Question for a pilot

Hello I’m currently deployed and I’m trying to start my path to becoming a pilot. when I get back state side I’m gonna enroll into the ATP Airline Career Pilot Program but until then I was wondering if I started to go for a Bachelor of Science Degree with a Major in Aviation/Aerospace if this would benefit me in my path ahead?

Hi Zackary,

Assuming “deployed” means military service, thank you for that!

First, a disclosure: I’m only a pre-student pilot. My response to your inquiry is based primarily upon what I have read here in the forum, and you’ll see links accordingly. I am planning to be a pilot soon, however.

Your question about the degree is a pretty common one, and quite understandable at that. Short answer, from what I’ve read on the topic, is that a bachelor (BA or BS) will help, because getting hired at a major pretty much requires a 4 year degree (FAQ post on the topic), but it doesn’t need to be in aviation or aerospace. There’s an argument for NOT doing such, following the saying “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” The airlines don’t actually care what your degree is in, so study something you’re personally interested in, and possibly a good fit for a backup career option. I’m gonna recommend you check out this post Adam made on that very idea when someone else asked for a bit of guidance:

Chris gave some similar advice to a then-future HS graduate last year:

They both make good points that you should consider when making your choice.

Something you might also want to consider, given that you’re not coming right out of HS yourself, is how much time you have to put toward your degree before you’d be in a position to go through ATP’s program. Obviously I don’t know how long before returning state side you have ahead of you to work on schooling as you said. If you’d be able to get a substantial portion done, it could be good to go ahead and finish whatever BS/A degree you choose before signing up for ATP. But maybe you’ll only have a small amount of time before returning, so that might change things up.

I only mention that because I have seen the mentors recommend at times that people who want a career in the airlines might, in certain circumstances, be better served in the long term by first going through the process to get hired by a regional (something like ATP → CFI at ATP → Regional), then completing their degree while working at a regional. It’s a lot of work, but fully possible, and would get you started down the path of airline seniority earlier. Here’s Adam again, where he mentions such a thing as a common route people take. The specific part to which I refer starts “A very common route…”:

Really, though, it will mostly come down to your personal circumstances, needs, aspirations, and goals. There’s a lot of advice here on the forum, search around and check the FAQ for a great starting point.

Sorry if I got a bit long-winded. Best of luck in your deployment, and a happy return when the day comes!

thank you Samuel I will defiantly look further into the conversations posted here and take my time to conceder what I I need to do.

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How long before you’re back stateside and will you still be serving? I’m asking because you would not be able to complete/continue your education while training with ATP.


I’m a reserve solider so i willy be reporting on select weekends when i get back witch should be around February next year


Well that’s what I’m saying. If you haven’t started working on your degree you will not be able to continue working on it while training with ATP. Now if you wanted to get a jump and start a few classes for credit NOW that’s fine but know again once you start the ATP needs to be your main and sole focus. You’d also need to speak with admin regarding Drill Weekends and making certain there are no conflicts. If it’s one a month I believe you should be fine.

As for your degree that Majors desire one but really don’t care the field of study. You’d do as well with an aviation degree as you would art history.



I would recommend that you get a degree as the majors will absolutely want to see one, the major does not matter, just have a four year degree.


thank you Chris what Samuel said above about not putting all my eggs in one basket makes sense I’m still gonna get a degree ill just find something else to focus it on. but when i get back atp will be priority