Real Answers from Real Pilots

How to become a pilot

Hi my name is sunwoo and im currently a sophomore in highschool. I really wanted to be a pilot since I was little. But I dont really know how to become one. Should I go to a flight school right after my high school graduation, or should I attend a college. If I go to a college what do I have to major in?

I’m also in high school; but according to previous posts, Majors do require a 4 year degree in pretty much anything, so if you do go to college, you can major in whatever. although, ATP won’t even accept you if you don’t have an associates degree or a private pilot’s license. Regional airlines don’t require a degree, though, so you could get your PPL and then go to ATP and do your 4 year degree online while working for a regional. You could also go to college, get a 4yr degree, and assuming you’re 22 when you graduate college, get into a regional at 24-25 and have a 40 year flying career. The choice is yours.

Sunwoo,

Ravi’s basically right although there is no wrong path, there are definitely better ones. I generally recommend you complete your education first. For one you’re still in “learning mode” so it’s much easier to keep going then to step away and then try and return. I also recommend you get your degree in anything you think you might also enjoy as a “plan B”. The reality is there are many people who believe they want to be pilots but once they get into the training they change their minds. I don’t recommend you getting your Private license (PPL) first (unless you have serious doubts and want to set an interim goal?). Some people do but most find during the time they go between their PPL and the rest of their training much is forgotten and they’re forced to relearn many skills.

Before you spend too much time and effort thinking about aviation the first thing you MUST do (if you haven’t already) is take an intro flight at your local flight school (ATP has a great intro program if there’s one nearby). Again many people believe they want to fly but the actual experience is very different from watching from the ground (and no sitting in back of an Airbus going on vacation doesn’t count). If you’re serious, GO FLY!

Adam