Airline Pilot


If you like to go for a natural high, a future as an Airplane Pilot is a great option. Airplane Pilots are responsible for safely transporting their planes, large or small, with their passengers and cargo. Pilots naturally need a license to fly, which they get after logging enough supervised hours. More and more, Pilots need an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in order to get a job in this highly competitive field.

Is This Major Right for You?

Do You Like These Things?

Airplane Pilots are good leaders. Either as a captain or first mate, they have plenty of responsibilities and stewardship. They like working as a team, or at least most of them do – there are some jobs for the solo type. Airplane Pilots like to travel, whether it’s to new destinations all the time or just the same old stop. And they enjoy the view of their job, as it’s pretty much the best out there.

Do You Have These Skills?

As much fun as it may seem, flying a plane is stressful. You have a million factors to consider, from every piece of equipment on the plane (yep, you’re in charge of the landing gear AND the air conditioning) to the weather conditions at every leg of your trip. As though that weren’t enough, nowadays Airplane Pilots are usually deputized and carry guns to protect from would-be hijackers. It’s not all fun and games in the cockpit.

Who Shouldn't Pick This Major

If you get dizzy trying to pay attention to your gas gauge and your speedometer, good luck keeping track of the gazillion meters and gadgets on a plane. Also, if you’re the type who spends the entire vacation in the bathroom with motion sickness from the trip there, your life would be pretty miserable as an Airplane Pilot.

Is This What You Want After Graduation?

What You'll Learn

Aside from learning what all those buttons do and all those gages mean, an Airplane Pilot needs to learn the science of aeronautics. Pilots have to be licensed to fly by instrument only, for those icky conditions when weather or other circumstances make it so they can’t see anything outside the plane.

Jobs You Might Get

Airplane Pilots can work as captains or first mates for airlines taking people anywhere from Duluth to Denmark. But there are also plenty of non-airliner jobs available, such as crop dusting, commercial cargo, air-taxi, or personal pilot for a corporate or super rich individual.


A college degree will definitely give you a leg up. Another popular route is training with the United States Armed Forces. As a military pilot you’ll get plenty of hours in the sky, and your highly disciplined training will be second to none.


Log as many hours in the sky as you can. At the same time, get out in the job hunt early. If you work for an airline, your schedule is based on seniority. That means the guy hired two weeks before you is going to leave you with all the crummy flights. It will take years to be flying the best routes, but every little bit helps.