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Why combine flight training with a degree?

Why combine flight training with a degree?

It’s true what they say; most of the best memories of my life have been made during my time at university! I’ve experienced opportunities that I’d never have been able to otherwise and have met some amazing people along the way!

Going to university and getting a degree is not an essential requirement to start your flight training or to get a job as a pilot. However, there are many advantages of doing a course that provides you with a greater depth of knowledge than you’ll get through just flight training.

Here are a few key reasons why I chose to study the BSc (Hons) Air Transport with Commercial Pilot Training here at Buckinghamshire New University.

Having a backup plan

While being a pilot is the ultimate dream many of us desire to pursue, it’s really important to ensure you have a fall-back option on the very rare chance that it might not work out. This can happen for a few reasons – the most common one being when an individual fails their medical. A commercial pilot must always hold a Class 1 medical certificate to ensure that they are both mentally and physically fit to meet the challenging requirements of operating an aircraft. If a circumstance occurs where health gets compromised, an individual may lose their Class 1 which means they’d be unable to operate an aircraft commercially. Now, while this is usually in extreme circumstances, it’s so important to have other options available to pursue. By holding a bachelor’s degree, you’ll be able to use that transferable knowledge and those skills gained to move into other sectors in the industry without having to retrain.

It’s also important to have a backup plan due to unprecedented events such as economic depressions – and global pandemics! These are usually periods of downtime where less airlines are recruiting, and it’s much harder to find airline jobs. Holding a degree will open employment opportunities for you in other sectors while the industry builds itself back up again.

Making you stand out

It is no doubt that every qualified pilot holds a pilot’s license and knows how to fly a plane! By pursuing an undergraduate in Aviation however, you’ll develop a greater depth of knowledge in the industry as a whole. At Bucks, modules include airport operations, airline management, aviation finance & economics, and even sustainability management in aviation. With this deeper insight into the background and development of the aviation industry, you’ll be able to impress recruiters during interviews showing you know exactly what goes on behind the scenes of their businesses.

Aviation students
Explore a wider range of careers

Whilst taking to the skies and being an airline pilot may be the career of your dreams right now, circumstances change as you go through life and you may decide that you want to fly less and pursue something else on the side, or even take a break from flying all together. Having a degree would put you in a position to apply to other industry jobs without the need to retrain or go back into education to get qualifications required for many higher-position jobs. I know many people who fly a few times a month and whilst working part-time in another career – some of those people are even at Bucks. Many of our aviation lecturers here are still flying whilst teaching!

Having a university experience

As well as wanting to pursue a career in aviation, I’d always been excited to go to university to find out for myself what people meant when they said that university is “the best years of your life”. When I first explored aviation degree options, I found a lot of courses were related to aerospace engineering. Sadly, as important as engineers are in aviation, it didn’t excite me very much and I was on the verge of pursuing a degree in a completely different field. However, I then came across the degrees offered at Bucks and I had my heart set from then on. As the degree combined many traditional modules such as management and finance with aviation, I knew that I’d really enjoy studying here.

Group of aviation students in uniform

I hope his helped explain some of the main reasons why it can be beneficial to combine your flight training with a degree. Remember, everyone is different, and it’s really important to choose a path that suits your needs and will give you the most enjoyment!