“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Every parent has asked this question. She wants to be a veterinarian, or he wants to be a video game designer. We all hope for doctors, lawyers, and engineers but, how do you respond when they say “pilot”? Many kids say that right after their first flight on vacation. They see the uniform, the trip up to the cockpit and all the buttons and blinking lights. Many forget later, but the special few ones keep saying pilot over and over again, despite the computer programming camp and the piano lessons… they keep saying pilot. If that is the case, congratulations, you have raised an Aviator.
After the hopeful rejoice, the worrying about your child’s safety, will he make a good living wage, where will they study immediately come to your mind and ruin the mood a bit. You’re left thinking “Oh no, now what?”.
But fear not! Below, you’ll find the answers to the most frequent (and worrying) questions of parents of soon-to-be student pilots, so you can rest at ease after reading this article:
1. Is it safe?
Related article: How Safe is it to Become an Airline Pilot?
It is normal and even expected to have some concerns when you think your son or daughter wants to be a pilot. Rest assured commercial air travel is the single safest form of transportation in the world. You are more likely to be a car accident in your neighborhood, or even struck bylighting then to be in an aircraft accident., Flight training has it’s risks but good schools have Safety Management Systems (SMS) that are designed to make pilot training safer than ever.
For example, FAA certified Part 141 flight schools are required to keep an extremely high level of maintenance and records with good schools usually taking the time to make extra inspections to their aircrafts, ensuring everything is taken care of and working as brand new for the training sessions.
Next to having qualified flight instructors, which is a key part of any good flight school, the infrastructure that supports the student’s safety is essential for your child to succeed in his or her training.
2. Can we afford it?
This is a huge concern for many parents, since the desire of a son or daughter may come to a quick stop by tuition sticker-shock required by certain careers. Fortunately, this is not the case with a career in aviation.
Although the perception of the career is that of an expensive one to learn, the cost of enrolling and attending a professional pilot course is in the range of $40,000 to $60,000. University program that include pilots certificates and bachelor's degrees range from $80,000 to $150,000. Depending on the school you will attend and the aircrafts used. This is comparable to any college degree with the advantage of being able to start working quite sooner. This makes an aviation career an option that offers economic advantages compared to its cost.
The return on your investment is remarkable in aviation. For example, a doctor will need 7 years of education regularly reaching over $100,000. Then 2 years of residency where they earn $40,000 a year. Many specialize after that at a greater cost. By comparison, a pilot can earn their commercial license in 1-2 years. Spend another 2 years building time as a flight instructor or charter pilot and start at the regionals at $60,000. Captains at the major airlines regularly earned $100,000+ salaries, and you can expect double or even triple that international like foreign pilots in China.
3. Is it a good career?
A career in aviation is filled with benefits for the pilot. As mentioned earlier, a recently graduated pilot will usually have less time waiting to to start working, which makes for an economically-wise career choice. On top of that, the benefits of a pilot are unique. An office at 30.000ft with the best view. Free travel to different countries and experiencing cultures. Those family passes extend to parents and sibling as well. Look forward to great family vacation. There will never be another boring family meal as you hear about the food in Tokyo, or the layover in Dubai.
The job definitely satisfies the economic, mental and social requirements of a fulfilling career, which makes it a desirable choice. Particularly if you have a high energy son or daughter that has the need to explore and wander.
4. Where will my son/daughter study and live?
Every airport in the country typically has a flight school or independent flight instructors available. This is a great way to start taking lessons locally and decide if the career is a right fit before making a big commitment. However, when your child is ready to dedicate themselves you should chose a profesional academy or university program together. International students must select the best flight school in USA that offers M-1 or F-1 student visas. Some flight schools even offer student housing, This is especially great for students that come from other states or from other countries, so they can stay at a place that is known and near the flight school.
With all this information, we hope to have helped you shed some of the worry and encouraged you to receive the great news of the desire of your son or daughter to pursue a career in aviation. You cannot force anyone to be a pilot. It is a passion that comes from within. Similarly, if aviation bug has bitten your child, they will never shake it. So, let’s get started with the journey!