 will it make any difference to my career opportunities?
I hope you help. Thank you.

ANSWER: 1. Does the ranking of university from where I've got my aerospace degree matter when I go for seeking jobs?

Not really. You might encounter an alumni on a hiring board that would favor you as a graduate but where the degree is from doesn't impact getting hired as long as it is an accredited institution.

2. Are there any university that have contracts with major airlines?
No. In the United States, only regional airlines have alliances with colleges or universities to get their graduates hired or get them preferential interviews. The U.S. major carriers have no need for that as they have an abundant pool of applicants to choose from at the regional airlines or via the military.

3. Which degree is awarded if I do 2+2 years program with a community college and university? I was told that you get bachelors degree only if you do 4 years at a university. But if you do 2+2 program then you may only get an associate degree. Is that correct?  

Once you attend a community college and get your Associates degree, you can transfer credits from your 2 year education to a four year university, then you will complete another two years there to get your bachelor's degree. You can do it all at a four year university as well, but many transfer in their class credits from a community college as it is a cheaper option that paying for four years at a university. However, because you are not a citizen your tuition will be affected. You must be considered a resident where the community college is located in order to get the lowest tuition rates. It costs more for "out of state"  students to attend a community college.

4. Which degree is preferred more?  If I go with 2+2 will it make any difference to my career opportunities?

In the United States, it doesn't matter if you go the 2+2 route or do it all at a university. Perhaps airlines abroad look for something different but here either route is acceptable. A degree in aviation isn't necessary either. In fact, only one major U.S. airline requires pilot candidates to have a bachelors degree, all others "prefer" it.

I suggest these pilot career links as there is much you should read, already archived online-

https://www.pilotcareercentre.com/
http://www.pprune.org
http://www.jetcareers.com
http://www.askcaptainlim.com/

Good Luck!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for your such a nice reply. But It would be an immense help for me if it's possible for you to advice me some unis. I'm planning to follow 2+2 program since I'm not very rich. So do you have any good program in mind? If yes please tell me the community college and university name. And just for the curiosity, when do I start getting flight training? I guess it should be after 2 years at least since community colleges don't provide flight training. And one more question- most community colleges don't have aviation or aerospace and usually they offer core classes only. So can you advice me which core subjects should I take so that I don't face credit transfer problem in future when I transfer to the uni. If you can help me with these ill be always thankful to you.

Answer
I'm planning to follow 2+2 program since I'm not very rich. So do you have any good program in mind? If yes please tell me the community college and university name.

1) I cannot recommend a community college or university. That is simply out of my area as a pilot. You need an academic admissions counselor to recommend collegiate programs that fit your needs- especially as a foreign national. Being an Indian citizen, may eliminate some programs for you or make them much more costly. Since you are in Illinois, I guess you will be going to a community college there (if you meet the requirements), as you have at least some residency in that state. I would find one in IL that has a program you like. Also, investigate the 4 year schools you want to attend, then ask them to provide their matriculation schedules for community college classes to see what credits they accept. Then you will know what classes to take at Community College. I suggest this website for aviation school information-

http://www.avscholars.com/

especially - http://www.avscholars.com/Aviation_Colleges/Aviation-Colleges-Schools.htm

2) And just for the curiosity, when do I start getting flight training? I guess it should be after 2 years at least since community colleges don't provide flight training.

You can start flight training very soon- if you are approved to do so. Flight training is not dependent on your academic schedule unless you are enrolled a collegiate flight program. You can take flying instruction totally independent of your college/university studies.

HOWEVER, as a foreign national in the USA to do flight training, you must be approved to do so via the Alien Flight Student Program before you can do ANY flights. (I hope you were aware of this already). You will only be allowed to attend schools on their approved list, which may not be the most inexpensive option in America, but the only option open to you as an Indian citizen. If you have not (and it sounds like you haven't), you must apply and be accepted into the AFSP program before you can fly. The process takes up to 30 days and the application fees are about $230, including finger printing.

https://www.flightschoolcandidates.gov

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alien_Flight_Student_Program

http://www.aopa.org/Pilot-Resources/Flight-Instructor-Resources/AOPAs-Guide-to-T

3) most community colleges don't have aviation or aerospace and usually they offer core classes only. So can you advice me which core subjects should I take so that I don't face credit transfer problem in future when I transfer to the uni.

Some do, but I am not aware of what is available in Illinois (or other states). That is a topic you will need to use Google or AvScholars.com to investigate. I have no experience with the different collegiate aviation programs to recommend one or be knowledgeable on their requirements.

Also, each University is slightly different regarding what classes it chooses to accept from the Community College during the matriculation process when you transfer your academic credit. Thus I cannot advise on core classes that transfer. Only an admissions counselor can help you with that topic, not an airline pilot. Seeing as you are in Illinois now, I would seek out the nearest community college and make an appointment with a counselor. You need to find out your status as a potential student on an F1 visa, especially the costs per unit.

Regards,
D.

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D. Norkus

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I can address questions about airline pilot employment & entry level airline careers in the United States, women pilots, flight training, pilot certification, U.S. flight scholarships (mostly for women), aviation & airline safety topics, aviation accident investigation and airline operations. ***Please note, I cannot address flight training & career queries from outside the United States, or aero engineering degree programs/careers, aviation management topics. ****

Experience

Airline captain with 15 years past experience in airline ground operations. I have previously flown as a commercial skydive pilot & ferry pilot and majored in Aviation Science


Organizations
International Organization of Women Pilots- The Ninety-Nines, charter member of Women In Aviation International, Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association, Air Line Pilots Association.

Education/Credentials
Embry Riddle Aeronautical University; Aviation Safety/Accident investigation.

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