Hey, so how difficult would you say it is for a student to go from ATP Flight School into an airline such as American? ATP is famous for advertising, “Zero Time to Airline in Two Years.” But how realistic is that? Especially if you don’t have a degree before hand. I know that American doesn’t have a policy against accepting those that don’t have a degree. Obviously it would be harder, but how much? Is it better to get right in the career so that one day I might have seniority? Or is it better to go to college and start later?
I would say to go get your degree first and then start flight training. As Adam and Tony have said, it’s easier and will give you more job opportunities (if you major in something other than aviation) if aviation doesn’t work out and will give you a solid back up plan. You need at least 2 years of college for ATP anyway, so might as well get your 4-year degree while you can. They talk about all of this in more detail in the FAQ section. You can also search this topic since your question might have already been answered.
Ok thank you! So, the type of degree I get doesn’t really matter. As long as it’s a four-year degree the airlines will like it right?
One thing I want to clarify, is that ATP advertises 2 years to a regional, and even that is starting to change with COVID throwing everything off.
It takes 4 years minimum to reach a major. Some never make it.
If you’re young we recommend finishing college first. The degree is always desired be the airlines no matter what they advertise.
I recommend you spend some quality time READING this forum (particularly the FAQ section) as we address the degree question and many other commonly asked questions as well.
As with many things in life there’s something called “supply and demand”. Prior to the pandemic there was a fairly significant shortage of pilots. Demand high, supply low. The airlines were grabbing everyone with a license and a pulse and yes even some folks without degrees were getting calls and somehow people got all excited that they’d be making $300k + without a degree. Problem is this industry is somewhat violatile. Right now there are a ton of newly minted pilots who’ll be getting in line behind the hundred of pilots who’ll be getting furloughed shortly. That means demand is low, supply is high. While I’m confident we will be returning to the high demand after this CV19 settles, the airlines will without question raise the bar as they always have. People with degrees will get hired first and those without will wait. How long? Could be a few years, could be decades, could be never. Those who wait will forfeit hundreds of thousands of dollars in income they’ll never recover OR they can hope they get lucky? Could happen but not really a very solid plan.
Yes you can major in anything you want. The majors just want to see a Bachelor’s degree.
By saying "people with degrees will get hired first and those without will wait, " are you refereing to the majors or regionals? Reason I ask is because I find myself in a situation where I don’t own a bachelor’s degree and will be starting ATP next month, however, I plan on achieving my bachelor’s after I get hired by the regionals. In your opinion would you be able to clarify my doubt so I can be better prepared on what to expect? Thanks!
I’m strictly talking about the Majors. Regionals do not, nor have they ever, required a degree.
ATP’s statement is actually more along the lines of “airline eligible in two years”, meaning that you should be able to build your flight time to 1,500 hours in about two years and then be eligible to apply to the airlines. This is of course the regional airlines.
It is almost impossible to get hired at a major airline without a degree. I can think of one pilot I know who got hired at Continental without a degree, his father just so happened to be the Vice President of flight operations for the airline. Other than him, I can’t think of a single one.
As to whether to flight train and then get a degree, or get a degree and then flight train, much of that depends on your situation in life. How old are you? Are you just about to graduate high school? If so, then it is probably best to go to college first, but if you are older in life, then it makes sense to get on at a regional and work towards a degree. Either way, you will need one when it comes time to apply to the majors.
The regionals do not require a degree, the majors do,