Charles Mader, 24
Hometown: Appleton, Wis.
Current City: Virginia Beach, Va.
For as long as Charles Mader can remember, he has always had a passion for aviation and love for flying.
“I distinctly remember going to EAA AirVenture when I was 10 years old and seeing the Concorde. After that I don’t think there was any question in my mind that I wanted to be a pilot,” Mader said.
Mader graduated from Fox Valley Technical College with an aeronautics degree in 2007 and immediately began working at FVTC as a flight instructor. He then started the Bachelor’s of Applied Studies in Leadership and Organizational Studies degree program at UW Oshkosh.
He transferred all 70 of his credits from FVTC, which he said was fast and efficient.
“It was as simple as applying to the college on my computer and then ordering a transcript to be sent to the admissions office,” Mader said. “They took care of the rest.”
When Mader started his coursework at UW Oshkosh, he worked full-time as a flight instructor at FVTC for a year, and was then hired by regional airline, where he flies a 50-seat jet.
“Normally moving while in school would have been a huge problem, but because of the ability to take all of my classes online, the move to a new job and new location had no impact on my degree progression,” Mader said.
With all of Mader’s classes online, he has the flexibility to work on his classes during his downtime between flights.
“Being able to schedule my classes around my work is extremely important,” Mader said. “I have to deal with constantly changing schedules and frequent days away from home that come with being a pilot, and completing my bachelor’s degree online allows me to stay working.”
According to Mader, more airlines are requiring their pilots to have bachelor’s degrees, so he saw a bachelor’s degree as his opportunity to stay competitive in the aviation industry.
“Although it is possible to get hired as a pilot for a regional airline without a bachelor’s degree, most of the legacy carriers like United Airlines and Delta Air Lines require one,” Mader said.
Most airline companies are looking for the communication and leadership skills needed to work effectively with other pilots in the cockpit and other staff outside the cockpit, which is typically called crew resource management.
“The courses that I took at UW Oshkosh covered topics like communication, conflict resolution, and team management,” Mader said. “All of these skills are directly linked to crew resource management.”
Mader said he chose UW Oshkosh for the convenience of an online degree, and for its reputation.
“I chose UW Oshkosh because it is a well-respected University with a very experienced and high-quality staff of teachers and professors,” Mader said.