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mayor
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Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:42 pm

Just thought I'd throw this out there.........I wonder why some airlines require a 4 year college degree as part of their qualifications to be hired as a pilot? It doesn't matter what the degree is in.....it doesn't even have to be related to engineering or anything like that.....it can be in basket weaving as long as it's a 4 year degree.

Now, if a prospective pilot has many, many hours and experience in a wide variety of a/c types, shouldn't that, at some point, trump the 4 year degree?
 
DashTrash
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:58 pm

My opinion, yes.

The only airlines I know of requiring a degree are majors. It's just one more filter to ensure they get what they want. I know for a fact it keeps some good pilots stuck at regionals.
 
kaitakfan
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:00 pm

No, 10,000 hours of multi engine turbine PIC wont change the requirements at Delta Air Lines when it comes to pilot requirments. They want a four year degree, plain and simple. Every carrier has its own values and sometimes they make little to no sense. For example Emirates currently will not hire a pilot with a four year degree and 5,000 hours of CRJ-200 captain time because it does not meet a specific gross weight requirement they have set. However a pilot flying the very same type, just the -700 series is good to go. Bottom line its their train set and their rules. If you meet the requirments, great... if not, either go get the requirments satisfied or look elsewhere. Hope this makes sense.
 
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:21 pm

Quoting KaiTakfan (Reply 2):

Oh, I understand how they work and the fact that it is what it is. What I don't understand is why the requirement is there or, better yet, why it can't be waived? I'd rather have someone that KNEW how to fly the plane rather than someone that knew how to weave baskets.
 
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Tue Feb 28, 2012 5:37 pm

Quoting mayor (Reply 3):
I'd rather have someone that KNEW how to fly the plane rather than someone that knew how to weave baskets.

DL and ASA had a presentation at my school discussing pilot hiring and requirements. They told us that the reason they like seeing a degree in anything is that it proves to them that you took the initiative to go above what is required. They want you to be a well rounded person as well as a good pilot. How having a degree makes you a well rounded person I have no idea, there are plenty of dopes with degrees out there but that is what they told us.
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mayor
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Tue Feb 28, 2012 6:07 pm

Quoting jetblueguy22 (Reply 4):
They told us that the reason they like seeing a degree in anything is that it proves to them that you took the initiative to go above what is required.

That makes sense if you were going for DL in the first place, but if you started in general aviation and moved up to OO and then wanted to move up, again, your choices are limited by the degree requirement.

Just the fact that someone has more than enough hours, in many types of a/c.......have an instructor's license, commercial ticket, etc., should show that they were also going above what is required.

Just seems rather "elitist" to me.
 
seven3seven
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Tue Feb 28, 2012 6:49 pm

Elitist would be requiring a Harvard MBA.

Requiring a college degree is not. BTW, even airlines that dont require a college degree would prefer it.
 
SlamClick
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:24 pm

Quoting mayor (Reply 3):
I'd rather have someone that KNEW how to fly the plane rather than someone that knew how to weave baskets.

That is precisely the sort of attitude they are filtering out.

Only an uneducated person would think that about college graduates. And what makes you think they can't find both education and flying experience in the same applicant?

Oh, and if peoples' lives depend on the outcome, elitism is no vice. Lots of people will tell you what herbs and vitamins will keep you healthy. Most of us would prefer to go to an educated doctor if the issue seems serious. Oh, by the way, they are proposing to pay you five times as much as you will ever earn in general aviation - AND you are going to wear their Company logo on your person in front of their customers.

Don't have the college degree? No problem. There are jobs that don't require it.
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:41 pm

There used to be a General Knowledge test that some airlines gave just to see what you knew AWAY from aviation. Again well rounded.
 
SlamClick
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:45 pm

Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 8):
There used to be a General Knowledge test

The Stanine, which, Google
 
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DarkSnowyNight
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Wed Feb 29, 2012 1:00 am

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 7):

Only an uneducated person would think that about college graduates. And what makes you think they can't find both education and flying experience in the same applicant?

I'm very educated and I think precisely that. While there are plenty of serious professionals out there with a decent level of education, if this were actually a relevant need for the industry (and is most assuredly not), the degree required would at least be tangentially related to operating an aircraft. Heck, I'd even take Meteorology. But to just be open ended about it? If we're going the 'well rounded' route, why not require them to be masons as well? No, Mayor is quite correct in his assessment here.



As it relates to the topic, no, there is no legitimate reason why one needs any higher education, (apart from what is required for a Commercial Certification and Type Rating) for this profession. Aviation in general is like that, as most of the professions involved require extensive certification anyway. A Dispatcher or MX Tech can have all the degrees in the world, or none at all, and they still need to pass the same tests to work. So it is for Pilots too.

However, it does serve to filter out a lot of applicants, of which there is no shortage of, and likely won't be for the foreseeable future.
 
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Wed Feb 29, 2012 1:26 am

Quoting darksnowynight (Reply 10):
I'm very educated and I think precisely that.

That college teaches only basket weaving? Well that is not the case.

Further, it has been amply demonstrated for generations that comtempt for education is not a quality one wants in employees who will require staggeringly expensive training, and in whom the company is going to risk their pecuniary liability and their reputation.

Quoting darksnowynight (Reply 10):
there is no legitimate reason why one needs any higher education

In training airline pilots I have encountered many who could not understand simple (very simple) equations in their pilot handbooks. Perhaps we need to dumb it down?
 
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mayor
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:53 am

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 11):
In training airline pilots I have encountered many who could not understand simple (very simple) equations in their pilot handbooks.

And what education level did they have?

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 11):

That college teaches only basket weaving? Well that is not the case.

You misinterpret my meaning. Basket weaving was just an example, but I think, as others do that if a 4 year college degree is going to be a requirement for employment as a pilot, the degree should at least be relevant to the job at hand. I can see no case, in what I'm talking about where someone, that has several years of experience, more than enough hours and experience in MORE than just general aviation, but experience in RJs, A320s, DC-10s isn't more than qualified IF any sort of 4 year degree is okay. Now, if it was someone, just out of college, with only a newly minted commercial license and very little experience, okay....I get it if they need a 4 year degree to be hired, BUT, the job is flying the plane, after all and the more experience they have, the better.

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 7):

That is precisely the sort of attitude they are filtering out.

It's not me or my attitude that we're talking about.....lets make that clear.

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 7):
Only an uneducated person would think that about college graduates. And what makes you think they can't find both education and flying experience in the same applicant?

I never said they couldn't.......but, why do they necessarily go hand in hand? If your applicant has gobs of experience, why do they need the degree?

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 7):
Most of us would prefer to go to an educated doctor if the issue seems serious.

Not a good analogy. To be a doctor, you HAVE to have a degree.........you don't need a degree to fly.
 
SlamClick
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Wed Feb 29, 2012 5:24 am

Quoting mayor (Reply 12):
If your applicant has gobs of experience, why do they need the degree?

At times when there is a pilot shortage they may very well waive the requirement for either a lot of experience or for a degree but they are not likely to waive both. In any case, they will like to see something extra on the plus side if there are some negatives...

For the past thirty years there have been more applicants than positions so they've been pretty picky. So in a buyer's market like it has been, they might just see 8000 hours (and no degree) as too much of a good thing. Just as with credit, where if a person has borrowed money from consumer finance companies but never from a bank, lenders have to wonder why. What was this guy doing. What has this guy been doing building up all that time and not getting any more education.

The notion that "it doesn't matter what your degree is in, or where you got it" is not entirely correct. We all recognize the names of good schools. Most of us in training, in flight ops, or in management probably think that the degree is a ticket to get you into the interview but the education is yours. It is your investment in yourself. It is also an indicator to us that you might be useful to the company in more ways than just another number on the seniority list. We have a considerable percentage of our pilots become instructors, check airmen, chief pilots, fleet captains, and any of dozens of other job titles in the flight operations department. Appicants with that sort of potential are very valuable to us.

What does a college degree show us?
● Basic intelligence up to the entry requirements
● Long-term committment to a project or goal
● Self-discipline
● Ability to undestand written and spoken instructions

You could probably add to this list. Just now the majors are still able to get this along with four or five thousand hours and PIC time in some sort of jet. The regionals are SOON going to have a problem finding such people. Ten years from now we might see academy pilot training as is seen elsewhere in the world. (Maybe even sooner.) The European carriers that recruit well educated non-pilots and train them have safety records as good as our system.

Quoting mayor (Reply 12):
And what education level did they have?

Four year college degree - twenty years ago. You might argue "a lot of good college did them" but clearly less education isn't going to make that better.
 
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mayor
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Wed Feb 29, 2012 5:35 am

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 13):
You might argue "a lot of good college did them" but clearly less education isn't going to make that better.

No, but a higher experience level, might.



When the person I'm referring to was flying for OO as PIC of Brasilias, CRJ200s and CRJ700s, Delta would not even consider hiring him or anyone else at OO, as far as I know, even IF they had a degree.


I can see if an applicant has a 4 year MBA from an established, higher ranked university........snap them up. However, if the applicant has a degree in sewage management (just an example....don't get excited) from a small, unknown college and minimum flying experience and his competition doesn't have that degree but gobs of experience, who is the better applicant, considering if it was possible to waive the degree requirement?
 
SlamClick
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:07 am

Quoting mayor (Reply 14):
No, but a higher experience level, might.

Well, these are fifteen to twenty thousand hour pilots I'm talking about. Just how much would it take?
 
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Wed Feb 29, 2012 6:18 am

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 15):

Well, these are fifteen to twenty thousand hour pilots I'm talking about. Just how much would it take?

I don't know, but surely there are experienced pilots out there at that level that don't have a 4 year degree.....but, maybe not.....with the Air Force, Navy, etc. requirement that you be an officer to fly and to be an officer you have to have a degree, I suppose most anyone with that level of experience, probably came out of the military.
 
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:18 am

Quoting jetblueguy22 (Reply 4):
How having a degree makes you a well rounded person I have no idea, there are plenty of dopes with degrees out there but that is what they told us.

In theory it makes sense, but in practice, there are a lot of people with degrees out there. . . many dopes too, I agree.
 
bond007
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:26 am

Quoting jetblueguy22 (Reply 4):
there are plenty of dopes with degrees out there but that is what they told us.

Yep, and there are many more dopes out there without degrees. That's why some airlines require 4 year degrees ... as do many companies in every other industry out there.


Jimbo
 
Northwest727
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Fri Mar 02, 2012 9:03 pm

Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 8):
There used to be a General Knowledge test that some airlines gave just to see what you knew AWAY from aviation. Again well rounded.
Quoting SlamClick (Reply 9):
Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 8):
There used to be a General Knowledge test

The Stanine, which, Google

Not really sure if its a test of general knowledge or reaction time, but I know the military and some airlines are apparently using the Wonderlic Test.
 
9VSIO
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Sat Mar 03, 2012 2:47 pm

Perhaps it's to ensure they have a chance at a second career should their flying one be brought to a screeching halt?  
 
bjorn14
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:03 pm

Quoting jetblueguy22 (Reply 4):
How having a degree makes you a well rounded person I have no idea,

Because college degrees have general education requirements such as art, history, math, psychology, etc.

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 13):
● Ability to undestand written and spoken instructions

Exactly, this is why companies hire Liberal Arts graduates because they can follow instructions over a long period of time.
 
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mayor
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Wed Mar 07, 2012 4:55 am

Quoting bjorn14 (Reply 21):

And yet, for any job in inflight, customer service, cargo, etc., all DL requires is a high school education. Look, I know why they do it and it's not just because they want the pilots to be "well rounded", it's because it's the easiest way to weed out all those scads of people that are applying. However, I think they're missing the boat, in some cases, with people that have all the flying experience, but not that 4 year degree. Just seems like they could waive that requirement, in certain cases.
 
bond007
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Wed Mar 07, 2012 11:39 am

Quoting mayor (Reply 22):
Just seems like they could waive that requirement, in certain cases.

... and they do. If they couldn't find the pilots, you bet they'd change the requirement - but they obviously don't have too much of an issue with their current process, so they don't need to change it.

You agree, you know why they do it. They'd rather start with a smaller subset of applications, which statistically will be the kind of the pilots they are looking for, and risk missing that one guy who is a superstar with no degree.


Jimbo
 
SlamClick
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Wed Mar 07, 2012 4:11 pm

In the past there have been exceptions made occasionally. For example, in the late 50s, the USAF had a Cadet program that only required 2 years of college for pilot training to fill the needs of SAC. The Navy had the NavCad program with the same requirement. Many people went through these, got their wings, flew jets, maybe flew transports, ended up getting on at an airline still a bit short of that degree. The Army had only a high school diploma as a requirement. Infrequently HS grads would get fixed-wing training, or get into a fixed-wing qual course after flying helicopters for a time. Occasionally these guys ended up at an airline.

Today that scenario is quite unlikely. With online applications being unable to fill in the part about your Bachelor degree the computer will kick out the application before a human will ever have the chance to say: "Hey, this person looks real good."

If I were running the recruitment I think I might allow for an "equivalent" category and let the applicant dazzle us. If they bear themselves well, express themselves like an educated, cultured person, have some personal achievements behind them, are capable of performing the work we will ask of them, I think I might give them a shot. Two problems though:

1. I'm not in charge of recruitment.

2. Non-college background pilots with four or five thousand hours often do not present themselves as well as college graduates with four or five thousand hours.

And there you are.
 
SlamClick
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Wed Mar 07, 2012 4:14 pm

Oh and I should also say this. I am frequently horrified at how ignorant college graduates are in what I would consider elementary school academics. Utter ignorance of grammar, punctuation and spelling, thinking "alot" is a word and so on. I have seen so many such get their "thank you for your interest" letter.
 
bond007
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Wed Mar 07, 2012 6:18 pm

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 25):
Oh and I should also say this. I am frequently horrified at how ignorant college graduates are in what I would consider elementary school academics. Utter ignorance of grammar, punctuation and spelling, thinking "alot" is a word and so on.

... and it's only going to get worse, and unfortunately I fear, more acceptable. I know many teenagers (and some older) that really think that 'texting' language is acceptable in any and all kind of handwritten or typed communication.


Jimbo
 
atct
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Thu Mar 08, 2012 6:37 pm

I work in the industry so I'll leave it at that. What I see are graduates coming from ERAU, UND, and other "universities" that have a commercial-multi and wonder why they cant get hired at a regional. They dont understand that frankly 90% of the hiring boards could care less what your degree is in or where it is from. At places such as Delta, they want a four year degree. Once you get passed the non-flying HR and make it to the interview board, at this point no one cares where you obtained your degree but where you obtained your flying experience. I see similiar beliefs of non-flying positions in both civil-service and airline positions. "I have a degree, this makes me better than so and so, so give me a job." It doesnt matter that you cant shoot an approach in icing conditions without killing all 49 on board your plane, but you have that degree! No amount of time in a classroom can teach you this. The only thing that can replace experience is more experience.

ATCT
 
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mayor
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Tue Mar 13, 2012 5:02 am

Quoting atct (Reply 27):
What I see are graduates coming from ERAU, UND, and other "universities" that have a commercial-multi and wonder why they cant get hired at a regional.

That's much like the people in my orientation class at DL on my first day in '71. Many of them had been to "airline" schools but really didn't know much more than the rest of us that hadn't been to these schools.
 
bond007
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:28 pm

Quoting mayor (Reply 28):
Many of them had been to "airline" schools but really didn't know much more than the rest of us that hadn't been to these schools.

I don't necessarily disagree, but the key part of your sentence is "didn't know much more". If they knew just a little bit more, and otherwise were equal, then they'd probably be a better candidate.

The opposite argument is also true, in that generally I like to employ folks who have a passion for the subject or industry. It is far too common nowadays to get any degree, simply for the reasons we mention in this thread. Personally, all else being equal, I'd generally rather employ someone who has an aviation degree, because they wanted to get into the aviation industry, rather than someone with a psychology degree, who got it for no reason other than getting a degree.

Of course, this thread is all about generalizations, but unfortunately when you get 1,000 applications for 5 positions, you need to use some kind of 'educated' logic to trim the initial list down to candidates that 'generally' are the better ones.


Jimbo
 
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Tue Mar 13, 2012 2:52 pm

Quoting atct (Reply 27):

I work in the industry so I'll leave it at that. What I see are graduates coming from ERAU, UND, and other "universities" that have a commercial-multi and wonder why they cant get hired at a regional.

I don't think this is unique to the airline industry. I have plenty of friends in the business world who deal with grads from certain schools that think they deserve to go from their final exams to the board room. My generation has a sense of entitlement. I'm disgusted by it.
 
2H4
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Tue Mar 13, 2012 3:53 pm

Quoting atct (Reply 27):
"I have a degree, this makes me better than so and so, so give me a job." It doesnt matter that you cant shoot an approach in icing conditions without killing all 49 on board your plane, but you have that degree!

I wonder how often the opposite occurs...where someone with a good deal of experience (someone who consistently can shoot an approach in icing conditions without killing everyone on board) applies for a job, but is turned down for lack of a degree.
 
DiamondFlyer
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:26 pm

Quoting atct (Reply 27):
What I see are graduates coming from ERAU, UND, and other "universities" that have a commercial-multi and wonder why they cant get hired at a regional.

Unfortunately, it starts long before that. Many students, in my experience, showed up on day one and expected to throw a chunk of cash on the table and be given a pilot certificate with no work. They've always been in a situation that money got them what they wanted.

-DiamondFlyer
 
bond007
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Tue Mar 13, 2012 6:52 pm

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 32):
Many students, in my experience, showed up on day one and expected to throw a chunk of cash on the table and be given a pilot certificate with no work. They've always been in a situation that money got them what they wanted.

Some of them, no doubt, the same as any student that's been in that situation. Some of that blame can be aimed at the colleges themselves of course, and their advertising.

Let's not forget though, for many students, going to ERAU, UND etc. is a more 'efficient' ways of getting to be a pilot. It's also good for the regionals that have programs where they can monitor students over the period of a year or so (ASA?), and then potentially hire them. IMO that route has to be better overall then ASA starting with a pile of 1000 resumes.


Jimbo
 
BE77
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:16 pm

Quoting 2H4 (Reply 31):

I am going to bet that anyone who can consistently shoot the approach in ice, with one feathered, etc., probably could have aced the four year degree, and if they wanted to fly for one of the airlines that requires it, probably did because they were savvy enough to realise it was going to be required. Even if the degree is not a 'trade specific' one (like mine), any degree does show that extra level of commitment,etc., that employers really want to see. Even in my non-av field, the four year degree is only the ticket to an interview, and i actually don't expect you to know anything more than the very basics of what you will be doing for your paycheck (which will be pretty big to start actually, about the same as an average US mainline pilot if the surveys i see are correct). Don't worry about not knowing the job though...if you understood the basics you got in school, and if you have good attitude and are willing to do the work, we'll teach you what the job is, and quickly. Probably the same for the airlines...

The four year thing also indicates that maybe (hopefully!?) the holder has seen a bit more of how the rest of society works when compared to the generally very limited world of High School where the peer group might be a bit limited, to say the least, and going directly to instructing or flying cheques isn't always going to expand lateral thinking and people skills (instructing might, but usually only if teaching is really what you want to do...a noble profession IMHO by the way). Anyway, the exposure to more than one way of thinking is incredibly valuable to all employers, even if you return to your comfort zone after, at least you have seen different ideas.
The combo of 'everything' about the degree, not just the specific program, is what the employer is looking for. Attitude, ability to complete long range goals, the time and task management skills that should come with completing the four year program, all this helps pre qualify someone for what is hopefully a thirty year commitment. If all of that works (and believe me, it does not always work), then the next step is to assess the trade specific skills and attributes. Usually though if there is a foundation and good attitude then the trade skills can be taught.
For the applicant, the value in the degree, regardless of what it is, can easily become priceless in the not so rare case where a medical is lost...there just isn't that much demand or value for a pilot with no medical, but with a degree, a change in careers is a lot easier...and possibly pay better too...

Could it result in some ace of the base getting missed, sure. But overall the airlines asking for it are probably thinking that the overall average quality of their applicants, and hence of their pilots, is going to be a bit better for it. As mentioned by others, there are way more applicants than positions, so they may as well pick from the pool they want. Lucky swine...right now I have to interview anyone in my industry who has a pulse, then participate in a bidding war to hire them...

Anyway, if the best employers are asking for the degree, just go do one, it isn't actually that hard, but it does require the commitment to do the work (which is the main thing they are looking for anyway). I wouldn't worry too much about it being specifically one of the av school four year programs (we don't have any of the four year pilot degrees in Canada, only a few two or three year community college versions). But even in the US I don't think the actual program matters too much...sciences if you are so inclined, but i am sure an airline would see value in a biz or econ major, or manY others.


Edit: completed post after a.net server hiccup

[Edited 2012-03-13 13:29:20]
 
SXDFC
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RE: Airline Pilot Hiring Qualifications

Mon Mar 19, 2012 5:19 pm

I remember reading somewhere that the old Olympic Airways only picked their pilots from the Hellenic Air Force, are there other "Flag Carriers" out there that do the same?

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