Please know that there are no academic prerequisites to begin this program; however, there are job requirements that you should review before you begin your coursework. Some of the job requirements are specific and limiting; for example, if you want to be a pilot, and an airline says you must have a passport, you must have a valid passport in your possession (not in the mail). We want to make sure you are aware of some of these requirements before you devote time and money to the career listed below, so we have listed a SAMPLE job announcement. While some companies will have different requirements, you may want to investigate your options and talk privately to your instructor if you have any concerns or questions.
In addition to the differences between minimum and preferred requirements, there are differences in the requirements between smaller commuter airlines and larger domestic or international airlines. For example, compare the pilot requirements between Southwest and SkyWest Airlines (as of July 2010).
Large Domestic Airlines – Pilot Requirements
- Certificates / Ratings: U.S. FAA Airline Transport Pilot Certificate. Unrestricted1 U.S. Type Rating on a B-737 not required for interview but required for employment.
- Age: Must be at least 23 years of age.
- Flight Experience: 2,500 hours total or 1,500 hours TURBINE total. Additionally, a minimum of 1,000 hours in Turbine aircraft as the Pilot in command3 (as defined below) is required. 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.3
- Currency: A minimum of 200 hours must be logged in the preceding 36 months.
- Medical: Must possess a current FAA Class 1 Medical Certificate. Must pass FAA Drug Test.
- Authorization to work in the U.S.: Must have established authorization to work in the U.S.
- Driver License: Must possess a valid United States Driver License
- Education: 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 him/her over a sustained period of time.
Smaller Commuter Airlines – Pilot Requirements
- Must be at least 21 years of age
- Commercial License
- All applicants will need a current first-class medical (which will be verified at your interview)
- Must be a United States citizen or show proof of right to work in the US
- FCC Radio License
- EPE (English Proficiency Endorsement) if available.
- Current U.S. Passport
- Willing to rescind seniority with current carrier
- The following are minimums in order to be considered:
- 1,000 – hours total time (preferred)
- 100 – hours multi engine
- 100 – hours instrument (no more than 20 hours simulator will be accepted)
- Criminal Offense and Canadian Clearance: No pilot may be hired who has been convicted of any criminal offense within the past five years that will prohibit him/her of gaining Canadian clearance. After 5 years the pilot has to apply and receive a wavier indicating that he/she is eligible to enter into Canada. Any conviction that a pilot receives in his/her lifetime will require the same waiver authorization to be obtained.
American Airlines Sample Job Announcement:
At American, we’re more than just an airline. We’re a global company committed to driving change and innovation in an evolving industry. Our business allows us to connect people from different cultures and communities around the world – something our more than 100,000 employees take great pride in every day. With a competitive network and strong foundation, American is continuing to build on the momentum of our merger with US Airways, and we are looking for people who want to be part of something great – the new American.
Simply put, we’re looking for the best!
Safe, professional, skilled – when you think of American Airlines pilots, those are the qualities that immediately come to mind. And at American, we understand that being a pilot is about more than just the technical aspect of flying an airplane… it’s also about the joy of flying and the thrill of adventure.
But it’s more than just flying skills. Our pilots are not only leaders on the aircraft – they’re also leaders in our operation. That requires a special type of person, someone who can anticipate a need, develop a plan and draw all the necessary players together to make it happen.
Whether you’re ready to be hired now or just figuring out where you want to land, look to American because flying is more than what we do… it’s who we are.
We are looking for great people that can:
- Set a high standard for providing our customers safe and reliable travel
- Handle a wide variety of situations while working with other team members/customers
- Work independently or as part of a team with limited supervision
- Ensure the safety and comfort of our customers
- Provide leadership by responding to a variety of emergency and non-emergency situations
- Work in climates and locations across the globe and work variable shifts
Here is what it takes to be a successful pilot at American:
- Excellent communication skills and quick and accurate decision making
- Close attention to detail
- Minimum age of 23
- Ability to work varying hours of the day or night, on weekends and holidays
- Must be able to secure appropriate airport authority and/or Customs security badges
- Fulfillment of FAA criminal background checks
- Ability to learn and work with PEDs
- Distance vision corrected to 20/20 and near vision corrected to 20/40 or better in each eye
- Current Unrestricted Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) rating (multi-engine)
- Valid FCC Restricted Radio Telephone Operator permit
- Valid First Class Medical Certificate
- Flight time in accordance with all FAA requirements
- Must be able to fluently speak and understand English
- Must have the right to work in the United States. Additionally, we require all of our pilots to have a valid passport and documentation allowing for entry into the United States after an international flight.
If you are interested in joining our team, please make sure to complete an online profile. If you already completed an online profile, you do not need to take any further action other than keeping your information updated. If, however, you would like to withdraw your application, you can do so by clicking on the Profile Summary page and selecting the Draft Mode button – your profile will then be invisible.
What are my options? How long will it take?
- Aviation Certificate I – Private Pilot = 17 – 18 units (1-2 semesters)
- Aviation Certificate II – Instrument Pilot = 24-26 units (2 semesters)
- Aviation Certificate III – Commercial Pilot = 31-34 units (2-3 semesters)
- Aviation Certificate IV – Advanced Pilot = 35 units (2-3 semesters)
- Associate in Science Degree – Commercial Pilot = (2 years)
How much will it cost? How much financial aid can I get?
Cost of Attendance ($46 per unit for CA residents + books, fees)
What is the job and salary outlook?
- CareerOneStop (US Dept. of Labor)
Where do students work?
At all major airlines, including Express Jet, Delta, Sunrise Aviation, Flight Safety, South Bay Aviation, United, Gulfstream and more!
Quick links to get you started:
- Apply to Cypress College
- Apply for Financial Aid
- Enroll: Start with basic certificate classes*
- International Students
- Student Services
- Work Study (jobs on campus)
* If you will be taking general education classes toward a degree, you’ll want to take the placement tests, but these tests are not necessary to start this program.
Note: Students may receive course credit for FAA certifications or military experience toward their degree. Please see the Credit by Examination section of the Cypress College Catalog and meet with the Department Coordinator.