Delta Removes Degree Requirement for Prospective Pilots

Company joins other major airlines in no longer requiring a four-year diploma.

Delta Airlines (NYSE: DAL) will no longer require pilots to hold a bachelor’s degree, the airline announced this week.

“After a comprehensive review of our pilot hiring requirements, Delta has decided to make a four-year college degree ‘preferred’ rather than required for first officer candidates, effective immediately,” the company said in a statement.

Delta joins other major airlines like Southwest, United, and American Airlines that don’t require their pilots to hold a degree. 

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  • “While we feel as strongly as ever about the importance of education, there are highly qualified candidates who have gained more than the equivalent of a college education through years of life and leadership experience,” the company said. 

    “Making the four-year degree requirement preferred removes unintentional barriers to our Delta flight decks.”

    The removal of the degree requirement will allow for more pilots to trend up to the airlines; the required hour minimum will remain in place. Pilots who do not attend a career program, college, or university with a Restricted ATP program will still have to reach the 1,500-hour threshold required. 

    Delta has not stated if the change to its hiring guidelines is a result of the hiring shortage the airline industry has faced.


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