Real Answers from Real Pilots

School preference for Major Airlines

I understand that majors prefer people with 4yr degrees, and the degree really doesn’t matter, but would they prefer a certain college? For example, embry-riddle? Would it make a difference if a 4yr student that came from embry-riddle be preferred over a 4yr student that came from a not so popular college?

Ethan,

As long as the college is an accredited, reputable college or university, it really does not matter.

Chris

Ethan,

Well, since we agree that they don’t care what the degree is AND since if you graduated from Riddle that means your degree would be aviation related I’d have to say no. They want a legitimate degree from an accredited school.

Adam

Why do the majors require college? Obviously it doesn’t matter, I thought it’s all about flying if you’re a pilot. I don’t understand this.

Yogev,

The short answer is because they can. A more thoughtful answer is before they invest tens of thousands training a pilot they want to know that the person is teachable and capable of committing to a goal an accomplishing that goal. To further address your question it’s most definitely NOT “all about flying”. Flying is the easiest part of the job. Pilots at Major airlines (and Regionals) are responsible for the lives of hundreds of people every day and that generally has little to do with stick and rudder skills. When pilot’s “earn their pay” it’s usually more often about using sound judgment, decision making and discipline. Does the fact a person has a 4yr degree mean they have those skills? Not necessarily, BUT, it does demonstrate again that by choosing to continue their education they made used some judgment to make a good decision and exhibited some discipline. While a degree won’t make a person “smarter” there’s no question that person is more educated. As a pilot at a Major you’re the face at the door giving the pax the warm fuzzies they’re going to arrive half way around the world safely. That means someone who presents a certain image and speaks/communicates well. Again something often seen in graduates.

Aside from all the above the fact that your application could end up in the trash if you can’t check the box should be enough to motivate you. If you were invited to interview with Delta and they asked you “knowing we WANT pilots with degrees but you chose not to get one why should we hire you?” how would you respond?

Adam

1 Like

I understand and it does makes sense. Will a major hire someone who’s still in college? My issue is I have no idea what I want to study.

Yogev

The Majors want a degree. If you’re still in school then you do not yet have a degree so the answer is no. Besides if you started training today you wouldn’t be talking to a Major for at least 6-7yrs. Hopefully you can get an idea by then.

Adam

Yogev,

No, the majors want to see a completed degree. Otherwise, many pilots would take advantage of “being in college” instead of actually completing a degree.

Chris

Yogev,

For what it’s worth, I just heard that Horizon is going to start paying for
their pilot’s college tuition. I haven’t seen anything in writing about
this program, but if this is true that would be helpful for anyone that
still needs their degree.

I wouldn’t count on any airline paying for your tuition, but if you still
don’t have a degree by the time you get to a regional you might get lucky.

Tory

Thanks Tory,
That is a really nice thing if they do that. Thanks for the heads up on this one.

Yogev

Are online degrees as reputable as the traditional in-class degrees?

Michael,

As long as they’re from reputable, accredited schools, sure. There’s nothing on the degree that says “on-line”.

Adam

The diploma won’t mention anything about “online.” What matters most is
that the college is reputable.

Tory

Michael,

It really depends on the college. I would certainly not get an online degree from the University of Phoenix, but a school that is reputable, accredited and has an actual physical presence should be just fine.

Chris

Does liberty university ring any bells???

Michael,

While I’ve personally never been a fan of the good Rev Falwell, Liberty is accredited and does compete Div 1 so I’m thinking they’ll work.

Adam