Chapter 14

The things I want to know are in books ...
my best friend is the man who'll get me a book I ain't read.
- Abraham Lincoln

In this chapter we will look at the link between model aviation and your future career in the workplace - that link is education.

In the Introduction to this work we find a list of the abilities and skills that you have, or will, obtain through participation in this extremely diversified hobby. Now, we want to build on that framework with the in-depth knowledge that will be needed for a successful career.

Your choice of educational institutions depends to a large extent on your choice of a career field. If that choice can be made early (during elementary school if possible), you will be in a better position to select a secondary school, college or other learning institution that will best meet your needs.

Unfortunately, many of us do not have a clear understanding of what kinds of schooling are available, or what will be required of us to perform well on specific jobs. Some of this confusion is due to the fact that the approach to education is evolving along with a changing job market. In this chapter we will look at some alternatives. As in previous chapters, related Web sites will be given within the text.

14.1 Career Choices
Model Building introduces the student to a wide variety of technical careers. New technologies and knowledge are developing so rapidly that it is crucial for students to try to match their interests and educational opportunities as early as possible. There is a critical need for employees in technical occupations, particularly those requiring knowledge of math and science. In addition, as we will see below, there are many non-technical occupations that provide support to the technical personnel.

To illustrate the point, let's take a brief look at the pathways through the development and manufacturing process of a product. After the inventors and innovators conceive a product, engineers make the calculations that guide the concept toward practicality. Designers and Drafting personnel provide more focus to the project design. Manufacturing personnel design the tooling to make the product and plan and schedule the shop facilities to manufacture it.

All of these technical people may be supported by an army of Stress Analysts, Heat Transfer Specialists, Computer Programmers, Quality Control Analysts, and---you get the idea, there are many occupations that fall under the heading of technical personnel. Additional support is also required by business-oriented people with sufficient understanding of the technical process to do their part. This includes Managers, Planners, Accountants, Personnel Recruiters, and many others.

14.2 High School Curriculum
Just because you are taking the classes you need to graduate from high school does not mean that you are adequately preparing for college. Your high school counselor can provide you with lots of information about college. It would be wise for you to find a counselor and make an appointment to discuss your college options. For insight into the role of guidance counselors see: and click For Parents and click Why High School School Counselors. Give some thought about your own goals before talking to the counselor or other mentor. See: for choosing High School courses wisely. Well-rounded students participate in activities such as school clubs, scouting, community involvement, and volunteer work. These programs expose the student to new information, possible career paths, and rewarding pastimes. They also develop social skills and leadership experience. Students who have been exposed to some of the above activities are better equipped to ask the right questions of school counselors regarding school options and career choices. The U. S. Department of Education provides some interesting statistics about high school trends at:

14.2.1 High School Technical and Trade Schools
Technical and trade schools at the secondary level may offer an alternative to a student who does not plan to attend college, but needs the training necessary to enter the workforce on graduation. In a typical school of this type students acquire skills for the career of their choice while at the same time receiving academic training. Some institutions of this kind also offer adult workforce development courses and meet other needs of the community they serve. Since so many variables are involved, the following example has been chosen to illustrate a very broad-based approach to this type of school. See: Here we find High School Programs; Adult Trade, Business and Computer Programs; and an Internet Schooling approach. Check your Yellow Pages for technical and trade schools near you.

14.2.2 Selection Activities During Secondary School

  • Consult with your parents, guidance counselor or mentor regarding your tentative career choice(s) and education after high school. Adjust your high school course selection if required.

  • Look for opportunities to join in meaningful after-school activities such as clubs, scouting, hobbies, community involvement and volunteer work.

  • Consult with your guidance counselor regarding taking one or more Advanced Placement classes. These classes will be more difficult, but they may help you to earn college credit before entering college. Even if they don't, you will be better prepared for future study in the subjects chosen, and more likely to be accepted by the college of your choice.

  • If you have chosen a military option, apply for nomination to the military academy of your choice in the Spring of your Junior year. See:
Also during your Junior year start to firm up your post high school educational choices. Get detailed information about the institution you plan to attend, including when to make application for enrollment, financial aid, and any testing that may be required by the institution of your choice.

14.2.3 Been There, Done That
There are several ways to get college credit for work or study that you have completed previously.

  • The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP®)
    CLEP® provides students of any age with the opportunity to demonstrate college-level achievement through a program of exams in undergraduate college courses. You get college credit for what you already know.

  • Advanced Placement Program (AP)
    AP gives you the chance to try college-level work in high school, and to gain valuable skills and study habits. If you get a "qualifying" grade on the AP exam, many colleges will give credit or advanced placement for your efforts.

  • Transfer of college credits from one institution to another
    When planning your educational path through two or more institutions, always check to ensure that the next institution in line will recognize credits earned by the former institution.

14.2.4 Picking Up Where You Left Off
When circumstances force you to leave high school before graduating, you are placed at a distinct disadvantage when applying for employment. By taking, and passing, a General Educational Development (GED) test you have proven that you have the knowledge required of a high school graduate. Check with your local high school for sources of classes that will enable you to pass the GED test.

One out of every seven high school diplomas issued each year in the United States is based on passing the GED tests. For more detailed information see:

14.3 Types of Post-Secondary Educational Institution
There are many types to choose from, however your choice may be narrowed by certain factors.

  • The courses of study offered vs your career interests
  • Your geographic location
  • Your academic record
  • Your financial status
  • The transferability of the institution's credits
  • The institution's image as seen by your future employers
The following general classifications are presented to illustrate the nature of what is available. There is no intent to recommend any one as best. Also specific institutions were chosen at random to represent a given classification.

For an institution selected as an example, the Internet Web address will be given followed by a brief discussion of admission information and other significant aspects of the institution. Much more information will be found on the institution's Web page.

14.3.1 The University
A university may be defined as a group of colleges. Each college is specialized in a certain field, such as business, engineering, computer science, etc. A typical State University will have over a dozen colleges. A High School student will experience some significant changes upon entering college. One will be expected to be more self-motivated and able to deal with a significant workload.

Universities may be state sponsored or privately sponsored. State-sponsored universities usually have at least two tuition fee arrangements. Generally, tuition is lower for state residents. Private universities tend to have higher tuition and a more selective admission policy.

Lists of universities and colleges may be seen at the following Web sites.

  • International list
  • American
  • Canadian State University
    Ohio State University (OSU) has a competitive admission process for entering freshman in which students are considered for admission based largely on their academic performance and credentials. Secondary factors include school and out-of-school activities. All students are considered under competitive standards except Ohio residents applying to an OSU regional campus. The high school curriculum requirements are similar to those found at 14.2 above. They may be seen at:

    As with most large universities, OSU has a significant enrollment from other countries. Students from abroad are required to submit documentation of secondary school graduation as specified on the Information for Prospective International Undergraduate Students pages of the above Web site. OSU promotes student involvement in areas of research, both for undergraduates and graduates. The scope of such research can be seen at and click undergraduate research Ivy League Universities
    Ivy League is the name generally applied to eight universities (Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Yale) that over the years have had common interests in scholarship as well as in athletics. Stanley Woodward, New York Herald Tribune sports writer, coined the phrase in the early thirties. At first it was all about football competition between the above universities. Later other sports competition schedules were considered. The above universities have a selective admission process that tends to favor the most qualified. Emphasis on Technology at a University
    The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is recognized as one of the top institutions of this type. However, if you click on Academics on the above Web page you will find more than just technology. When it comes to applications for admission the following Web page says it all:

    You will be required to provide four essays, teacher evaluation forms and a report from your High School Guidance Counselor or principal; and take standardized tests.

    MIT is noted for research. You can see an eight-page list of links to their major research centers, laboratories and programs at: Correspondence Courses On-line and Off
    Over the past decade correspondence courses once conducted by mail have evolved into correspondence courses by Internet. In some cases the two-way communication with the teacher on the Web is supplemented by a period of attendance at the learning institution.

    This method of study is demanding. Without the discipline afforded by the classroom, the student must have the initiative and self-reliance to develop good study habits, and maintain a regular schedule of study. For more information see the following:

    Although many of these institutions are well known colleges, check to ensure that credits will be transferable to other institution(s) that you may plan to attend.

    An example of an institution that teaches by mail and the Web: Thomson Education Direct

14.3.2 Community College
Community colleges usually have two-year associate degree programs and certificate programs on more specific subjects. Some have two-year courses for students who intend to transfer into a four-year curriculum at a college or university.

Some will accept your GED diploma for admission, or even provide classes to help you attain such a diploma. More on GED at 14.2.4. To find a community college near you see: There are 1163 community colleges listed.

While hardly typical, see Cincinnati State Technical and Community College at: This can be called a full-service community college.

  • 50+ associate degree programs
  • 25 certificate programs
  • 3020 co-op student job placements in 1999-2000
  • six year graduate placement rate of 98%
  • 12,000 enrolled annually in credit and non-credit classes

Two additional examples of a Community College can be seen at: Atlanta Technical College Houston Community College System

14.3.3 The Military Option

  • The United States Military Academy
    This legendary institution at West Point, New York has a curriculum that is carefully designed to meet the needs of the Army for "officer-leaders of character to serve the Army and the nation." You must obtain a nomination in order to compete for admission to the military academy.

    Cadetships are allocated by law to the Vice-President, members of Congress, congressional delegates from Washington, D.C., the Virgin Islands, and Guam, governors of Puerto Rico and American Samoa and to service connected nomination by the Department of the Army.

    For frequently asked questions about the academic program see: and click FAQs.

    Upon graduation Cadets are awarded a Bachelor of Science degree and commissions in the United States Army. They serve on active duty for a minimum of five years.

  • The United States Naval Academy
    The nomination process is similar to that of the United States Military Academy above. The academic program may be seen at: click Course Descriptions and Majors Programs.

    Students attend the academy for four years, graduating with Bachelor of Science Degrees and reserve commissions as Ensigns in the Navy or Second Lieutenants in the Marine Corps. Graduates serve at least five years as Navy or Marine Corps officers. They choose careers in:

    • Naval Aviation
    • Surface Warfare
    • Marine Corps
    • Restricted Line and Staff Corps
    • Special Operations
    • Submarine Force
    To see how the 910 men and women members of the class of 2001 chose to serve see:

  • The Air Force Academy
    To be eligible to attend you must meet high leadership, academic, physical and medical standards.

    Once accepted by the Academy you'll sign an agreement to complete the course of instruction at the Academy and you will accept an appointment and serve as a commissioned officer in the Air Force for at least eight years after graduation-five of which must be active duty and the remainder can be served as inactive reserve.

    See for more details. The academy curriculum consists of 30 different majors offering a well-rounded education.

  • United States Coast Guard Academy
    The Academy is tuition-free and there are no congressional appointments. You'll be evaluated on your academic standing and personal merit, skills, talent and achievements. All your accomplishments count. Each graduate of the Academy earns a Bachelor of Science Degree, completing a minimum of 126 credit hours in one of the Academy's eight majors. More detail of the various programs and curriculum can be seen at: Graduates of the Academy are obligated to serve five years.

It's easy to spot a former graduate of the above Academies. They are among the confident leaders in our society.

14.4 The Co-op Option
Cooperative education, or "co-op" is a college program that integrates classroom studies with paid, productive, real-life work experience in a related field. Some important student benefits include:

  • Confirms or redirects career decision-making through on-the-job experience in a chosen field.
  • Improves job opportunities after graduation by giving students valuable work experience and contact with potential future employers.
  • Enhances affordability of college through employer-paid wages.
For much more detail see: and click on Benefits and FAQs.

14.5 Continuing Education
Many employers maintain training facilities to keep employees up-to-date and enable them to advance their careers. In this age of the Internet and the explosion of easily accessed knowledge, one can expect to continue the learning process during his or her career and into retirement.

It is useful to broaden your knowledge base and outlook by studying subjects other than those directly relating to your work, or main course of study. It enables one to view the work experience from a different perspective, and the knowledge may provide a safety net if your job is lost. Many colleges provide non-credit courses for retirees still eager to learn.

Return to Chapter 13

Proceed to Appendix A

Copyright 2002, Robert S. Munson. All Rights Reserved