I’m strongly considering getting my commercial pilots license. I love flying and have done a ton of research on my options. I just turned 26 and have been working in a completely different field but I haven’t been happy. I don’t have a 4 year degree either. I’ve read that if I really want to ever get into the major airlines, I’ll need a 4 year degree. So, my question is: does it matter when I get my 4 year degree? For example, if I go work on my license, get in with a regional and finish up my degree, does that really matter? I have about 2ish years left and could finish it relatively quick online. Or, are majors looking for that degree to be done before any flight training? I know I have a long journey ahead of me and just want to be efficient and smart with my decisions.
Very simple. When your time comes to apply to a Major they will ask “Do you have a 4yr degree?”. The answer is yes or no. They don’t care when you completed it or the field of study, only that it was completed prior to you saying “yes” on the application.
Thanks for answering so quickly. That’s what I assumed but just wanted to make sure!
Assuming I have my 4 year degree and I’ve been working for a regional for a while (4-6yrs), how likely is it to get in with the majors? I’ve read that it’s still insanely competitive to get in without an “in”. Any suggestions that would make me stand out as a candidate? Just networking?
I hate to be crass, but first and foremost you need to learn how to fly an airplane. It sounds like you’re concerned with step 843 in a process you’re yet to start. Flying for a Major is the pinnacle of our profession. Many make it, many do not. I’m sure you’re a good person with reasonable intelligence but you’re asking how do I play for the Yankees after watching them play but yet to pick up a ball and glove. You could be the CEO of United Airlines son but if you’re a lousy pilot and wash out of training you’re not getting in the cockpit.
When the time comes there’s plenty you can do to stand out (networking, training dept, union work, working in the Chief Pilot’s office) but you’re talking many years from now. The best thing you can do NOW is learn to fly and be the best pilot you can be.
I appreciate the response. I can understand where you are coming from but just as in any profession, there’s massive value in understanding what I can do NOW to be better in the future. I feel there are small things I can do now to make the right decisions. Obviously, flying a plane is the most important thing I can do. At the same time, I feel I am rightly confident in my ability to finish flight training (though very pre-mature) and want to make the decisions necessary to even compete. I guess it comes down to the fact that I feel a little behind other pilots, though I know I shouldn’t.
Regardless, I appreciate the advice and the time to respond!
Getting on at the majors is very competitive, but you do not need an in to get hired. Plenty of pilots get hired the old fashioned way, build flight time and apply. The best thing you can do now is get your licenses and start building flight time. After that, you need to finish your four year degree.