Can I become a Pilot with a criminal record? Am I too old?

Hello, I am sure this has been asked before but every situation is different. Here is my story. When I was 19 years old, I was with a friend that tried to steal an iPhone case(I know, stupid!). Well, he got caught and I was with him and was questioned by police if I knew my friend was trying to steal it. I said yes because I am an honest person(believe it or not lol) and was charged with the same crime, “Petty Theft”. Well, I am now 32 years old and have a bachelors degree, have held multiple manager positions of stores and branches, have worked at a bank dealing with loads of money and social security numbers when I worked in the loans department and have also worked as a gymnastics coach. I’ve NEVER been fired and have always proved that I am a trustworthy, hard working employee. Getting a job has never been an issue for me. My record has never been a problem because I have always took responsibility for my actions and never blamed anyone. I’ve also shown that my past mistake isn’t who I am today. I didn’t physically steal it but me knowing about it was just as bad so that is why I admitted to that officer that I knew it was being stolen.
Well, I am now married, have two baby girls, and have always wanted to be an airline pilot but never pursued it. I am now thinking about pursuing it. My question is, will I be denied or have a hard time landing an airline pilot job after I complete all the training? And lastly, am I too old to start this process?

Thank you so much! I really appreciate your time and help!


You’re right, both these questions get asked daily. While yes every situation is different yours is far from unique.

Long short if that is in fact the only blemish on your record you’ll be fine (if it isn’t you won’t) and no you’re nowhere near to old.

Please visit our FAQ section where we go into greater detail on these and other very common questions.


Thank you so much for your response. Yes, that is it. It was only a misdemeanor and that is all they will find. I haven’t even had a traffic ticket in over a decade.

I do have one more question, though. Regarding the covid vax… are airlines still requiring it for pilots? If so, are they accepting religious exemptions?


I do not see this being an issue long term, as long as you keep your record perfectly clean moving forward. I would recommend calling the recruiting departments of several regional airlines and asking them directly.

Some airlines are requiring the covid vaccine, others are not. Generally there are not religious exemptions as it is an entry requirement to many foreign countries.