I'm autistic, does that make me disqualified?

Hello everybody, my name is Brice, and I’m 20 years old. I’ve been deeply interested in aviation since I was a kid, and I’ve been thinking about flying for a living, which is why I’m here looking for a professional opinion on whether I should pursue flying or not.

I am mildly autistic, and I understand that a person like me would likely not be considered fit for a demanding job like flying, but I assume that would be up to an AME to decide. Despite that, I have a clean criminal and driving record (I even drive a stick-shift), and I’m a working man with a job at the grocery store.

As far as my knowledge of aviation goes, I’ve learned a lot about flying from flight simulation and watching documentaries of how planes have crashed. I attended an aviation day camp six years ago that allowed me to fly a Skyhawk from takeoff to just before touchdown.

I’ve been working towards an AA degree over the past two years with the original goal of majoring in the arts. Do I need to have a certain 4-year degree to be accepted by the major airlines, or can it be any 4-year degree? Also, are there opportunities outside of flight schools where I can fly multi-engine aircraft or fly-for-hire?

I apologize if this is a bit a long, but thanks for reading!

  • Brice


There’s nothing that immediately prohibits or disqualifies a person with autism from being a pilot. As I’m certain you’re aware there are levels and degrees of function that would affect you’re ability to be successful (also if you’re currently taking any medication that could be an issue). As you said, it’s really for an AME to decide and I recommend you find a good one in your area.

As for your other questions, the first answer is no, there is no specific or required degree. Major airlines want their pilots to have a 4yr degree but the care little as to the field of study. Also yes there are many flying jobs that don’t involve instruction (although instructing is the most common route pilots use to build time). Charter flying, light cargo, bank check flying are just a few. I recommend you do some Googling to find others.

No apology, good questions.


1 Like


We are really not able to dispense medical advice on this forum. The only way to fully answer your question is to go obtain a first class medical from an FAA medical doctor.

Autism has such broad range of capability levels, it really is impossible to say how you would do in an airline interview without having met you. One of my sons has been diagnosed as mildly autistic, I am holding out hope that he will be able to do whatever he wants when he gets older, to include flying is he wants to.


Thank you both very much for replying! I’ll go ahead and find an AME near me before I go any further in pursuing being a pilot. As far as my education goes, I’m relieved to know that I can still pursue a non-aviation related four year degree, so there’s nothing I need to change there. If I do become a pilot, I will certainly keep my eye out on any flying jobs I can find.

  • Brice

All are correct. The first step is to find a good AME, hopefully one that is well educated on the spectrum. As for you college it is correct that any 4yr degree would be acceptable but I would recommend you look at an aviation degree if possible either as a professional pilot or management. This will help you learn more regarding aviation and help maybe with your interviews. I would suggest if you want to pursue a college degree that you look into the military. If the military will accept you and teach you to fly and pay for your college then the airlines will be calling you once you are out. Im pulling for you. If per chance that doesn’t work out for you I would still find an instructor and start working on you private license. With the new FAA rules out as long as you have a valid Drivers License you can fly privately without AME approval.


There’s a bit more to it than just having a driver’s license: https://www.faa.gov/news/updates/?newsId=87125