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One of my favorite podcasts is “Aviation Careers Podcast”. One of their episodes “ACP082 – Avoiding a 2 Million Dollar Mistake in Your Pilot Career”, they talked about how the later you go into a career as a pilot, the more money you are potentially losing on the backend of your career when you make the most.

If I fly for a Part 121 airline (think of airlines that most people fly), I am required, by the FAA, to retire at age 65. Which means, at my current age and the earliest I could start flying for an airline, I potentially only have 30-ish years of flying. For every year I delay in getting to my goal of flying for an airline I’m losing a year of salary at the $200,000/yr range that is on the back end of the career.

The “$2,000,000 Mistake” is basically what I have already made. Had I started flying in college, and got my ATP certificate at 23 years old, I would have an extra 7 years in my career. Those 7 years on the back end of the career could have equated to an additional $2 Million in my career earning potential.

If I could suggest anything to younger people looking to get into a career flying, start early! Goto a college that has a Pilot program, whether 2- or 4-year, and get a degree with your certificates. It will give you the most bang for the buck and give you the most career earning potential. For me, I’m looking to switch as soon as possible, so I am going to have to pursue an accelerated training program which comes with a high cost of training; with that, I won’t be able to remain employed during the time due to time requirements.