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Apr 15, 2002
I am starting my flight lessons at the ripe old age of 33. I do not have a college education. I went from high school to the Marines. I was in Desert Storm. I never attended college regretfully. Assuming I have the proper ratings what are my chances of getting hired on to a regional airline, then a major or transport company such as FedEx etc? Thanks.
It depends

Without a degree and with todays level of competition....I'd say slim to none....

We all hope that in time the hiring picture improves at the majors. Pilot recruitment is supply and demand. In the best of times the competition for the good jobs is intense....so don't expect it to ever be easy....and your age and lack of degree are working against you.

Say two years ago....I would have said if you'd be happy with retiring at a regional as a worse case scenario....then go for it. You could make six figures someday, fly some way cool jets, and work about half the month. If you're only interested in freight...I'd say the Ryans and the Kittyhawks would look at you once you had some turbine time. Now....things don't look good too good in the industry. But I believe it will all turn around, in time, and you could have a second career in aviation if you are willing to set your sights a little lower.

On the other hand....if you say, I don't want to do this unless I can retire at Fedex...then I'd question your odds of making it.
I'd say that the odds of getting on with a regional are pretty good. Airline hiring has always been cyclical in nature. For every downturn, history has shown an accompanied up swing. Seems to be a 10 year cycle.

I can not stress the importance of having a degree (preferably 4 year) if your goal is the majors. Without it your chances are just about nil. That's just the way it is in this job market. Most majors won't even interview you without it. It's simply a way for a major airline to weed out applicants to get what they consider "the cream of the crop". Why do they require a 4 year degree? Basically, because they can! The majors have literally thousands of resumes on file at any given time. I'd say a majority of these hopefuls have 4 year degrees or better. It doesn't make you a smarter individual or a better pilot. It's simply one more hurdle that's required to get your foot in the door and a box checked on the application form.

There are folks who've been hired by a major without the degree. I'm not saying it doesn't happen. These folks generally either had thousands and thousands of good quality time and/or knew somebody high up the food chain in the company. You're really putting yourself at a big disadvantage without it.

Have you thought about taking distance learning courses toward obtaining your degree. There are many colleges out there today who offer this. Some even give you credit for life experiences and your ratings. You could be working on a degree while building time toward that major airline job.

Regardless, a job with a regional is certainly within your reach without the degree. The $64,000 question is: Will you be happy there?

Good luck!
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P.S. The top freight airlines such as FedEx, UPS, Airborne etc, have the same hiring qualifications criteria as Delta, United or American.
Thanks for your input. I have just applied for admission to the University of Phoenix online. It will be tough but if I am going to do this I need to make myself marketable. I just hope that after all of this work and expense I will have a job. Sure wish I knew all of this 12 years ago. Take care and thanks. Mike
Let's talk about 12 years ago

Hey man, don't beat yourself up. Twelve years ago the recession was just getting warmed up. Remember the "Economy, Stupid"?:D

Believe me, 12 years ago there were 22 year old kids with a BS that couldn't find a CFI job.

And guess what? Today there are 33 year old men and women with degrees that are out of work and waiting for things to brighten.

Who knows how things will be when you have 1000 hours? Your timing may be perfect. You'll probably do some instructing and then go to a regional where you can have a perfectly respectable career flying an RJ for decent pay.

If you can manage a degree and eventually get to FedEx by the time you're 40 that's still a really impressive 20 year career.

Keep your eyes on the prize. Best wishes.
This is my opinion, and your needs may be different but when I researched online degree programs, I found that University of Phoenix was very expensive compared to others. If they have a degree program that really interest you, best of luck to you, but there are some others out there that cost a lot less. I am working on my degree online through Embry-Riddle and I am pretty happy with it. The cost is about $450 per class. If I remember correctly, it cost over a thousand dollars per class at U of Phoenix. Good Luck to you!
Thanks for your idea. From what I have found out the approx cost for a bs in business will be about 40,000. That is alot of money. I think, and I need to investigate this further but I believe the approx cost at the UP is about 500 per class. I just want to make sure that when I do show up for an interview that they will recgonise the school that I attended. Thanks, Mike
I am currently at a regional. I am sure that you can get on with a regional with no degree. There are several people at my company working towards their degrees online so they can make the next step.

Getting on with a major is hard even with a degree. I am sure that a few here and there that are still getting hired at majors with no degree but I bet the number is very small.. (daddy is chief pilot)

Anyways... Best of luck to you!!!

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