Real Answers from Real Pilots

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

Degrees are not going to matter one bit in 5 years. The pilot shortage will be so bad at that time that every major airline will be desperate to hire pilots, you don’t need a degree! I have a friend who is a corporate pilot here in Dallas and he doesn’t have any college and Southwest is about to hire him. Or you could go over to China and they will pay you over 300k tax free because their so desperate over there. Options are endless when you finish your flight training!

Kirk,

I am going to have to respectfully disagree with you on this one. While there is a shortage and it has affected the regionals, the majors have a rather large supply of pilots to hire from and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. Plus, there will always be pilots that do have degrees and they will continue to go to the top of the applicant list, especially at the legacy carriers like United and American.

If you want to get hired by a legacy US airline, you should plan on getting a degree and should continue to do so.

Chris

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Kirk,

As I’m rolling up my sleeves I’ll begin with an “with all due respect” you’re mistaken my friend. First as Chris said while the Regionals are somewhat desperate the Majors are not. While you may have A friend who’s getting hired at SWA (and if in fact he has no degree I’m willing to bet he’s got some other heavy stuff on his resume (military etc) there are HUNDREDS of pilots without degrees who aren’t getting called. Second do you have any idea how to get hired in China, what’s involved and most important what the work conditions are over there? Well I do and trust me it’s no picnic, no union, no protection and no guarantees.

My first response was clear, YES it’s possible to get hired but you’re significantly reducing your odds. Now if YOU want to spend tens of thousands of dollars training and years building time and then want to cross your fingers and hope for the best, that’ your decision but you really shouldn’t advocate others to follow because you have A friend.

Adam

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Hey Chris, Adam! Any advice after flight school to get hired into an airline? Test to take? Interview skills to know about? Any other credentials they’ll look for? Thanks again for the answers you guys rock!

Dakota,

When you finish your flight training you will most likely work as a CFI to build your hours. During the time that you are instructing you will meet plenty of people that have recently gone to the airlines and have very fresh information about what each airline is looking for. That being said, the best things you can do are build your flight time, keep your FAA, driving and criminal records clean, and continue to learn as much as possible. There won’t be anymore tests for you to take until you are hired by a regional.

Chris

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Never have been pulled over yet and never been in criminal trouble so I’m squared away lol!

Hey guys. Is there anything I need to learn on my own for the PPL test, Insturment test, Commerical pilot test etc? Will ATP teach me it all?

Dakota,

Do well and work hard in training, don’t bust checkrides and have a great attitude. The rest will take care of itself.

Adam

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Hey guys a quick question over here lve been reading all the questions and answers so I’m quite familiar with some things but still need to know what’s the best way to go in terms of getting a degree in order to qualify for enrollment with atp is better to get like an aviation degree or just go to a community college and get any degree in order to be eligible and then to to apt having no knowledge of aviation? Any advice about that

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Yorfelix,

ATP (and the airlines) really aren’t concerned with what you study in college. The degree is more to demonstrate an ability to show some discipline and commitment. As far as having no aviation knowledge, you’ll gain all you need at ATP during your flight training. I would encourage you to get a degree in something you find interesting or would possibly like to pursue in the event flying doesn’t work out.

Adam

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So, would owning and running my own successful business for 16+ years count as dicipline and commitment in place of a four year degree? At 47 I do not see myself going on the finish my bachelors degree.

Andrew,

For admission to ATP I’m reasonably certain it would. As far as getting to a Major it wouldn’t. That said at 47 there’s a good chance you’d be better off staying at a Regional so it may be a moot point.

Adam

Wow, fast response, this is great. I am half way through my commercial ticket right now. In fact I just passed my written today. Regionals? I can be happy with that. I could get my time by 50. That leaves 15 years of flying. Sounds good to me. Right now my goal is CFI/I. But my Uncle, at 63 1/2, just got his ATP and got picked up by a part 135 flying Falcons. So who knows.

Thank you so much it really helps a lot. Greatly appreciated

Hey adam

Can I get in ATP right after night school
I have my private pilot license. I went to
Flight academy?

Alejandro,

If you’ve got your private you’re good to go. No night school while at ATP though. ATP is a fulltime commitment.

Adam

Alejandro,

Having your PPL will meet ATP’s criteria. As Adam said, ATP’s program is a full time commitment, so college will have to wait until later. And yes, you will need a college degree to get to the majors, but not the regionals.

Chris