Early Start

Hey! I’m 18 years old and I know this is the right career path for me as I’ve flown in small planes and done tons of research about aviation. I know for this career the minimum age for ATP certification is 21, I was wondering if theres anything I should be doing now to help prepare for my goal to hopefully be an airline pilot. Im eager to get started!


The best thing you can do right now is continue your education. The Majors still prefer a degree and you always want a backup plan just in case things don’t work out with flying. Your young and have time. Major in something you enjoy (it really doesn’t matter, the airlines just want to see the degree) and then you can do your flight training after.



We recommend you complete your bachelors degree first. If you’re in a big rush, you can do your associates and circle back to finish the last two years while flying for a regional. It’s a much tougher road balancing a full flying schedule and classes so it’s not ideal but it’s your choice.

If you don’t have any credit established, you should start ASAP. The loan is difficult to be approved for with little to not credit history, you may require a co-signer. Also, save money where you can to help float your living expenses while you’re in the program.



Focusing on schooling and getting good grades should be upmost priority. However, as Hannah mentioned - if you’re in a rush to get the time and certificates, complete 2 years of college and then while building time instructing or at a regional, complete your 4-year degree. I have known instructors that completed their degrees while instructing doing online classes with an accredited university… the choice is yours. The normal route is attending college then flight school, but in today’s time with the race to 1,500… everything has changed slightly. There are so many routes you could go, it comes down to securing finances and making the commitment (I think, personally).