Real Answers from Real Pilots

Airline preferences

Do airlines prefer pilots with college degrees or pilots with military aerial combat experience?

Emiliano,

Last I checked, only 40% of airline pilots have military experience. Preferred or not, the fact is that there are more airline pilots without military experience.

Tory

Emiliano,

While combat experience is admirable and we all have tremendous respect for the fighter jocks it’s as far removed from what airline pilots do as a Formula 1 driver is from a bus driver.

To answer your question virtually every Major airline lists a college degree as either a requirement or at least competitive or desirable. There not a single one that mentions “aerial combat experience”. Further to get that combat experience, with the exception of flying helicopters in the Army you’d have that degree as well.

Adam

Emiliano,

Both. But to my knowledge, almost all military aviators have college degrees, with the exception of maybe some Army helicopter pilots. The military is certainly not going to hand over a billion dollar piece of equipment with unlimited power to destroy to somebody that did not go to college and become an officer. So either way, you will need to get a college degree.

Now the regionals do not require a degree, but the major airlines all do.

Chris