Do I Need A Degree To Become An Airline Pilot?

Regional airlines usually have no college degree requirement. They typically hire people without degrees because there is a lack of airline pilots currently.

Do I Need A Degree To Become An Airline Pilot?

These companies also tend to hire people based on their personality instead of qualifications. 

However, potential pilots need to meet minimum requirements such as a minimum ATP record and an excellent reputation with the FAA (see also “How Do I Find My FAA Records?“). 

Aviation majors do not need an aviation degree to work in the industry. However, many people think that an aviation degree increases your chances of being hired.

Aviation degrees are not necessary, but are a great way to show employers that you are dedicated to the profession.

Flight school is an expensive option, but if you want to be a pilot, then this could be the best route. However, there are other options such as online courses, or community colleges.

You must think about what you want out of your career before deciding which route to take.

Flight Training 

Full-time flight pilot pathway programs are the fastest way to gain qualifications and start flying.

Students focus on learning the process of flying a plane first, getting seven certificates and ratings, then working as a CFI to gain 1500 hours, then becoming a First Officer. 

When they get to the regional airlines, they can get a role as a First Officer, can focus on earning a degree online, and can also work towards becoming a Captain.

Fast Track Degrees

Accelerated degree programs are available if students want to speed up the learning process. 

Students can choose to take flight training courses at a certain school while completing their degree at a different University.

This allows students to complete their degrees more quickly, but some students may be put off by the idea of flying without having completed flight training, so a slower approach may be better. 

Traditional Degree

A normal degree program is beneficial in many ways. Students are given the option to apply for federal funds for the school.

They can do their flight lessons and studies together if they choose an aviation-related degree, and once they finish their bachelor’s degree, they don’t need as much flight time for their ATP and can reduce it to 1000. 

However, the downside to their career options could be outweighed by the benefits, as it can take a long time to reach the airlines. Also, it’s often very costly as it can cost up to $200k-$300K.

A bachelor’s degree in aviation requires knowledge about flying planes, aircraft, and other types of vehicles.

You will also learn how to fly them safely and effectively. Aviation degrees cover many different topics, including aeronautics, engineering, meteorology, physics, mathematics, chemistry, biology, and more.

Bachelor of Aviation students will be prepared for many different careers after graduation.

Students who want to become actual pilots must learn the process of flying planes, while those who wish to work in airports need to master the skills necessary to operate mechanical equipment.

Those who want to manage airlines need to understand the business side of aviation, including accounting, marketing, and human resources.

Graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Aviation is an excellent choice if you want to enter into any of the above fields. 

Skills Needed 

Do I Need A Degree To Become An Airline Pilot?

Pilots need to be adaptable, communicate well, and have confidence in themselves. These skills can help pilots perform better. What other skills are needed? :

  • Pilots must be good at math. When making calculations for flying or handling weight, pilots use simple math, geometry, and algebra. 
  • Multitasking is also important when flying planes. Pilots must be aware of their surroundings and pay attention to any changes in weather or other factors.
  • Teamwork is also very important because if the pilot makes a mistake while working together with other people, it could result in disaster.

Which Degree Is Best?

Aviation majors should consider enrolling in an aviation-related college program. Their degrees may be helpful when applying for jobs as pilots.

Knowledge of flight mechanics, aircraft systems, and other areas of aviation would also prepare them well for their ground exams. 

As mentioned earlier there are many careers besides being an airline pilot. However, getting a degree in something completely unrelated to science can be a good insurance policy.

You may want to study something completely different from your chosen field. This way, if you ever lose your job as an airline pilot, you’ll still have a backup plan.

Aviation fluctuates more than most careers and it doesn’t always pay well. Pilots are in high demand when there is an excess of qualified people, but it also means that there are fewer jobs. 

A pilot who is skilled and experienced can get paid better than someone without experience.

However, if you’re willing to take a job flying cargo planes, you might make less money, but you’ll be working for a company that provides a steady paycheck.

Under 18 Options 

Flying is similar to driving in that both require the use of a vehicle. However, pilots must know how to control the aircraft. Pilots also need to know how to land safely. 

FTAs offer exemptions for all students that already have their PPL.

Even if you haven’t started your training yet, you can still enrol on an integrated course, and obtain your frozen ATPL (required for airline applications). 

If you find fitting piloting training around work or study schedules works well for you, then it’s something you can persist with.

You can complete the necessary modules in a phase-wise approach. More information on how to gain your qualification before turning 18 can be found online.

Working Your Way Up

Pilots who work for airlines should expect to work hard to get promoted. Seniority is earned by working long hours.

Working nights and weekends means that pilots must fly during off-peak times. This means less pay, but also fewer hours worked.

In Summary 

So, to sum up, although you don’t need a degree to become an airline pilot, it certainly has its benefits. You need a good education to be a pilot.

Flight school is very expensive but if you want to learn how to fly, it is worth every penny. 

Applicants for airline jobs need to be at least 23 years old, have recorded at least 1,000 hours total time as a plane pilot, and have recorded at least 50 hours as a multi-engine plane pilot.

To get the necessary hours and gain valuable experience, prospective airline pilots should work as flight instructors.

You should also have a high GPA or else you won’t be hired by any airline. Once you complete your training, you’ll be able to work for major airlines like Delta Air Lines.

Those who fly for the army, navy, air force or any other branch of the military have a head start when it comes to getting into flying lessons. 

This is because they already had some sort of flight training before they started learning how to fly. They also have an advantage over people who didn’t get military flight training.

Only you can decide if it’s worth investing in or not. Whatever you choose, be sure to enjoy the ride. 

Jacob Stern
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