Real Answers from Real Pilots

When to start pilot career


I’m about to start college as a Pro-Pilot Major and will be all licensed to qualify for the regional airlines by age 22. However, I don’t want to start my pilot career until my late 20’s around 28 years old and instead be a part time flight instructor after getting certified. Would that make me of any less qualified for the airlines and my future aviation career or do I have to go immediately to the airlines when licensed?

Thanks, Androu


This is America and you can do as you like. No it won’t make you less qualified or desirable but it will prompt some questions during your interview as to why?

Airline pilots have a finite amount of years they can fly and the big money, great schedules, and benefits all come with seniority. You’ll literally be sacrificing hundreds of thousands of dollars every year you delay but again that’s your call.

I also would caution you against the college aviation degree route. It really sounds like you’re not completely sure what you want to do career wise and with an aviation degree you’re getting a degree with no backup or really use. The airlines don’t desire or require one not does any other job.


Thanks Adam for the response!

I really do have a passion for aviation but I’m not a big fan of that being so far from home. I have plans of getting married after college to someone I really do love for years. A pilot is the only career that I feel would make me happy and satisfy me as it’s always been one of my dreams. But I really don’t want to be so far away from my loved one for many days out the month. But also marriage isn’t certain so if I do end up alone all I want to be is a Pilot to avoid the sense of enclosement and loneliness. Traveling has always been a dream, I love the airplane views, and flying a plane sounds amazing. But I don’t know if I’m ready for the position at age 22 because I want to get all settled first. What do you suggest because all my doubts come from that one reason.


While flying a plane may sound amazing, until you’ve actually sat up front in a small training aircraft you really won’t know. Until you do, I’d be very reluctant to make any decisions on the subject.

My suggestion is you schedule an intro flight or lesson and see what you think before you make another move.



As I have mentioned to you on other threads, I think you really need to give some consideration as to whether or not this job is right for you as you seen to have a very strong interest in being home every night or being gone very little. Take a look at my schedule and Tory’s, that is what you can expect as an airline pilot.



Correct me if I am wrong, but I am getting a strong sense that you want to be in control of your schedule? Or at least not pushed around too much? Or don’t want to stray too far home?

While I respect and admire your determination to make that happen, you also need to accept the fact that traveling is part of the job.

Some food for thought, instead of taking things slow, why not jump in with both feet and build seniority as quickly as possible? The quicker you build seniority the better your quality of life will be in the long run.

But if you are dead set on your plan then by all means. Your plan is very non-conventional, but it’s your decision. I am simply just trying to give you something to think about.

The slow and steady approach could work out for you, but you would just be limiting your opportunities and limiting your potential earnings. If you choose to take the advice that we’re giving you but still proceed with your original plan, then by all means. As long as you accept what you are leaving out on the table by doing so.