The Experience of Flight Training: Transferable Skills For Any Career

Many students and aviator hopefuls go through the rigors of flight training and become a pilot because they have long been intrigued with the idea of flying. It is exciting, fun, cool… they develop a passion for soaring high above the ground where the rest of us live out our daily lives. If you have been around aviation for more than a day or two, you will probably agree that there is no shortage of people talking about the passion of aviators. One thing that is rarely talked about however, is the skills acquired while going through the flight training experience, whether that be at a four year institution or at the local flight school at a nearby airport. 

If you are a pilot you will probably agree that the top five skills acquired by most individuals that go through flight training is some variation of the following (as eluded to in an earlier blog post and proven through a survey of 300 pilots and student pilots)

The value of these skills goes beyond just highlighting them on a resume, but is in your ability to articulate their value above that of just a “fluff skill.” When you go through an undergraduate or graduate program you learn these skills in the classroom. You are taught through textbooks and classroom lectures how to problem solve, multi-task etc. What you don’t get is the experience of using those skills in a practical situation. This is what I call a “fluff skill” – skills you learn but have very little real world experience applying. As a pilot you learn these exact skills “on-the-fly” in a practical situation, forcing you to learn and apply them immediately.  

Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not discrediting anyone’s education or degree, I just want to point out the validity and usefulness of the skill set a student pilot acquires by going through the flight training process. 

Irregardless of your aspirations as a pilot, whether they are to follow a career path into the world of commercial/business aviation or to just become a weekend warrior, the skills you gain become extremely valuable life skills. Clearly if you follow the aviation career track these skills are directly applicable to your future employment. However, if you are seeking employment in the business world, a trade, or really any other capacity your pilot skills can still be put to immediate use. Think of it this way, how many jobs have your either applied to or hired for in the past that have had at least three of the above skills posted as a requirement? 

If you are a pilot the challenge is no longer proving you have the skills, the challenge is articulating your ability to execute on those skills proven by past experience.  

Visualize this, you have two job candidates in front of you that both graduated from highly respected institutions with a near identical GPA. When asked the question, “Why do you think you fit this position?” one articulates their ability to meet the required skill set through their learning’s as a pilot, sighting different experiences they have been in while flying an airplane; i.e. a situation where they were 3,500 feet up and had to adjust a flight plan mid flight to navigate around a nasty storm front or a time when their multi-tasking was put to the test through an experience they had inside the cockpit of an aircraft.

The second candidate is able to articulate their skill set through class work and group projects they had done with their peers, perhaps referring to a time when they didn’t get a long with their classmate or had a slacker in the group they had to manage... 

I may be over simplifying but a major issue in today’s hiring market for fresh graduates is their unpreparedness for the real world due to a lack of practical experience. Arguably, flight training gives you not only the skill set but also that experience.