College Degree

Hello. I want some input on what to do. I want to become an airline pilot (in the United states). and wanted a degree just so it would make me stand out more. I know from talking to pilots that it does not matter on what your degree is. I have a couple questions (more for airline pilots and/or people that know alot in the area).

  1. For the major airlines does it or will it eventually not matter for a degree?

  2. Right now I am working toward my math degree and lets say that I switched to aviation management and them some years down the road I cannot become a pilot for what ever reason. What else can I do with an aviation management degree?

thank you in advance

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I read somewhere that it is not really a requirement to have a degree or a masters, but it makes you look a lot better on paper if you went the extra mile in education. I do believe some airlines do require a degree but do not specify in what. You just need one.

I know the major airlines (well atleast for Delta) you need a degree. I meant to say “… not matter if I do not have a degree?”

It doesn’t matter what you major in. Major US airlines (Delta, United, etc) require a four year degree but most regionals do not. I know I have a buddy who works for PSA and he has a two year degree and is finishing his four degree online. If you want to go to the airlines and build hours quick, that is a good route to go and the route I have decided to go


for the regionals do you need turbine time?

I am not sure. One of the airline guys might be able to help. I know you do need to build multi time but what kind? I do not know

You do not need turbine time for the regionals.


Sorry, what do you mean by what kind of multi time?

Turbine multi and there is piston multi as well. I would think that airlines would want turbine multi…
I could be wrong

Most of the majors don’t require a degree anymore. One big draw to having a degree, though, is to be able to finance flight training with student loans. Other people suggest getting a 4 year degree to be able to gain a Restricted ATP, but those requirements are slim and tough to come by. Also, getting a degree can provide a good fall back option should the airline career not work out.

You will be totally fine getting your hours without a degree, if you choose to. With the pilot shortage, the airlines are already lowering hour minimums to get people in the seats.

It all just depends what road you want to take to get where you want to go


From SkyWest:

Job Duties

To be considered for a pilot position, you must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Hold a Commercial License
  • Possess a current first-class medical (verified at interview)
  • Be a U.S. citizen or able to show proof of right to work in the U.S.
  • Hold an FCC Radio License
  • English Proficiency Endorsement (EPE)
  • Have a current Passport
  • Hold an aviation degree from an accredited school (or equivalent experience)
  • Must be available to work on any day, seven days a week, including nights, weekends and holidays.
  • Based on pilot bidding seniority and other factors, must be available for a call-out with as little as a two hour notice. Must be available for this call out on any day, night, weekends and holidays
  • Be within three months of the minimum hour requirements detailed below

ATP Written Requirement:

  • SkyWest will provide the means to complete a SkyWest-approved CTP course for those who complete an application and successfully pass the pilot interview.

Pilot applicants must also meet one of the following minimums:

  • ATP Certificate Holder with at least 1,500 hours Click to show more details

At least 23 years old
500 hours of cross country
100 hours of night
75 hours of instrument
25 hours of actual multi-engine
ATP Written


Thankfully, as with all companies, requirements can be everlooked for experience.

One of our CFI’s just got hired by SkyWest with no degree. He greatly exceeded the hour requirements. (Alaska flying doesn’t hurt either!)

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Guys you guys also tell me what else you can do with an aviation management degree?

The problem these days is there are tons of degrees which are worthless. I could argue that an aviation mangement degree is worthless too. If that is the type of course you would want to do i would suggest a business mangement degree because it doesn’t restrict your options later if you decide to move out from the aviation insdustry or if you loose you job for one reason or the other.

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Aviation degrees (probably besides management) are all worthless. If you plan to attend school go after something useful to have Incase you ever lose your med or get your certs revoked


If you don’t have money to go to college, you could go into the USAF Reserves and have them pay for your college and also apply to be a Fighter pilot and an Officer. That’s what I’m doing. Not sure where you’re from but not a bad option.


If you join the Military go Army Guard, and make sure get on with the Warrant Officer Program, don’t need a 4 year college degree to fly for the Army. The Army is hurting so bad for both rotor and fixed wing pilots right now its crazy.

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Entering the USAF is one of the best options. No student loans and you can get some hours. Best yet is flying a fighter.

Flying helicopters is better ;)


Hey, I can share my experience with an aviation management degree but mine might be very different from what others might tell you. Take it with a pinch of salt ^^

My aviation management degree is a worldwide franchise of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. They call it a science in aeronautics degree but in reality I’ve learnt more business applications for information technology and strategic management.

My courses here are much more simplified probably due to infrastructures limitations in this franchise so my situation will probably not mirror yours.

But before you deside to enrole, think well why you need it, not what you can get from in. I took a degreein an aviation field thinking I stand a better chance in a technical field. But it doesnt matter.

If you want to be a pilot, basically a technical field, dont waste your money on an aviation field degree if you don’t need it. If it’s not in the requirements, you don’t need it. Focus on strengthening talent, knowledge and give your employers a reason to know you are capable. Good luck!