Does becoming an airline pilot require 4 year degrees and is ATP the best route to go for flight school?

I’m 23 years old and am very interested in becoming a pilot as a career. I’ve heard that to have a chance to become an airline pilot usually requires a 4 year degree. Is that true and has anyone used the GI bill or other military benefits to get through flight school. I’m trying to gather any and all data to mentally prepare myself for finances and challenges to figure the best route using the GI bill or post 9/11. Any and all info on this would be greatly appreciated, thank you in advance.


The Regionals don’t require a 4yr degree but the Majors do so unless you want to spend 40 years at a Regional while all your friends move on I’d think about getting a degree. There are many pilots who have used their VA benefits for flight training and many who don’t. To use your benefits for flight training you must attend a Part 141 school which ATP is not. Not that may seem like a no brainer to go elsewhere BUT ATP is without question the fastest route. While you’d obviously save on training costs you’d be giving up seniority and future earnings. What many vets do is get their training at ATP and once they’re hired at a Regional use their benefits to pay for their degree so they can move on to a Major.

Obviously the choice is yours.


Ok thank you, with working at a regional do you have a pretty good schedule to be able to accomplish this online possibly ?

Many, many pilots have gotten their degrees online while flying for the regionals. It will take hard work and some sacrifices, but it is certainly feasible.

What about finances going through ATP ? Is it a possibility to have a job as well as go through ATP ?


Most people take out loans that are larger than their tuition to help cover living expenses.

It would be absolutely impossible to have a job while going through ATP. The course is a very accelerated program and there simply isn’t the time to work.