Delta Removes Degree Requirement for Prospective Pilots

Delta has not stated if the change to its hiring guidelines is a result of the pilot shortage. [Courtesy: Delta Air Lines]

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. 

“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.

Based in Texas, Ashley is the former Marketing Manager at FLYING and focuses deeply on training and education. She graduated from the Baylor Institute for Air Science with a Bachelor's in Aviation Science and holds an MBA specializing in Marketing. She is an also instrument rated private pilot and licensed FAA dispatcher.

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