Real Answers from Real Pilots


Hello to everyone. I’m currently 44 years old. I’m seriously considering pursuing the dream. Having read several posts, it seems I’m not alone in making an effort later in life. I wouldn’t actually be able to start training for a couple of years because I want to be as close to debt free as possible. By then I should have paid off any remaining debt, including my home. I would have to take out a loan for training though. My question is in regards to educational requirements. I didn’t actually graduate from a four year college. Being young and far less forward thinking, I decided I didn’t need to bother with the last semester. I do have a two year degree from a technical college. So I want to pose a question. Should I consider trying to gain a four year degree or would I have opportunities with the two year degree? The airline hiring information on ATP’s site seems to indicate there are several carriers that would consider someone without a four year degree. I would like to know if that’s actually realistic or do I need to consider returning to school. If I were to return to school, are they more concerned with a certain major or just the ability to say they hired a college graduate? A major airline would be nice but it’s not a deal breaker for me. I wouldn’t really be doing this for the money. I believe I would be happy with any job that kept me in the air.


This is really your call. There are opportunities for pilots without 4yr degrees. The Regionals don’t require one nor do most of the LCCs or mid tier cargo (Spirit, Allegiant, Atlas, ABX, etc). The Majors definitely want one but at this point if you wait 2yrs to start, you won’t be looking to get hired till you’re about 48 so you might not even want to.

Totally your call but if anything I’d put it on the back burner for now. Start your training and getting flying as fast as you can to get into the food chain. If you’re dying to go to Delta etc you can take your 2yr, get some credits for your licenses and ratings and get your BS in short order while you’re flying for a Regional. If not you’re good to go.


Thank you for your response sir.

I agree with Adam. At your age, I’d just get going with your flight training asap. I wouldn’t worry about the degree… you could still have a wonderful career flying jets for a living. If you change your mind along the way and desire a major, than you work on an online degree during your time at a regional.

Thank you for your response Hannah. Am I correct in my understanding that the two year degree satisfies the minimum requirements at some airlines? That would seem to allow me quite a few opportunities.


To my knowledge, no airline is concerned with a two year degree. Major legacy airlines want to see a four year degree (the exception being American if you flow through from one of their regionals). Regionals and low cost airlines like Allegiant do not generally have any degree requirement at all.


Thank you sir.

Anytime. Let us know how else we can help you.

Everyone has been incredibly helpful and informative.

That’s what we’re here for!


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@ToddWalker It’s not that the Associates checks the box. It’s actually that regionals and LCC typically don’t require a 4 year degree at all. Having a two year degree is kind of no man’s land… the regionals and LCC don’t need it but the majors want more than that. It’s up to you whether or not you decide the majors are worth putting in the last two years to earn your bachelors while at the regionals.
Glad we could help! As Tory said, that’s what we’re here for! Let us know if you have any other questions. As always, keep us updated on your journey!