Real Answers from Real Pilots

Requirements for top jobs

Hi my name is Taylor smith. I’m 25 and have zero experience flying. But I’m pretty sure this is what I want to do. My question is about job requirements at major airlines. I know about the flight hours and stuff, but one thing that I keep getting different answers on is degree/college. Do I need an associate’s or bachelor’s degree? And if so, would the best course of action be to go to a flight college and earn a degree while building flight time like at university of North Dakota? I know this is ATP but any info would be appreciated. Thanks

Taylor,

If you aspire to fly for a Major you will most likely need a 4yr degree. If you look at EVERY Major airlines hiring requirements it will either say 4 yr Bachelor’s degree required or preferred. While the Regionals don’t care the Majors do and that’s what they want. Is it “possible” to get hired without a 4yr degree, sure it’s possible but you’d be severely limiting your opportunities. The Majors are the goal for virtually every professional pilot. Many people WITH degrees try and don’t succeed so why would they hire someone without unless they have something VERY weighty to offset the deficiency. The Majors know that all pilots know a degree is desired so if (and that’s a huge IF) you were to get a call for an interview and the recruiter asked you why they should hire you without a degree while they have a stack of applicants with the same ratings and flight experience AND degrees what would be your answer?

Personally I’ve never been a fan of aviation universities. They’re generally very expensive and you’re also putting all your eggs in one basket. If for some reason you decide not to fly OR medical out of a job what would you do then? I’m a big fan of having a backup plan. Additionally while you’re certainly not old at 25 it’s always better to start sooner than later as far as seniority goes. I’d much rather you get a 2yr degree at a community college (save some cash), do your flight training, build time and get hired at a Regional and then complete your degree while working AND building time, experience and seniority. That said the decision is yours.

Adam

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Adam,

Thank you very much for the thorough answer to my question. I’m glad I now have a direct answer from someone in the field. I appreciate your honest opinion and has given me a lot to think about. Thanks again for your time

Taylor

Adam,

If I could ask you one more thing. What type of degrees do the major airlines like? Do online degrees look worse than normal degrees? Thanks

Taylor

Taylor,

Just about any major will be fine. I would avoid schools that are purely online, like the University of Phoenix. If you find a school that offers online classes, but also has a brick and mortar campus, that should be fine.

Chris

Taylor,

As Chris said online degrees are fine as long as they’re from legitimate schools. As for the type of degree the airlines don’t care. it’s more a matter of accomplishing the task than the field of study.

Adam

Some international Major Airlines don’t really mind about degrees. As long as you have the flying hours requirements type rated or none type rated you’ll be fine. ALTHOUGH, some Airlines ESPECIALLY, Korean Airlines requires a 2 year course from universities. Going back to type rating, YOU HAVE to pay for them UNLESS, you have been type rated. I’m not sure if you’re going to this route besides me but i just wanna add/give you more info. I haven’t gone to ATP yet but, I have been reading my textbooks, hand books and doing a lot of research about aviation and airlines. I’m planning on finishing my training next year of March in Richmond Branch.

Bryan,

If you check the International Requirements not only do most foreign carriers require a Type Rating but they also want TIME in type. That means unless you’ve got a buddy with a 767 or A330 you’re going to need to get hired at a US Major first.

Adam

And once you get hired at a US major, I highly doubt that you will leave it :slight_smile:

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Thanks for the correction Adam! I forgot that pilots needs flying hours on the specific aircraft as it’s a one of the important requirement!