Five Reasons to Consider Majoring in Aviation

Did you know PUC is one of only two liberal arts colleges in California to offer a degree in aviation? That’s right! The airport in Angwin is even located on campus, and we also have a Frasca 180, a flight simulator that allows students to train for inclement weather and other hazards without ever leaving the ground. Pretty cool. Students who major in Aviation at PUC can earn multiple certifications, and our Private Pilot and Instrument courses are approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as a 141 Pilot School. PUC offers both an AS and a BS in Aviation, and graduates can work doing a variety of occupations within the field. You can learn more about PUC’s Aviation programs by reading through the Aviation Department’s page on our website.

PUC students "fly" the Frasca 180 flight simulator.

PUC students “fly” the Frasca 180 flight simulator.

If you haven’t yet figured out yet what you want to study in college, here are five reasons why you may want to consider majoring in Aviation!

Many Career Possibilities
In 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BOL) estimated there were about 104,000 pilot jobs in the United States. Aviation graduates can work within the field doing a variety of occupations; from commercial or airline pilot to working piloting cargo, sightseeing tours, sky divers, assisting with aerial photography, assisting with rescue services, and more.

You Aren’t Chained to a Desk All Day
The BOL estimates airline pilots fly approximately 75 hours per month on a varying schedule, in addition to performing other duties about 150 hours per month while commercial pilots usually fly between 30 to 90 hours per month and may also have an irregular schedule.

It’s important to keep in mind some pilots may also spend a significant amount of time away from home, depending whether their flight assignments have overnight layovers. One nice perk though – if you work for an airline, typically your hotel, meals, and other travel expenses are taken care of by the company. Nice!

An aerial view of Angwin-Parrett Field, via Google Earth. Note PUC's main campus to the bottom left!

An aerial view of Angwin-Parrett Field, via Google Earth. Note PUC’s main campus to the bottom left!

Earn a Good Paycheck… Eventually
According to the BOL, the median annual wages for airline pilots was around $114,000 in 2012, while the median annual wage for commercial pilots was about $73,000. It’s important to note those are median numbers however, meaning there are pilots who make a lot more, and a lot less. The Air Line Pilots Association estimates most airline pilots start at about $20,000 per year.

Pretty Decent Job Prospects
While airline pilot jobs are expected to decline about seven percent between 2012 and 2022, commercial pilot employment is projected to grow about nine percent. However, the BOL is quick to note that there is potential for job opportunities when pilots retire, as they are required to retire when they turn 65.

Travel Near and Far
If you have a taste for adventure and enjoy new experiences, a degree in aviation may be for you. Obviously, a major perk of working as a pilot is the potential to travel, depending on the occupation you have within the field. Whether you work as an airline pilot and regularly jet to exotic locations like Paris or Tokyo, or work regionally as an air ambulance pilot, there are always new sights to be seen. The sky is literally the limit!

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