Real Answers from Real Pilots

How to become an airline pilot?

Hello, I’m 19 years old and I’m a college student in Orange County in California, my major is biology and my GPA is 4.0, I’m thinking to change my major because I really like to become an airline pilot. I heard a lot of different things from people about becoming an airline pilot and I’m so confused.

  1. Should I keep my major and get my bachelor degree in Biology or should I change my major to aviation? does my major matter when I want to apply for airlines?
  2. Should I get my Bachelor degree in biology or other major and then go to ATP flight school to get my flight certificates? or should I change my major to aviation and move to other states, and transfer to San Jose state university or Embry riddle university in Arizona to get my bachelor degree in aviation and get my flight certificates in one of those universities?
    which way is better when I want to apply for major airlines?
  3. How long does it take to become an airline pilot?
  4. What is the best way to complete 1500 hours flights?
  5. Can I get the loan for ATP school or Embry riddle university?
  6. Does that matter what bachelor degree do I have when I apply for airlines?
  7. do you have to be born in us to become an airline pilot for American companies?
    I wasn’t born in the United States but I’m an American citizen

Thank you so much,
Erfan

Erfan,

Let’s get right to your questions.

  1. That is really up to you, but a major in biology will be perfectly fine for the airlines and will in fact give you a backup plan if something were to happen to your flying career.

  2. Yes, I would continue on and finish your degree, then got to a fast paced flight school like ATP. I am not a fan of the aviation colleges, they charge a huge amount of money and produce lessor results than going to college, then ATP does.

  3. If you go to ATP, you should be airline eligible roughly two years after starting your training. Other schools could take considerably longer.

  4. The best way to complete the 1,500 hours is by flight instructing. This is the tried and true method that the vast majority of pilots have followed over the years.

  5. Yes, you will need to talk to the financing department at both schools to see what you are eligible for.

  6. No, the major of the degree does not matter at all, just get a degree from a reputable college and you will be fine.

7, As long as you are a US citizen you will be perfectly fine.

Let us know what other questions you have.

Chris

Thank you so much for your help.
Can you explain more why do you prefer ATP flight school than aviation colleges? and which one do airlines prefer when they want to hire pilots?

Thank you,
Erfan

Erfan,

I believe Chris answered your first question already:
" I am not a fan of the aviation colleges, they charge a huge amount of money and produce lessor results going to college, then ATP does."
" in fact (a degree other than aviation would) give you a backup plan if something were to happen to your flying career.
If you go to ATP, you should be airline eligible roughly two years after starting your training. Other schools could take considerably longer

If you spend some time on ATP’s website you’ll see ATP has relationships with virtually EVERY Regional airline in the country and those relationships have gotten close to 400 students hired by the airlines in the last 12 months alone.

Adam