Zero to Commercial Pilot

1.I’m only 18 years old looking to become (the first in my family) commercial pilot eventually down the road because I have recently had high interest in flying. I have read thousands of post and hundreds of videos talking about the profession the good and the bad etc. One question I never got an answer for was: Can I get my bachelors degree AFTER going to flight school and obtaining my commercial pilots license?

  1. I understand that it is almost a requirement from big airlines I.e delta, southwest etc. to be considered for a job - you must have a bachelors degree. Is this correct?

3 Also, to my understanding this degree can be in anything you desire?

Addition to original post:
4. Will regional airlines hire brand new commercial pilots right out of flight school?
5. I know majors must have 1500hrs minimum… will you actually get hired with 1500hrs or is it more like 2000-2500?

Thank you guys & I look forward to your response.


Here goes:

  1. yes you can but we don’t recommend it. We find most people fresh out of HS aren’t ready for the intensity of full time accelerated training which we strongly recommend. This belief is based on ATPs over 30yrs worth of experience and is the foundation for the rule that ATP will not accept students right out of HS unless they have their Private license. Not picking on you but the fact you say you’ve read “thousands” of posts and haven’t found these fairly common answers demonstrates your research skills could use some work.

  2. while no it’s not actually a requirement it is definitely desired and preferred by the airlines. Plus it’s always a good idea to have a Plan B should flying not work out.

  3. yes whatever you desire as long as it’s from an accredited legitimate school.

  4. no, to fly for ANY Part 121 airline (which includes the Regionals) you must have at least 1500hrs.

  5. while 1500hrs is the legal minimum no one is getting hired to a Major at 1500hrs. Min is probably 3,000 with the average being around 5,000.



  1. Yes, you can do that, but we don’t recommend it. Typically for younger people it is simply easier to stay in school mode and finish a degree, then go to flight school. It can be done the way you suggest, but it will present challenges further down the road as many people find it hard to go back and work on a degree after life has gotten busy.

  2. Yes, that is correct.

  3. Also correct. We often recommend that people get a degree in something other than aviation as it gives a back up plan if for some reason the whole flying thing does not work out.

  4. No, airline pilots must have 1,500 hours of flight time before they are hired.

  5. Being a major airline pilot is the top of the profession, the major leagues. Many people spend 5-10 years before they are hired by the majors.