I received a great question from a reader as to whether he should change careers and become a pilot.
Hello my name is Tom.
I'm 26 single with no children living with parents in NYC.
I have a bachelor of science in police studies.
I work in law enforcement in NYC making around 2200 per month after taxes about in my 4th year.Excellent benefits sick days mutual days-meaning more then 2 days off, paid vacation days.
I was thinking about becoming a commercial airline pilot.
I read many blogs online wanted to know if its worth to make the switch.
I didn't like what I read that you spend 60K-80K to have all the certificates then you work as an instructor making around 20K and then if hired by the regional airlines you make less then 30K as a co-pilot.
In addition the job I learned isn't stable nothing guarantees that you will work in the airline forever.You might have furloughs at least 1 or more times in career starting your salary again from the bottom from a different company and pulling a second job on the side.
In my current job i can retire in my mid 40s having a monthly pension of about 4000-6000 per month tax free for life...then comes social security in later life which brings more money.I can also have a second job in my 40s just to have something to do.
Is there a possibility that I will live life comfortably in my older age if I choose to work for the airline industry and retire at age 65
Please reply back with your suggestions/opinions.
Tom, this is a great question. The only answer I can give you is... you have to do what you love and the money will follow. And if it doesn't, you'll still be happy. The decision to become a pilot cannot be made because of the money. The industry is far too cyclical to count on a set income like you can in the police force.
To become a pilot takes far too much money and time... you basically give a piece of your life ... to do it for the money.
The only way you'll succeed, and be happy with the choice you've made, is if you have a passion for the industry. Whatever that industry is. This advice goes for any career that is highly specialized and requires a huge investment.
What would I do if I were you? Go take a couple lessons and see if you love it. If you do, then you could continue to live with your parents, use your paychecks to fund your flight training while working. You won't have to make the decision to change careers until you are ready for, and accept, that first flying job. You'll also have a clearer picture where the industry is.
Or, at the age of 26 and you can retire at 45... spend the next nineteen years building your flight time. Join a flying club. Build hours. Become an instructor. Teach on your days off. Part time, at 400 hours a year, you'll have 7600 hours when you retire from the police department and still have a 19 year career with the airlines.
If it's a guarantee you want then maybe a flying career may not be the ticket. But remember... there is no guarantee. You never know what's around the corner. I recommend do what you love, and you'll have a happier life.
Life is about the journey. Follow your passion and you'll make the right decision. Could that passion be flying? You'll never know until you do it.
Good luck on your decision!
~Enjoy the Journey~
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"We are the protagonists of our stories called life, and there is no limit to how high we can fly."
PHD. MBA. MHS. Type rated on A350, A330, B777, B747-400, B747-200, B757, B767, B737, B727. International Airline Pilot / Author / Speaker. Dedicated to giving the gift of wings to anyone following their dreams. Supporting Aviation Safety through training, writing, and inspiration. Fighting for Aviation Safety and Airline Employee Advocacy. Safety Culture and SMS change agent.