Real Answers from Real Pilots

Degree for regional in the future

Hi. I have learned a lot from you guys and are grateful for the information.I just had a quick question. I am in high school and it will be three years before I graduate. I just want to fly for a regional. I was wondering in the future 6-7 years from now how the regionals will look and if I really need a degree for the regionals or an associate is good. I really love aviation and want to be a pilot for PSA or Envoy one day. I just wanted to know if a degree makes you that much more competitive for the regionals. Or is it easy to get hired without one. I guess what I’m saying is, does a degree really matter that much with the regionals or is it still easy to get hired by them without one. Thanks

Hi Connor,

No degree is required for the regionals. Frequently Asked Questions - Airline Pilot Life
I see that you are only interested in flying for a regional, but earning a degree is always a good idea. It is an experience in it of itself and it gives you something to fall back on if flying doesn’t work out or if your goals change, maybe if you want to fly for a major or for some other company that does require a degree.

It’s hard to predict where the industry will be. The industry is just trying to stay afloat at the moment. However, there are signs that there will still be a demand for pilots once hiring resumes.

Tory

Connor,

Unfortunately none of us have crystal balls so stating what anything will look like in 6-7yrs is a guess at best. That said in all the years there have been Regionals, none that I’m aware of does or has ever required a degree of any kind nor will one make you more competitive. So if you do in fact only aspire to fly for a Regional you’re all good.

BUT, and this is a REALLY BIG BUT. You say your 3yrs from graduating from HS which means you’re about 14 or 15yo right now. No disrespect but trust me, you have little idea what may or may not be important to you 10, 15, 20yrs from now. I don’t know you or your priorities but I’m willing to bet when you’re 30, have been flying for a Regional for 9yrs and EVERYONE else you know at the airline is moving on to the Majors, flying some really cool, really big aircraft around the planet making 3 and 4 times the money you’re making you’re not going to be happy. Why are they getting hired and you’re not? Because they have degrees which is what the Majors want.

Adam

Thank you guys for the valuable information. You guys are a big help

Connor,
Don’t limit yourself now! You’re too young to only be thinking of the regionals. If that’s truly where you want to end up, there isn’t anything wrong with that, but give yourself the opportunity to have choices! With a degree you could stay at a regional and be happy, or go to a major or wherever else you would want to fly. Without a degree, you’ll be much more limited!

-Hannah

Connor,

The regionals have historically never asked for a degree, so I do not see that changing anytime soon.

My bigger question to you is why do you want to limit y9ourself just to the regionals? That plan sounds fine now, but you will miss out on millions of dollars in income along the way and a much better quality of life. So why the desire to stay at the regionals?

Chris

Thanks for the info and advice. I know my priorities might change in the future. But my thinking right now with the regionals is, seniority, I have heard that the regionals give you a lot more after so many years. Thanks

Connor,

The people that chose to stay at a regional because of seniority are usually over 50. If you okayed your cards right, you could be to a major in enough time to retire in the top 10% of the seniority list there.

Yes, you could in theory be more senior at a regional, but you will soon grow tired of flying five flights per day and will really wish that you were at a major flying one flight to London instead. Do not limit yourself now.

Chris

Thank you for clearing things up. One more question. In your opinion, over all, not talking salary. Is flying for a regional or major better.

Connor

Connor,

That’s a matter of personal preference. I actually really enjoyed my flying at a Regional. We flew EVERYWHERE in the US and it was great. The main reason I chose to leave was more about the lack of stability. All the Regionals do flying for some Major airline. They don’t actually sell their own tickets. What that means is when times get tough, much of their flying gets cut first. Last year was a perfect example of the potential volatility. Covid hit and air travel was crippled. While all the airlines struggled, none of the Majors shut down but 3 Regionals closed for good. I have friends who were at ExpressJet for decades. These guys planned to grow old and die there and yes they had tons of seniority but if the company goes out of business you’re getting fired just like the new guys. These pilots who thought they were done are now out trying to find work. It’s not pretty.

Adam

Thanks for informing me. Myself personally. As of now, I think I would like flying regional a little better. But like you said there is uncertainty. Thanks

Connor

How difficult and competitive is it nowadays to get hired with a regional for say PSA or Envoy for example. Thanks

Connor

Connor,

Right now it’s nearly impossible as none of the Regionals are hiring. By the time you’re ready things could and should be very different. Of course there are no guarantees.

Adam

Thank you. Even though the regionals don’t require a 4 year degree. Do they really want you to have one. Or is an associates good enough. Thanks

Connor

Connor,

The Regionals have no requirement for a degree of any kind.

Adam

Thank you for the information.

Connor

Connor,

While we state that the regionals do not require a degree, and they historically have not, a degree certainly helps and could be the difference between getting to the regional you want to or not. Just some life advice here, you should get a degree.

Chris