Is a degree mandatory or competitive?

Currently working 2 jobs and studying for my written (mostly reading PHAK and doing quizzes on private pilot app). My primary goal is to pay my debts off before enrolling at ATP with ambitions to fly part 121 one day. My question is how is my outlook for the big boys like Delta, United, American etc look like without a degree? Also any advice on other resources that can help me build a foundational knowledge prior to enrolling is more than welcome.

Thanks in advance


The title of your post says it all. The Legacies no longer require a degree but they 100% prefer it and those with one will be getting hired before you. That could mean months, could mean years, could mean you never get the call.

If you absolutely want to fly for one of the Big 3 you want a degree. If you don’t get one it’s a crap shoot.



Degrees are heavily preferred by the major airlines. Now there are some programs such as the AA Cadet Program that will allow you to flow straight to that major without a degree, but that is extremely limiting as you are restricting yourself to just one major. I would recommend going through flight training, getting to a regional, then working on your degree while at the regionals. The good news is that many colleges will give you credit for your flight training.


The guys answered your question about the degree well. If your goal is the legacies, look in to the pathway programs for each and still plan on completing your degree. That way you could have 3 options instead of putting all your eggs in just one basket.

When it comes to written exam prep, I’d stick to just the prepware apps (either ASA or Sportys). The goal is to see as many of the question sin the bank as possible. Then utilize rote memory to get the test done. I know it sounds crazy we want you to just memorize the answers but it’s true. Leave reading the PHAK and digging deep in ground knowledge topics for when you are starting flight training.