Real Answers from Real Pilots

Is there a chance of getting into a Major airline without college?

I’m from a middle class family at best. We dont have hundreds of thousands and I’m going to the reality. I dont know if I can afford both college AND flight school without taking out a loan. I’m a good student and schloarships and defiantly an option but they only go so far and I might need financial aid for college. At the end of the day is it possible to take out the loan for college and after graduation take out another for flight school? Will I get into a Major airline without college or will I be stuck flying regional forever?

Dakota,

Lets address the “getting into a Major without college” question. Frankly as for the financial aspects you’re in the same situation as many people (if not most). MOST people don’t have hundreds of thousands dollars and even more don’t have scholarships available to them. They go to community schools and take out loans (yes while you’ll prob need a cosigner you can get more than one) . Sometimes reaching our goals requires sacrifice.

Now to your question. Can you get to a Major without a degree. The answer is yes its “possible”. Will you? The odds are not in your favor. A few Majors require a degree so you’ve just cut out say half the job opportunities. There are a few that don’t “require” one but keep in mind you’ll be competing against other pilots who have the same qualifications as you BUT will have degrees. That begs the question why should they hire you? You’re going to need something on your resume to compensate. I have a friend who finally got hired last year at a Major with no degree. He’s happy and I’m happy for him. Thing is while most people spend 5-7yrs at a Regional he was there for 16. The money he forfeited would’ve paid for several degrees.

In short again it’s possible but if I were you I’d maybe think of going to a 2yr community college, get trained and hired at a Regional and then finish the 4yr degree online vs resigning yourself up being “stuck” at a Regional or crossing your fingers and hoping that you’re not.

Adam

1 Like

Thank you so much you were so helpful. Ive been so nervous about it but you really cleared it up for me.

Dakota,

I took out a loan for flight school, it was a bit of a leap of faith, but it has certainly paid off well for me. Remember, this isn’t a loan to buy a car, jets, etc, this is an investment in your future and your earning potential. Very, very few people in this country are successful without having invested in some sort of education.

Chris

1 Like

Thank you Chris. Where did you take out your loan? Was it hard to achieve?

I took out my loan through a lender that used to work with ATP, but no longer does. I didn’t have bad credit, but I was young and didn’t really have any credit, so I had to have a co-signer. The process was very easy and only took a few weeks. Talk to the admissions department, they can best guide you through the process.

1 Like

What are the chances of getting one with sallie mae or Wells Fargo? One of the ones on the ATP site right out of high school with little to no credit built up?

Dakota,

With little or no credit you’ll definitely require a cosigner. Also keep in mind ATP requires either a Private Pilot license, a 2yr degree or equivalent work experience for admission. If you’re right out of high school you will not be able to enroll.

Adam

1 Like

I didnt know you needed that. I thought you could just start from 0 and the provide the PPL. Looks like another setback… How would I go about getting the FFA medical?

Dakota,

You can start from zero IF you have a degree or work experience. The ATP program is very intensive and requires a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication. They’re not here to simply take people’s money. They want you to be successful. After over 30s they’ve determined they need to see some evidence an individual is up for the task which is why they set the requirements.

You simply need to find an AME (Aviation Medical Examiner) close by (Google works fine) and make an appointment.

Adam

1 Like

Dakota,

I don’t know that I would call that a setback. It is standard for most pilots to go to college, then flight training. I know you want to get into the sky quickly, but you really can’t rush the normal progression of education and training.

Chris

1 Like

You guys are both right. I plan on the 2 year degree right after high school. I’ll probably start it next year before I even graduate. I knew about airlines wanting the degree just didnt know about ATP wanting it. Its all fine I don’t know why I said It would be a setback when I was gonna get it regardless . I’m actually looking up Envoy Air right now. They have the flow through program to American Airlines but does anyone know if they’ll look for a 4 year degree since they guarantee a flow through anyway? Still going to get the degree I’m just curious

Dakota,

Actually they don’t BUT keep in mind flow-thrus can be cancelled at any time and currently the flow-thrus aren’t being picked up for close to 10yrs. What you have to keep in mind is if a Regional supports a Major (particularly if they own it like AA does with Envoy), they’re not going to shoot themselves in the foot and hire too many pilots from that Regional at a time and cripple the airline. Get the degree and give yourself options.

Adam

1 Like

Dakota,

I do not believe that Envoy has a degree requirement and thus you can flow through to American without a four year degree. Keep in mind though that flow throughs can be cancelled on a whim and you might decide you want to go to a different major airline. I am glad that you are planning on getting a full degree, you will definitely want one.

Chris

1 Like

You guys are both very helpful and I love that! All my questions being over the years have been answered in a matter of 2 days. You guys are awesome and I really appreciate everything from question 1. If I have more questions I’ll make sure to comment back on here because I love the details you guys give me. The Weight of all this has been lifted

Its our pleasure. Keep the questions coming and more important always look for ways to succeed and you will.

Adam

1 Like

Hey guys back with another question! You guys know how after you graduate you pay back your student loans? Is it possible to take out one larger sized student loan and Pay it back after college and flight school?

Dakota,

Generally speaking, you will have a flight school loan and a college loan. I have not heard of people combining these loans, but it doesn’t mean it isn’t feasible. You would need to check directly with lenders on that one.

Chris

1 Like

My Personal Finance teacher told me today I can take out many student loans with a cosigner and not really have to worry about them declining me since they’re student loans. Would you agree or disagree?

P.S. I plan to take out no more than 60000 for my bachelors if that helps my case of being declined

Also Chris, how did you go about taking out a college loan and a flight school loan and getting them both without not being accepted?

Dakota,

There is a big difference between student loans that are for college and loans for flight school. The flight school student loans do not fall under the auspices of FASFA process and therefore have a higher threshold for the bank to issue the loan.

I was lucky and did not have to take out loans for college. I did have to take out a loan for flight school and for that I needed a co-signer.

Chris

1 Like