Career Progression

Hello all. I am thinking about following my dream of becoming an airline pilot. I am currently 24 years old and have both a bachelors and masters degree in accounting. I am seriously considering this oppurtunity with ATP’s program. I have a question about career progression after completing this program. Lets say I get a job with Envoy and build flight time/experience, how difficult is it to make the jump from working for a regional airline to one of the bigger airlines? Do the larger carriers prefer pilots with a degree or do they look for experience?

Thank you for your assistance!


Both. The majors just need to see that you have at least a bachelors degree. The masters degree is nice, but won’t help you as much as you think. The degree serves three main purposes. It allows the hiring panel to check the box, it shows that you’re able to follow through with your commitments, and it shows that you’re teachable.

The next thing major airlines look for is flight experience. A competitive major airline pilot candidate will have 4-5k hours of total flight time and a minimum of 1k turbine PIC under part 121 ops. Some get hired with less, but I would say that those pilots are the exception to the rule.

Major airlines also like to see community service, internal recommendations, and attendance of at least one career fair, but these are all just extra things that you can do to help you stand out among all of the other candidates that all have the same flight experience as you (overgeneralizing).



Tory covered it really well. They want the degree for sure but there’s no substitute for experience. That’s a requirement. Beyond that in my experience good networking is crucial. Making friends with pilot’s in your JS, maybe since union work and simply being a strong employee are all incredibly helpful. A solid Letter of Recommendation from your Chief Pilot is worth its weight in gold.



The major airlines want a degree and of course flight experience. The good news is that you already have your degree requirement out of the way, so you just need to focus on flight training.

To get to the majors takes many years and thousands of hours of flight experience. And usually some connections along the way.