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Is getting a type rating worth it?

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Jan 10, 2002
I was reading this book, about becoming a professional pilot because it is what I have always wanted to do.
Spending $25,000 on ratings and getting paid little for instructing and doing cargo for a couple of years doesn't bother me. But then I got to a chapter on making it into the majors and the book kind of left an open ended question about getting a 737 type rating. This bothers me though because it is another $10,000.
Is spending that much on a type rating worth it just to have it on your resume to go show an airline who may or may not hire you? And doesn't the airline that hires you put you through the same type rating with that company?
Type rating

Perhaps the author was thinking Southwest. Although Southwest said at one time it would interview anyone with 2500 total time, the people it interviewed first had the 737 type. Now, I understand that Southwest no longer "requires" the 737 type to be considered. Whether you will receive the same consideration as those who do is up for conjecture. I always heard that EVERYONE who interviewed at Southwest had 737 types, so sim rides were not part of the interview. And, since all new-hires were already typed on the aircraft, it cut their training costs.

You are correct. Even if you have a 737 type and tons of Captain time in the aircraft, you will still have to take the same company training as one who never saw the inside of the airplane.

In any event, a type rating won't help you particularly. Good multi PIC time, along with a good amount of IFR, actual and night time, and preferably in scheduled ops will more than suffice. If you can offer a good 300-500 hours minimum of multi PIC along with good IFR and reasonable total time, you'll be competitive for the commuters.

Keep the $10K in your wallet. Good luck with your training.
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Southwest Airlines New Pilot Requirements
Licenses / Ratings:
U.S. FAA Airline Transport Pilot Certificate. Non Restricted U.S. Type Rating on a B-737 preferred for interview, *required for employment.

Must be least twenty–three years of age, at the time of hire.

Flight Experience:
2500 hours total or 1500 hours TURBINE total. Additionally, a minimum of 1000 hours in Turbine aircraft as the **Pilot in command, as defined by FAR PART I is required. Recency of experience is considered. Southwest considers only Pilot time in fixed wing aircraft. This specifically excludes simulator, helicopter, WSO, RIO, FE, NAV, EWO etc. NO other time is counted.**

Must possess a current FAA Class 1 Medical Certificate. Must pass FAA mandated Drug Test.

Authorization to work in the United States:
Must have established authorization to work in the United States.

Driver's License:
Must possess a valid United States Driver's License.
Graduation from accredited, four-year college preferred.

Letters of Recommendation:
At least three letters from any individuals who can attest to the pilot’s flying skills, by having observed them over a sustained period of time.

*Southwest Airlines requirement on the B-737 Type Rating: Although preferred, a candidate may apply without a B-737 Type Rating. If a candidate interviews and successfully completes the entire selection process they have 6 months from that date to successfully complete a B-737 Type Rating course and obtain a B-737 Type Rating to be eligible for hire.
There is a LOT more to aviation than just flying for the airlines. If you want to fly then just do it. You can plan and figure out your future as a pilot while your enroute. Don't plan it out too early because aviation can open alot of doors. Worrying about type ratings will only stop you from beginning your career. Once you accrue the flight time which will qualify you for certain positions let the operator pay for your training. Just start building your experience and time.


Most legitimate operations will type you in whatever they have once you've put your time in.

One exception is SWA. SWA does not require a type for the interview however, if you are hired, you have six months to get it done before you report for duty. They also say that no special consideration whatsoever is given to any candidate if they show up with a type. I've seen several good pilots go out and get their 37' types for the SWA interview only to be turned down. With VA bennies, you can get it done for around $8,000. SWA gives handouts at the interview about several 37' schools. SWA is one of the only operations left out there that requires type ratings.

Don't pay for your ratings! There are plenty of operators with deep pockets out there who know that a type rating is simply part of the cost of doing business! Build time, experience, and a good reputation. They will get you where you need to go.
Save your money, as you have a long, long way to go before you should even consider getting a type. Some airlines may not hire you because you have a 73 type, as they think you may jump ship for SWA later on. So, wait until you have the job that you would only leave for SWA, then get one if they still require it.

Good luck to you.

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