Real Answers from Real Pilots

4 year degree

Are you required to have a 4 year degree to fly for major airlines?

It really is a requirement. Although people will tell you you won’t need it you will. Pilots have told me they’ll drop the degree requirement and they didn’t drop it yet so expect the trend to continue

Nate,

While it is not specifically stated as a “requirement”, the reality is that major airlines only hire pilots with for your degrees.

The only exception to this is American Airlines, which will accept pilots through their flow through programs that do not have degrees. I would not put all my eggs in that basket.

Chris

Nate,

As Chris said it isn’t actually a requirement but that’s one thing less you’ll have on your resume that your competition will. If you don’t you’d better get a Congressional Medal of Honor, be an astronaut or something else to compensate.

Adam

Hi guys, I have a bachelor’s in computer engineering from Iran, unfortunately the GPA is relatively low 2.57 which is evaluated by one of the official evaluators accepted in Usa . Well considering that firstly the degree is from abroad and secondly the GPA is unfortunately a little bit low, I need to make sure that I won’t have any problem at the time I want to apply for major or legacy airlines. Can anyone help me where I can possibly find an accurate answer? Besides that I may have three options to fix it if it should be. Any information or helpful comment on these three options would be appreciated. Firstly I can go for an associate degree from an accredited college in us and make sure that I keep my grades greatly high if it can solve the problem as complementary degree. Secondly, I can concentrate on my pilot training program for 100 percent and after I become instructor and maybe at the very beginning of starting at regional airlines I study part time for a masters degree. And thirdly which I think doesn’t make sense and neither is realistic. I probably start with very few units at a college now and gradually get a second bachelors in a different major, which would be only for a line in my resume and never will be used for anything else even if I can’t work as commercial pilot for any unpredictable reason, because If I don’t work as pilot I don’t do anything else but Computer stuff. Thanks in advance

Ilya,

I wouldn’t worry too much about your GPA. As long as you can get your foreign degree validated you should be fine. If you’re really concerned I think the Masters after your flight training is the best idea. The Regionals don’t require any degree and you’ll definitely have a few years before you apply to a Major so why not.

Adam

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Thanks Adam, welll the degree is equivalent to a bachelors and is already evaluated with accredited evaluation institute in us, so I can say that for sure. As far as I don’t have to be worried it is fine so that I can spend my energy on the training. One last thing, as I mentioned I have changed my major from CS to pilot program so before the mentioned change I has been studying cs courses for a certification in us which can be easily updated to an associate degree with a couple of courses for another two semester, which is Farley easy to do even while I am doing my training, having all that said I know that I don’t need this degree for CS job anymore, but it’s still on the table if it can be helpful to my pilot career in any possible way. So to summarize, what is your idea about the associate degree, is there any point into grabbing that or it’s completely useless? I would surely consider your advice about possible master degree after training but this was another option that I wanted to make sure that I make a right decision about, thank you again for your answer

Ilya,

As I said the Regionals don’t require a degree and the Majors want a Bachelors so an Associates really isn’t necessary other than credits towards a Bachelors.

Adam

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Ilya,

I am going to have to disagree with Adam on this one. Your GPA is very low, low enough that I think it will be a factor for you in applying to the majors. When I was hired at Continental, the minimum GPA they would consider was a 3.0, my understanding is that has continued onto United Airlines’s hiring practices, although it is not officially stated anywhere.

An associate’s degree will not do you any good, it is not really a “degree” in the real sense of the word.

You will need to find a way to address your GPA. As Adam said, a Master’s degree might be your best option.

Chris

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Thank you Adam and Chris, so I will definitely consider a master program after completing my training. My appreciation

Good time leaders. well firstly I apologize if I am raising a question that is already discussed, however, there are some new ideas that I liked to share with you to lesson to your comments and ideas to make sure that I’m considering all aspects of the issue towards the best decision. The subject is still about my bachelors in computer engineering and its low 2.57 GPA. In here Chris and Adam advised that I may have problems for major airline application, so I pursue a master degree after my training. I have talked to a pilot who is starting in Skywest in a short time, so less experienced but anyway he thought that masters is not a good option for me. he said firstly it’s additional cost to your training which can be a burden ( honestly I personally think this part is right) and secondly you would have to wait until when you start at a reigional and you don’t know how flexible your schedule will be so that you can be sure that you will even be able to go for a master, and thirdly he believed that a master degree in not in consideration in airline applications, he said what they want is a bachelor’s and they only consider your bachelor’s and scores related to it so even if you have a master it’s not gonna be effective on solving your GPA problem for airline recruitment. Although he thought that my GPA may not be a serious issue( he said the trend is changing due to pilot shortage which again I can not have any idea about it), he said if you wanna make sure that you won’t have any problem complete your associate degree for another two semesters, if it’s to show that you can maintain a high GPA, your associates degree would play this role as GPA correction, and my current bachelors would fill the bachelor’s requirement. Well honestly because I have no knowledge in this subject I couldn’t have any idea weather his points are true or not and I’m a little bit confused what is really the right choice, So again your reasoning and comments are highly appreciated as always.

Ilya,

One more time, an associate’s degree is worthless. Don’t ever think of it again. You really will be wasting your time and money if you go that route.

I have heard the mantra that the degree requirement will be going away for years, it hasn’t happened. There is no pilot shortage at the majors, they still have thousands of highly qualified applicants.

Chris

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My appreciation sir