A big reason for me wishing to be an airline pilot was Delta dropping their degree requirement, as they are an airline I really wish to work for. I’ve had some college experience but left school to follow what I found to be my true passion, aviation. I know that having a degree is “preferred” but there must be other ways to stand out from other candidates, like joining clubs or something aviation-related like a female aviators group or an LGBT aviators group, something along those lines where you get involved in other ways? I am wondering what other options there are to make yourself stand out from the crowd. I know Delta is very competitive and a hard sell to get into, and any advice would help!
Currently, I am a prospective ATP student. just working on my PPL now, about 34 hours in, so I have plenty of time still to get involved in things (just for some background).
I really don’t want to burst your bubble but do you really believe joining a club or organization is the equivalent of a 4yr degree? It’s not. There most certainly is a pilot shortage but all Delta has done is windened their net. As you point out a 4yr degree is still “preferred”.
To answer your question I do in fact know 2 pilots who recently got called for Delta interviews. The first is a pilot who’s been flying for a Regional for over 20yrs, has over 20,000hrs TT and is a check airman. The other has 10yrs at a Regional and was in the military for 20yrs. Those are the types of things that might balance out not having a degree.
Thanks for your reply! I definitely don’t believe that just a club or something would be enough (I couldn’t really think of a better way to articulate my idea), but things like what you mentioned such as a check airman I completely understand. I suppose it comes into play that regional life can be somewhat short-lived or a fairly long time to get to the majors. I do understand not having a degree puts me at a disadvantage and I suppose another question would be what is there that I can do outside of a regional or the military that may be different or notable? Though, I suppose that is also a question for recruiters if I get the ability to meet any.
That really is a question for the recruiters. My question for you is why are you so opposed to the idea of getting a degree? Rather than trying to look for other options that may or may not work, why not simply go for an online aviation degree? There are a number of online programs that are reasonably priced and that will give you credit for licenses and ratings allowing you to check the box in relatively short order. Something to consider.
I am not entirely opposed to getting a degree, I honestly enjoyed what I was majoring in before but I came to know it was something I couldn’t truly see myself doing all my life. My main burden with college on top of flight training is the sheer cost of it all, and then the loss of seniority and times at the airlines that would come along with that. I want to get in as young and as early as I can, just coming up on 21 I know that’s not a major difference, but I’ve already taken out loans for my schooling before and such. I wouldn’t mind going to college again, but I doubt any of my previous credits would transfer as it was a music school. But I will definitely look into some schools/colleges as a backup because I knew how much it is preferred. Thanks for your input, Adam!
I was just going to say that obtaining a degree would make you stand out, but Adam beat me to it.
I mean, if you think about it, wouldn’t it be better to have something that isn’t currently required or just preferred?
Community service is one thing. I do think that it would be worth your time to join something as long as you are genuinely involved and not just looking for something to put on your resume.
But back to your question, the airlines have only adjusted their hiring requirements to help fulfill their depleted staffing levels. There’s always a chance that the airlines can swing back the other way at some point and make a degree a requirement again.
Plus, an education is never a bad thing to pursue. We like them because they could be used as a backup.
Thank you for your response, that is and was a fear of mine though, if they do decide to put that barrier back up it would definitely hinder my ability to get there. I do definitely want to get involved in the aviation community in general, not just as a write-off per-say, but I want to cut back the extra costs as much as possible since things are expensive, and I know this career is not cheap.
Thank you for your input, I really appreciate it and it gives me plenty to think about.
Another thing to consider is being open minded about flying for other airlines. It is good to have a goal and you should have a goal, but this industry is very dynamic and I know plenty whose careers didn’t pan out the way they planned
Yes, Tory thanks for pointing that out too. Delta is definitely my goal, but as things are constantly shifting and the industry is changing my options are open to almost anywhere/anything. I try to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
Being active in a club, aviation organization, even becoming a check airmen takes considerable time and effort. Time and effort that could be spent on getting a degree. Please keep in mind that many colleges will give credit for pilot licenses. Check out this link;
Also, keep in mind that many of the national airlines, like Spirit and Frontier, do not require degrees.
While having a degree is the preferred for a handful of airlines, do you believe your major type has any true impact or is it truly just a “checkbox” item? I have a Bachelor and Master’s in Sociology therefore meeting that “checkbox” requirement, but would it be looked down upon in comparison to that of an aviation degree?
For the degrees with credit transfers then, would you say it would be better to do so now or at a regional? I am only looking at online programs since I am currently working and do wish to still have the income, and I have done it before at my previous college. I am thinking of doing so while at a regional (I am interested in Endeavor Air), as I feel it may be more doable, especially with better income at that point hopefully.
I had also been on other forums where there were Delta pilots talking about the degree drop and such, and while the general consensus has been it is good for more applicants, a flow-through with Endeavor (I believe the STEP Program that ATP is involved in? (please do correct me if I am wrong)) did not require a degree already so it could’ve also been to level the playing field, yet I don’t know if that truly makes sense.
I truly appreciate the feedback and resources, but I am only worried if I go to a college again, my debt could cripple me before I even begin my life as a pilot. I am also looking at hopefully connecting with recruiter(s) at Delta or Endeavor (or both) to also answer some of my questions so hopefully, I can relay some useful info back here!
I was thinking, only because I haven’t looked deep into how those programs work yet, I could get some courses or something out of the way, or even hopefully transfer some of my credits from previous experience over to the new program. But I do think getting through ATP, and hopefully into Endeavor or any regional, being there for at least 4 years seems to be pretty expected (especially with Endeavor’s STEP program with Delta), so that seems realistic to do college then. At least that way I could possibly have many more credits accumulated.
Again, thank you for your input I truly appreciate it all!