Christian Tabor is earning his A.S. in Aeronautics with the goal of traveling the world as a professional airline pilot. Christian Tabor is earning his A.S. in Aeronautics with the goal of traveling the world as a professional airline pilot.
Christian Tabor is all smiles on the flight deck of a Boeing 777, and he is now working to land himself in a similar spot. (Photo: Jason Tabor)

How Does Dual Enrollment Work For Pilots? Seven Questions With An Aspiring Aviator

Story by Jon O'Neill
Jon O'Neill

Dual Enrollment courses at Embry‑Riddle are helping 15-year-old Christian Tabor earn his A.S. in Aeronautics and pursue his dream of becoming a pilot. ↖ This heading is for screen readers and wont be visible on the page.

Dual Enrollment courses at Embry‑Riddle are helping 15-year-old Christian Tabor earn his A.S. in Aeronautics and pursue his dream of becoming a pilot.
For 15-year-old Christian Tabor, flying runs in the family—and so does Embry‑Riddle Aeronautical University. Christian, who lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, recently began his Dual Enrollment program at Embry‑Riddle and is working toward earning his A.S. in Aeronautics by the time he completes high school.

He is following the footsteps of older sister Michelle ('23, '24), who accomplished a similar feat this year and is now pursuing her B.S. in Aeronautics and continuing off-campus flight training as she also aims for a seat on the flight deck.

Both Christian and Michelle are following their dad Jason, a Boeing 777 instructor pilot at United Airlines who earned his B.S. in Aeronautics from Embry‑Riddle in 2016.

As busy as he is, Christian took time out recently to discuss his dual enrollment journey.

Why did you choose dual enrollment at Embry‑Riddle?

My main reason for participating in dual enrollment is to simultaneously obtain college and high school credits. It saves time after high school graduation because I will need fewer credits to reach my goal of acquiring a B.S. in Aeronautics from Embry‑Riddle.

How did your family help inspire your choice?

My family’s accomplishments inspired me, and I wanted to pursue a similar career path. Being part of the same institute and program as my sister, I understood the challenge and commitment required to complete a degree.

My dad has been a flight instructor since 1996, he is typed in 10 aircraft and has flown every aircraft at United except the Boeing 787. I am working on my private pilot rating now, along with the educational goals of dual enrollment, and I have already completed the FAA written examination.

My dad also is my instructor in the Cessna, and I hope to graduate from Embry‑Riddle and fly with him and my sister at United Airlines in the future. By the end of the year, I hope to have 30 credit hours, with the goal of completing as many hours as possible through dual enrollment.

Michelle and Christian Tabor study Aeronautics at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Michelle (left) and Christian Tabor on the Boeing 777 flight deck, where both aspire to work one day. (Photo: Jason Tabor)
Christian poses with his family in front of an historic building.
Michelle, Jason and Christian Tabor enjoying a family adventure in Italy. (Photo: Jason Tabor)

How would you describe the support from Embry‑Riddle’s Dual Enrollment team?

The support team has been great. The team recommends classes and knows which classes work well together, and which courses may be extra challenging if taken in unison. They also help with books.

If my grades slip momentarily, they will call to discuss what is holding me back. They are a great group and always make me feel welcome!

What have been some highlights of dual enrollment so far?

There are numerous highlights. For example, I have learned information that is unavailable at my high school. I have enjoyed advanced mathematics, including calculus, and look forward to statistics and microeconomics.

Each term, when I finish a class, I update my graph and realize that I am one step closer to my goal of graduating from Embry‑Riddle. Learning different techniques through various platforms has been challenging yet rewarding. The workload can be high while I attend high school, but I prioritize my time to ensure all assignments are completed early.

At first, I thought I would take just a few classes, but after each term, I enjoy the topics and challenges and desire to push myself further.

What have been some of the challenges and how have you managed them?

One of the most colossal challenges has been balancing the workload while still spending time with friends and family. Prioritizing high school work along with dual enrollment requires planning and decision-making, and excelling requires research and persistence to reach the skill level needed to succeed.

Currently, I have a 4.0 GPA at Embry‑Riddle, and I also hold well above a 4.0 in high school. I strive to maintain that standard throughout the entire program, and I want to transition to Embry‑Riddle as a full-time student upon high school completion. I also plan to finish my aircraft ratings and work as a Certified Flight Instructor as soon as possible to give back to other aspiring aviators.

This means time management is important for me. The great thing about dual enrollment is the syllabus and expectations are transparent from the first day of class. By having this visual model of expectations, I can prioritize my time to provide quality work on time or ahead of schedule.

How will dual enrollment at Embry‑Riddle help you reach your ultimate goal?

My ultimate career goal is to pursue an airline pilot job and travel the globe to view the world and experience various aspects of different cultures. I have had the opportunity to fly with my father in the Boeing 777, visiting different parts of the world as a passenger, but I am sure it is even more rewarding to be a pilot with a mission on such long-haul flights.

Finishing my degree with Embry‑Riddle is also a priority, and I am currently exploring various degree fields that will allow me to focus on aviation, math and science.

Anything else you would like to add?

I grew up flying with my dad, an Embry‑Riddle graduate, and my sister, an Embry‑Riddle graduate. Being raised in an aviation family and understanding the value of education has encouraged me to pursue flying and college as soon as possible.

In the airlines, everything works by seniority. Therefore, having my education in place and focusing on FAA pilot ratings at the minimum age will allow me to pursue my ultimate goal of being a pilot at United Airlines. Flying with my father and sister and carrying the legacy of our combined education at Embry‑Riddle is a goal I will continue pursuing.

What goals will you pursue here? Apply at Embry‑Riddle today and find out.

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