How fast can i be hire

Hi my name is Luis, and I have 3 questions.

  1. I have my wife and 2 kids. my question is how fast after I complete my 1500 hours can I be hire? the only reason why i am asking is because I am scare not to be hire right away with a debt of $70000 and a family to support .
  2. I been reading some articles in reference to the staring salary of new graduate pilots ranging from $20000 to $25000 and I want to know if this is a accurate information? or what will be the exact salary in a local airline?
    3 Do I need a degree to get a job as a pilot on a local airline, if not at what point of my career I will need it .
    thank you so much for you help

Hello Luis and Welcome!

Fair questions so let’s get to it.

  1. Based on the current environment you’d be hired immediately. There’s actually more jobs than pilots right now which is why a number of Regionals will actually interview you at approx. 500hrs and guarantee you a position once you get your time. That said the aviation industry has always had it’s ups and downs and while there’s no reason to believe things will not remain excellent, there are in fact no guarantees.

  2. Actually I’d say first year pay at a Regional is between $20-32k a year. There is no “exact” since a) different airlines offer different pay scales and b) your salary is actually an hourly rate and the more you fly the more you make. Your first year you may be on Reserve in which case you may not have the opportunity to fly more even if you want to.

  3. You do not need a degree to fly for a Regional airline but most Majors require it and all prefer one. You don’t say your age but unless you’re 45+ chances are you’re going to want to eventually make the move to a Major. Not having a degree will severely limit your options.

Hope that helps?


Thank for the information Adam. I am pretty sure tha i will be having more questions hoppe you help me down the road

By the way iam 36

My pleasure Luis,

36 is plenty young to make it to the Majors. Again you don’t ever have to but it’s always nice to have the option.



Check out this link to an article that I wrote about pilot pay, it might help answer some of your questions.



I was running through old posting. Your statement - Your first year you may be on Reserve in which case you may not have the opportunity to fly more even if you want to - caught my eye. If you are put on Reserve, are you able to moonlight, i.e. work as a flight instructor at your local FBO? I guess the same with days off. Can you work side jobs to make extra money?



I will jump in here. At United we are prohibited from flying on the side. The primary reason for this is that any flying you do that is for profit counts against the same time clocks as your airline time does, thus creating a potential conflict of interest. For example, you are flying a Lear jet for a private company, finish your flight and then United calls and you go jump in the airplane, thus violating your requirement for time off inbetween duty periods. Your airline also needs you to be available when they call, not out flying with a student.

Non-flying side jobs are completely acceptable, as long as they do not interfere with your availability to the airline. I think you will find though that reserve can be rather unpredictable and that it would be hard to juggle two jobs at once, even on your days off. That being said, I do know some pilots who have found a way to do this.



One of the ironies of being a pilot is that in the beginning, when you’re just starting out (and need the money the most) is when it’s nearly impossible to do it. Aviation actually affords you a lot of down time but in beginning, your schedule will be somewhat random. Many pilots I know have second jobs, businesses etc but most weren’t able to do it till later in their careers unless you can perhaps find something you can do online whenever?

As for flying jobs as Chris said that’s a BIG no no. The FAA has flight and duty time limitations as far as how much flying you can do in a day, month etc. and if you violate those it’s illegal and you can lose all those licenses (and of course your job) that you spent all that time and money to get. Aside from being illegal it’s also irresponsible. Would you want your family getting in the back of a plane being piloted by someone who hasn’t had sufficient rest? Probably not. People think we just sit up there, put on the autopilot, and relax for 8 hrs up there (maybe take a nap?). Until you’ve done the job you really can’t appreciate how mentally fatiguing it can be.



Although you wouldn’t be able to take a side job as a pilot, you will have the option to pick up ‘open-time’ on your days off reserve and increase your paycheck.



Not every airline allows you to “pick up” while on Reserve.