Airline Pilot career track

Good morning,

My name is Alan, I am 26 and want to pursue a career as a Airline Pilot. I am making a career change from Telecommunications to Aviation, i understand to get hired with major airlines you need a 4 year degree. I plan on enrolling into a community college and obtain Associates degree, then enroll into a flight school. After receiving all licenses I want to become a CFI, is it possible to go to a University to finish bachelor’s degree program and be a flight instructor at the same time? I want to have my Bachelor’s degree in hand before getting hired by regionals.

Alan,

It would be very difficult to be a CFI and go to college at the same time. If you go to ATP, it will be impossible.

There is really no reason to have a bachelor’s degree before going to the regionals. You will have plenty of time to work on a degree while you are there and will be able to better focus on your studies.

Chris

Alan,

As Chris said if you instruct for ATP you would not be able to go to school as well. Now if you want to work part-time at the local flight school and take X plus years to build your 1500hrs and delay your career you could absolutely do that, my question is why? Honestly I read your post and was thinking to myself “this is a guy with his head on straight with a solid plan” until I got to the end. Again I’ll ask why would you want your BA prior to going to a Regional? As Chris said you definitely don’t need one, you’ll have far more down time flying as a Regional pilot to study and much more income to live like a person. Give it some thought.

Adam

Thank you Adam and Chris for replying. The reason I would want the BA before regionals is so I would not have to worry about it then. Would it be a better plan to get to the regionals first then work on my studies? Or have at least a associates in hand before starting flight school? You and Chris have excellent feedback and is really helpful, I want to have a good plan and follow through.

Alan,

This is America and you can do what you like but honestly IMHO you should wait. There’s zero benefit to getting it early and it WILL delay your progress. After you get settled at a Regional you’ll be amazed at how much downtime you’ll have to study and again you’ll also have some income. I know a TON of pilots who waited till they were at their Regional and completed their BAs with zero issues. Another nifty thing is there are a few aviation programs out there that will not only take the credits from you community college but also give you credits for your licenses and ratings (incl your ATP which you wouldn’t have if you did it before you got to a Regional) cutting the amount of time and credits needed down significantly. Further seniority is EVERYTHING at the airlines and will effect every aspect of your life. The sooner you start the better.

Adam

Alan,

If you were younger, I would have different advice, but at the age of 26, I would recommend flight training first, then college. I wouldn’t even worry about the associates degree, I would get to an airline, then focus on the college degree. This is the most efficient path and will result in the least amount of time, thus prolonging your airline career and money making potential as long as possible.

Thank you for the kind words, it is nice to know that what we do is found to be helpful.

Chris

Good evening, I finally purchased my Cessna kit and am now studying the ground school from home before flying. Considering my age (27), should I continue finishing the ground school and taking the FAA written before I begin flying? Or sign up at the flight school where I can study and then fly according to syllabus? I currently work full time so I study a couple of hours in the afternoon. I don’t mind cutting my hours down to 20/week if it means going to flight school now is an advantage and will take less time. I just thought i’d work, study and at the same time save money for my instrument. What is your professional opinion?

Alan,

My opinion is you should ask your instructor/flight school what they advise.

Adam