Questions about the lambskin and the job


New Member
I had a guy ask me the other day about whether a flying job required a college degree. I told him it depended on what job he was talking about. Airline jobs came up and I told him that as a rule, yes, a degree was required. But that left ME with some questions.

How important is the type of degree? How important is the school from which the degree is received?

Say a pilot qualified for a job with the majors but he or she had no degree. But they knew some senior pilots with the company, and these senior pilots knew that the pilot was qualified aviation-wise and would fit in well with the company. Is it possible for a recommendation to be made that would get the non-degreed pilot's foot in the door?

Assuming that they WERE able to get to an interview, would that pilot stand a chance on getting hired? Assuming that attitude, aptitude, etc. were first rate and worthy of the position?

Assuming no, absolutely not, hell will freeze over first, what about a diploma mill? I've seen some of them advertise in trade magazines and so I've always wondered if there were times when a, ahem, "questionable" degree would suffice?
Some people have been hired at major airlines without college degrees. That said, I've always told people that that a degree is used as a discriminator. If a company has two thousand resumes to fill ten positions, they're obviously not going to interview all two thousand applicants. They'll use some filters to narrow it down to some number (maybe twenty) they want to interview. A college degree is certainly one of those filters.

With the absence of hiring at the majors right now, I'd tell your acquaintance to use the time to obtain that degree. A bachelor's degree in almost any field from the local college would be adequate. I chose to get an aviation degree ... some may not. If you choose something else, make it something that would serve as a good backup if aviation doesn't pan out (lost medical, etc.). I would make sure it is from an accredited institution. Distance learning and online courses are fine ... ERAU distance learning is good, is not.

I know many corporate flight departments that won't consider a pilot without a degree. When I was a chief flight instructor, I only hired one CFI that didn't have a four-year degree.

My mom's got no degree and is in the hiring pool with UPS and has flown for sevral commuter companies over the years, but also knows a training capt. at UPS which helped her a little. So there are airlines that'll hire you with out a degree.
Last year a pilot from Southwest told me that while Southwest dosen't require a degree, you can pretty much count the number of Southwest pilots without a degree on your fingers!
Lambskin, job.........