Age, timing and demand

Hi everyone,

My name is Peris. I’m thinking of career change, I’m currently 38 with perfect health.
I started browsing for pilot schools last week with an interest in commercial pilot. I took my first discovery flight this past Sunday and liked the experience with a different training school.
Based on my research, I’ve concluded ATP would be the best school to train at starting in Jan 2023 hopefully.

So, with the current situation airlines are going through after lockdowns. There’s a high demand for hiring pilots, and I believe I can be a good asset.
Do I stand a chance of being hired after my training, and with age limits? Also, has anything changed with age requirements based on the current situation?

Thank you!


As I say literally on a daily basis, this is by far the number one question asked on this forum. At 38 you’re far from too old and you can have a very good career as an airline pilot, particularly (as you point out) due to the demand.

The caveat is you’re not a young person either and the clock is ticking. You’ve already lost many years at the top which you can’t get back and no, nothing has changed and mandatory retirement is still 65.

Long short you need to get crackin’.



38 is not too old to start the career. If you started in January depending on your birthday you could finish your program by 39. I’d say approximately 2 years for time building for the average, you could be hired by an airline around 41. That’s almost a 25-year career in the industry where the mandatory retirement age is 65.

Airlines want to hire safe and well-trained pilots, demonstrate those qualities and you should have no issues. I don’t see any forecast of hiring to slow down anytime soon.


Brady, thank you for your input.

Adam, thank you.


At 38 you are not too old, but you certainly are not on the young side either. It is good that you are considering a school that can train you quickly, as you really need to get moving on this career change quickly. Please check out the FAQ section as there is a detailed post there that deals with the subject of age.

But yes, you absolutely stand a good chance of being hired, you just need to have realistic career expectations.



As everyone has said, not too late but get going. Hiring is at an all time high right now but it won’t last forever. The longer you wait, the higher your chances of being behind the wave leaving you the most junior and most vulnerable to furloughs.

Also, I want to add that though there are lots of jobs opportunities but you still need to be a qualified candidate. If you have a poor training record, accidents/incidents, fired from a job or disciplinary action you will still have a hard time getting a job. At the end of the day, you’re still getting hired for a position with great responsibility. That can’t be taken lightly.