Which is a better investment?

Hey everyone! I will be entering my senior year of high school shortly and have decided that becoming a pilot is my dream career. I toured ERAU and Minnesota State University’s aviation program last spring and fell in love with ERAU’s Prescott campus. After meeting with the financial advisor however, I realized having a mortgage as my debt isn’t the greatest idea. I have seriously considered ATP flight school as an option but the one thing I can’t get past is the lack of a college degree (which I know i’ll need for the majors). I do like all the partnerships with many airlines though. On the other hand, my local technical college has an Aeronautics Associates degree program for just under $60k. Unfortunately, the technical college lacks many partnerships with regional airlines and doesn’t have a “guaranteed flight instructor job” after graduation.

This leads me to my first question: Is an Associates degree good enough for the major airlines? Secondly, if you were in my position which option would you most likely take to become an airline pilot?

I know this a decision that I will have to make for myself, but if I could hear some pros/cons from other people it may make my decision easier! Thanks!

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Welcome to the forums.

As to your first question, no. The major airlines want to see a four year degree.

For your second question, please keep in mind that this forum is sponsored by ATP and that all of the mentors on here went to ATP, so we are of course biased. That being said, we give our time here because we believe in the program that ATP offers and have seen it work for countless people.

Take a look at the FAQ section, we address the several different paths to the airlines there, including the ones you are asking about.



As Chris said please visit our FAQ question but I have a few quick thoughts.

Why do you want an aviation degree? They’re generally very expensive and the airlines don’t require one. In fact the vast majority of the pilots I know have degrees in other fields. Why? Because it’s always good to have a Plan B and having an aviation degree you’re essentially putting all your eggs in one basket. What if flying doesn’t work out for you either by choice or circumstance what would you do with that degree?

Just some food for thought.