Real Answers from Real Pilots

College education

I am 19 years old and I am currently going to a community college to get my associate degree. I know that a college degree is not necessary in order to become a regional pilot, but i would like to know if all the major airlines require a bachelor’s degree or a four years college education?

I do know this one. Yes practically all the major airlines require a bachelor’s degree. However, the subject matter does not really matter. It doesn’t have to be aviation related. I would continue with your associates in your current major and then transfer to a four year with that same major (depending how many credits you already have with major classes). It would save you time and money. That’s my personal opinion though.

Garrett’s correct, while not all the Majors require BA’s they do all prefer it and not having one would severely limit your options. You’re young and already in school. Buckle down and finish up, you’ll be happy you did.

Adam

Mendgy,

You are correct in that the regionals do not require a college degree. To answer your question, the majors all require a bachelor’s degree. While there are some majors that may list the degrees as “preferred” and not required, the reality is that it is incredibly rare for a pilot to get hired at a major without a four year degree.

Chris

so my degree don’t have to be associated with aviation?

No Mendgy,

Your degree DOES NOT (or even doesn’t) need to be in aviation. You can study what you like. Besides I it’s always a good idea to have a Plan B.

Adam

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No, your degree does not have to be related to aviation. Just about any major will suffice.

I’m just wondering if this has change over time since there is an pilot shortage. So in your opinion do you think it is possible to get a job with a major airlines after working for regional for a few years with only a 2 year degree?

Brian,

No. Unless you participate in one of American Airlines flow through programs, you will need a four year degree for the majors. I doubt this will ever change.

In regards to the flow throughs, I would not want to put all my eggs in one basket as flow through programs can be changed at any minute.

Chris

Brian,

You ask if it’s “possible” and the fact is it is since I have met a few pilots at Majors who don’t have 4yr degrees. BUT it’s not probable or likely and you’d be severely limiting your opportunities and chances. Simply put since ALL the applicants will generally have similar qualifications (flight time etc) AND also have 4 yr degrees, you need to have something fairly significant to compensate for not. That’s if your application even makes it to someone’s desk.

Adam