Starting from the ground up at age 28

I’ve been really considering becoming an airline pilot and as I do my research I’ve become aware that since I don’t have a college degree this is something that is going to take some time to accomplish. Though i understand i need a bachelors degree to accomplish my goal I was wondering wondering if anyone can point me in the quickest direction on where to start. Are there degrees In aviation that I can get that will accelerate the process? I’m hoping since I’m a blank slate someone can tell me all the right steps to make so I can make this process as beneficial and efficient as possible.

Mathew,

First you should visit our FAQ section as we go into the process in detail. To answer your question while we usually recommend earning your degree first, as you’re a little older I do suggest a more expedient path. Complete your training so you can start building the required 1500hrs. After you earn your licenses and ratings you then can use them for credit towards an aviation degree program. There are several that will allow you to do this online while you’re instructing and flying for a Regional. After which you’ll have what you need to eventually apply and hopefully get hired at a Major.

Adam

Thanks Adam for the response, I’ve also just started looking into the American Airlines cadet program and from what i understand you don’t need a college degree to become a first officer. The main concern with that is that it could be limiting since I can only be hired to fly for AA, but from what I’ve read pilots are in high demand. Have you or anyone else you’ve known done this program? What has their experience been like?

Mathew,

Limiting is an understatement. You’re essentially putting all your eggs in one basket. Not sure if you’ve been paying attention, but there WAS a pilot shortage prior to the pandemic AND the shortage will inevitably return after it’s finally resolved. But before that happens the airlines are currently furloughing pilots. What that means is all those pilots have to return to service, they need to resume hiring and then possibly get to you. If for some reason AAs recovery takes longer than other carriers (particularly) due to their size. You could literally be waiting years or even decades before ever getting a call. Meanwhile your peers with degrees will have the option to go with whomever is hiring asap. This would not only cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost income protection but quality of life due to poor seniority.

In short I’m not a fan.

Adam

1 Like

Matthew,

Welcome to the forums. There is a wealth of information in the FAQ section of this website and also on ATP’s main website.

In shot, I would recommend you go to flight training with an accelerated program, then work on a degree while you are building your hours. There are several colleges out there that will give you credit for your flight training.

The word on the street is that the AA Cadet Program has been suspended. I do not have this confirmed, but I do not believe they are actually processions applications anymore. Confirm this on your own though.

Chris

Matthew,

I’m happy to hear that you’ve been doing your research. I just wanted to point out that, as Chris said, the AA Cadet Program is on hold until further notice. The pandemic has brought all airline hiring to a complete halt. ATP is beginning to strengthen their partnerships with 135 carriers like Jet Linx. Keep a look out for more info on ATP’s website soon.

Tory