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Advice for my military kid (which grad school before pilot training?)
Old 01-16-2019, 02:48 PM   #1
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Advice for my military kid (which grad school before pilot training?)

My oldest was selected for Navy pilot following graduation/commissioning.

He got this email, plans to apply, looking for advice on which grad school, especially from military pilots:

"2019 Aviation Selects,

Due to the extensive waitlist that is building up in Pensacola and elsewhere throughout the aviation pipeline, select opportunities are being made for Navy Pilot and NFO Selects to pursue a master's degree while waiting for their aviation pipeline to continue...

The following programs are available for the class of 2019:

Operational Research Analysis
Undersea Warfare
Combat Systems Science & Engineering
Computer Science
Material Logistics Support Management
Naval Strategy

...

As you heard the Superintendent mention at dinner last week, the Navy will soon require an in-residence graduate program as a pre-requisite for major command. But it is often difficult to find the time later in your career, especially because shore tours involving flying are also key billets as well for career progression. You have an opportunity now take advantage of both a training pipeline delay and some openings at NPS to fulfill this requirement before having showed up at flight school without having incurred any additional service obligation."
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Old 01-16-2019, 02:59 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by ncbill View Post
My oldest was selected for Navy pilot following graduation/commissioning.

He got this email, plans to apply, looking for advice on which grad school, especially from military pilots:

"2019 Aviation Selects,

Due to the extensive waitlist that is building up in Pensacola and elsewhere throughout the aviation pipeline, select opportunities are being made for Navy Pilot and NFO Selects to pursue a master's degree while waiting for their aviation pipeline to continue...

The following programs are available for the class of 2019:

Operational Research Analysis
Undersea Warfare
Combat Systems Science & Engineering
Computer Science
Material Logistics Support Management
Naval Strategy

...

As you heard the Superintendent mention at dinner last week, the Navy will soon require an in-residence graduate program as a pre-requisite for major command. But it is often difficult to find the time later in your career, especially because shore tours involving flying are also key billets as well for career progression. You have an opportunity now take advantage of both a training pipeline delay and some openings at NPS to fulfill this requirement before having showed up at flight school without having incurred any additional service obligation."
You ask "which" grad school, but it appears that it is for them to attend NPS which is the Navy Post Graduate School, not a school of "your choice". But, if you are asking which program, then I would probably swing towards one that could be used outside of the Navy, just in case he decides he doesn't want to be a career man.

Banked pilots, eh? Interesting development, indeed.
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Old 01-16-2019, 02:59 PM   #3
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That's a wonderful deal!
Is he planning to make it a career? That might have a big influence on which program to pick. What did he do best in as an undergrad?
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Old 01-16-2019, 03:26 PM   #4
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A few considerations at the macro level.

If you think he will stay in (30+) and strive for flag officer, the warfare and strategy programs may be more applicable. If a second career is likely, the logistics program (combined with navy officer background) will make him very a lucrative "recruit" in the global supply chain industry. I retired from global SCM after serving in (and retiring from) the army/army reserve. I had, for the most part, two challenging and rewarding careers.

The computer science ones may have some atrophy risk if its not his career path. Computer languages, technology, etc evolve almost exponentially.

BTW, congrats! You both have something to be proud of!
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Old 01-16-2019, 03:26 PM   #5
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... one that could be used outside of the Navy, just in case he decides he doesn't want to be a career man ...
Yes. This.

Another reason: any pilot is just one failed medical away from being a grounded. At his age I am sure your son knows he will live forever and will never get sick; we were all like that once. But life rarely works out that way.
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Old 01-16-2019, 04:01 PM   #6
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Options 3 or 4. The other degrees don't really help a trained pilot so much.

My perspective is that I retired in 2017 after a career in Naval Aviation, and I now am a contractor for Naval Aviation at the Pentagon.

If he wants to make a career of the Navy (20+ years), having some kind of engineering or technical degree from NPS will open many doors, such as the acquisition path where he would work directly with industry (Boeing, BAE, Lockheed, etc). These are typically mid to senior officers who chose to do acquisition work instead of deploying so frequently. Some of them even get to keep flying. Percentage-wise, acquisition guys have made Flag ranks better than the standard line officers.

If he wants to get out of the Navy at some point before retiring, he would have a TS-SCI clearance, Fleet experience, and an engineering degree or computer science degree, and the problem he would have is not where to find a job, but how to pick from all the employers coming to him.

The "major command" item would not be something I'd worry about, unless I knew I wanted to stay in the Navy for 25 years or more. Major command means Commanding Officer of an aircraft carrier or of an air wing, or something similar. It's highly competitive.

No matter the degree, this is a great deal: Get paid good money to go to grad school in Monterey!
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Old 01-16-2019, 04:13 PM   #7
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Attending the Naval Postgraduate School and getting a Masters degree, with no additional service obligation, is a really good deal. Additionally, Naval Postgraduate School is located in Monterey, California, which is a fabulous place to live for a couple of years.

I agree with the earlier poster who mentioned looking for a degree that will be useful outside of the Navy.
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Old 01-16-2019, 04:30 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by ncbill View Post
My oldest was selected for Navy pilot following graduation/commissioning.

He got this email, plans to apply, looking for advice on which grad school, especially from military pilots:

"2019 Aviation Selects,

Due to the extensive waitlist that is building up in Pensacola and elsewhere throughout the aviation pipeline, select opportunities are being made for Navy Pilot and NFO Selects to pursue a master's degree while waiting for their aviation pipeline to continue...

The following programs are available for the class of 2019:

Operational Research Analysis
Undersea Warfare
Combat Systems Science & Engineering
Computer Science
Material Logistics Support Management
Naval Strategy

...

As you heard the Superintendent mention at dinner last week, the Navy will soon require an in-residence graduate program as a pre-requisite for major command. But it is often difficult to find the time later in your career, especially because shore tours involving flying are also key billets as well for career progression. You have an opportunity now take advantage of both a training pipeline delay and some openings at NPS to fulfill this requirement before having showed up at flight school without having incurred any additional service obligation."
Curious to know who the email was from. Make sure it is official. Can I assume your son is in NROTC? Commission as an Ensign then head off to flight school/pipeline. Wait for however long. OK, at this point many pilots in training would go to Aircraft Maintenance Officer school and have a back up job as an AMO (1520). That way if they ever fell out of training they could stay in the Navy as an AMO. Sounds like the pipeline is even longer now (I would double/triple check this). Logistics is aways a good field to have a degree/training. Never goes out of style. Also some type of management. From commissioning as an Ensign until accepting a major command we are talking a min of 15 years (O-5) follwed by a bigger command at the O-6 level (20 years plus). Plenty of military specific/required schools along the way that will give your son a Master's Degree along the way. Many of my friends got their Master's degrees as O-2's/O-3's and then picked up additional advanced degrees at Command and Staff courses and then War College. I hope your son is thinking in terms of a Naval Officer vice strictly a Naval Aviator. Best of luck to your son. My DS is finishing up his enlisted time this month and heading to USMC OCS in June.
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Old 01-17-2019, 06:25 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the feedback!

He's a firstie at USNA.

IIRC, flight school is 2-3 years then 8 years commitment if he gets jets, which is what he wants...subject to the needs of the Navy, of course.

Looks like my youngest may also be a pilot, but rotary (Army ROTC, currently finishing up his PPL)
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Old 01-17-2019, 07:07 PM   #10
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Agree with those who say to pursue graduate education that will be valuable outside. Service comes to an end for all of us; some at 4 years; some at 8; some at 12; some at 20; some at 30... but it ends. Get a graduate degree that is most in line with something that interests him and that he may want to pursue on the outside someday, not something which he thinks might help him advance in the Navy. The Navy does not care what your graduate degree is in all the way up to O6 (and I seriously doubt that changes in the Flag ranks), only that you have one.
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Old 01-17-2019, 08:06 PM   #11
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Given the opportunity to get a graduate degree on the Navy's dime and without incurring additional service obligation, I would take it in a heartbeat. I agree with Nash - ultimately, everyone leaves the Navy, and one should prepare for that day.

Best wishes to your son.

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Old 01-18-2019, 06:48 PM   #12
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It depends whether he plans to make the Navy a career or not plus what his interests are. And "select opportunities" mean that not everyone will get this.
Yes, although everyone will leave military service eventually, a degree that is a few years old and has not been used since receiving it does not hold much weight in the job hunt.
if he goes for Computer Science with an emphasis in cybersecurity, he could easily transition to a great career if for some reason he does not complete flight training. Plus the newer jets are basically computer systems with wings.
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Old 01-18-2019, 07:18 PM   #13
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Years in HR including a couple in a Fortune 5000 company ... Logistics.

Oh, while in theory Monterey, California sounds like heaven on earth let me assure you some neighborhoods have a lot of fog... which means you need to may need to keep your tennies in a dehumidified closet least they grow mold. Adjacent Pacific Grove is the worst for that climate.

Pebble Beach offers great golf fees for active military. If you are attending the Naval Postgraduate School ask.

FWIW there is a shortage of commercial pilots in part because the military isn't training as many as they have in the past plus the expansion of the industry. If your sons want that profession there are positions available around the world.
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Old 01-18-2019, 07:51 PM   #14
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Thanks for all the feedback!

He's a firstie at USNA.

IIRC, flight school is 2-3 years then 8 years commitment if he gets jets, which is what he wants...subject to the needs of the Navy, of course.

Looks like my youngest may also be a pilot, but rotary (Army ROTC, currently finishing up his PPL)
'88 USNA followed by a 20 year career flying jets.

Tell him to go to NPS and study whatever interests him. All are useful for the Navy and any follow on career. I wouldn't worry too much about it, you don't have to be right, just don't be wrong and there is no wrong answer here. Best fighter pilot I ever went up against was an English major from Kansas.

Tell him to enjoy these days. Spend time in the moment, not so much thinking about major commands or follow on careers. Those were the best days of my life.
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Old 01-19-2019, 12:07 AM   #15
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He's a firstie at USNA.
If your son moves quickly he might be able to chat with CPT Robert Kay USMC before that Marine leaves the Yard. (I think his farewell ceremony was yesterday.) Rob took advantage of an immediate graduate degree after USNA and enjoyed the heck out of Stanford.

I suggest he take whatever program interests him the most. It's not so important for him to get good grades, because he'll get "NOT OBSERVED" fitness reports. The profs grade on a curve anyway, with one or two students getting As, one or two getting Cs, and the rest getting Bs. The important focus of his Monterey time is finding a thesis topic (with a decent human as a thesis advisor) and pushing hard on finishing that before his final quarter.

The daughter of a friend is currently at Monterey, enjoying life and (incidentally) attending classes and working on her thesis. I think she was given 15-18 months before her aviation class opened up.

My spouse and I both attended Monterey in the late 1980s. Best duty station ever. We lived in fear that our assignment officers would learn what we were doing and order us to go somewhere else. (And one day it happened.) Our mottos were "Never let attending class get in the way of an education" and "Never let research interfere with completing a thesis." We finished our degrees and our theses on time. In between we were volunteer guides at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and on the board of our condo homeowner's association. We got as far as Assistant SCUBA Instructor in the NAUI program, but could never find the leave time for the full Instructor qualification. Even so we still made 80+ dives over our two years there.

Our son-in-law has orders there this June. He's getting his masters in computer science (on top of his bachelors) and also finishing a military cyber warfare program. (Our daughter leaves active duty in May and will affiliate with the Navy Reserve unit in Alameda.) We're looking forward to spending a few quality months a year around the bay.
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Old 01-19-2019, 12:35 AM   #16
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I attended NPS and got a Masters in Electronic Warfare Systems Engineering. That degree plus the security clearance (as mentioned above) made my next career after retiring from the Air Force a gold mine. The employers were lined up before I even had a resume. NPS is a great place to get an advanced degree as the courses are set up for success and a whole class will move through the courses together. As far as Monterey, it is a great place but I didn't see much of as my nose was always in a book. The school is rigorous and will make you ready for what ever you are challenged with in that field. I would lean toward some form of engineering. The Underwater Warfare curriculum had many courses in common with the EW curriculum but that was a long time ago and things change over time.
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Old 01-19-2019, 04:27 AM   #17
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... Oh, while in theory Monterey, California sounds like heaven on earth let me assure you some neighborhoods have a lot of fog... which means you need to may need to keep your tennies in a dehumidified closet least they grow mold. Adjacent Pacific Grove is the worst for that climate. ...
I lived in Pacific Grove while attending Naval Postgraduate School and it was wonderful. But Pacific Grove is definitely in the fog belt, and that needs to be considered if looking for a place to live off base.
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Old 01-19-2019, 05:25 AM   #18
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I'll just add the note that I lived in Monterey for about seven months while attending the Defense Language Institute and it was one of the most delightful assignments I ever had. Fantastic place to live (expensive though).
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Old 01-19-2019, 05:39 AM   #19
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It depends whether he plans to make the Navy a career or not plus what his interests are. And "select opportunities" mean that not everyone will get this.
Yes, although everyone will leave military service eventually, a degree that is a few years old and has not been used since receiving it does not hold much weight in the job hunt.
if he goes for Computer Science with an emphasis in cybersecurity, he could easily transition to a great career if for some reason he does not complete flight training. Plus the newer jets are basically computer systems with wings.
+1
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Old 01-19-2019, 07:34 AM   #20
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whatever path he takes to get into flight school, tell him to be the best and get an F-35 slot !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! he wont regret it, from there as others said, fleet experience and move onto TPS and become a tester and get out and the world is his oyster.
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