College and Aviation training


I am twenty years old and I am an aspiring commercial pilot. I do not have a college education or flight schooling. I have a plan for my schooling and wondering if someone could tell me if it’s a decent plan or if I should go a different route.

Currently, I am planning to enroll at a technical college to get a business management associate degree. While in school I will be getting my private pilot’s license from a local regional airport. My thought from there is to go to ATP flight school, go through their fast track program, and become an instructor. From there off to the regionals. During my time at the regionals I will be getting my bachelors in management with a business management focus online from a state school. Then hopefully go to the majors.

My main question is, how important is it that I get a bachelor degree before flight school? Is an associate’s degree a good option so I can begin flying as soon as possible to get flight hours from a regional airline with the intent to get my bachelors during my time with the regionals? From what I understand it doesn’t really matter what degree I get just that I get my bachelors before I can work for the majors.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.



Your plan sounds solid. The only reason to get your bachelors first would be if you’re concerned whether you have the discipline to return to school later. If not it’s a very efficient route and one that we often recommend.



I like your plan, if you are willing and able to stick with it. Also, make sure that you go to a college for your associates that is actually accredited and not one of these for profit colleges where your credits will not transfer.



Several of my peers followed this exact same track. It worked for them just fine. Two friends in particular are SkyWest are working on their 4 year degrees while they build seniority towards their captain upgrade. While upgrading to captain at a regional doesn’t require a degree, they’ve been first officers long enough to control their time off to get the studies done. If this is how you’d like to spend your time as an FO, it’s definitely possible.


Adam, Chris, and Tory
Thank you for your advice I appreciate it very much!


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