Majors and college

Do you have to get a 4 year degree to be in the majors? Or do they still let you work your way up without one? Or if I get hired as a regional without a degree, how does that work?


This is one of the most frequently asked questions (hence why we have a section labled FAQs). The answer is while the Majors don’t require a degree they ALL prefer one and will ALWAYS give preference to pilots with a 4yr degree.

If you’re at a Regional and apply to a Major, your peers with degrees will get called before you and be senior to you forever. There are of course flows to the Majors but in that case you’re limited to that specific Major and is they’re hiring slows you could be stuck while again your peers with degrees move on.


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To illustrate this point, there are lots of salty captains left at the regionals seeing first officers getting their apps pulled before theirs. 9 times out of 10, they don’t have a bachelors degree. Most applications are simply a scoring system. Having a degree is worth a lot of points. If you don’t have one, you have to add other experience or other roles to your app simply to make up the deficit let alone stand out from the pile.



It is highly recommended to have a 4-year degree if your goal is to fly for a Major. As Adam said, this is one of the most commonly asked questions, if you browse the forum from the past few days, you will see this question often. What we don’t know is in the coming years, things could change and the Majors’ “college degree preferred” could turn into “college degree required” with some exception, we don’t know. Things can change at any point in time, we can’t promise what the future will hold.

If you attend a program like ATP Flight School’s ACPP, you can earn college credits for completing the program, see below: