• Course details and qualifications
    Course details and qualifications
    • Status: Full-time
    • Duration of airline pilot Bachelor's degree: 2-4 years, subject to scheduling
    • Type: Associate / Bachelor's Degree
    • Required experience for aviation degree: Little or none
    • Location: Sanford, Florida and Jacksonville, Florida
  • Supporting downloads

Pilot training programs and courses

Pilot Undergraduate Degrees

Earn a pilot undergraduate degree and start your pilot career through our university partners - Seminole State College of Florida (SSC) and Jacksonville University (JU). Show them what you’re made of, with our world-class qualification.

Combine pilot training with a degree

Begin your career with a college degree to become a pilot. Choose a pilot degree course with one of our College partners and you could graduate with an undergraduate degree and a pilot license:

  • 2-year Associate’s Degree from Seminole State College of Florida (SSC), where you can transfer credits over from your flying courses to your degree.
  • 4-year airline pilot Bachelor's Degree from Jacksonville University (JU) where you will graduate with a degree in Aviation Management and Flight Operations.

If you dream of flying for a career, as a cadet at our Orlando Flight School, you’ll learn to fly on an impressive fleet of over 60 single-and-multi-engine aircraft, many with glass cockpits and Garmin G1000 Instrumentation.

Our university partners

Seminole State College of Florida (SSC) is located in Sanford, Florida, and is a public institution offering a two-year Associate's Degree in Arts. Upon completion of the Professional Pilot Program or Accelerated Airline Pilot Track, you can apply to SSC and apply for transfer of up to 27 credits towards your airline pilot degree.

Jacksonville University (JU) is located in Jacksonville, Florida, and is a private institution offering a four-year Bachelor's Degree in Aviation Management and Flight Operations – making it a great choice for entering an airline pilot degree program. Students would apply and enroll as a JU students, then the flight training is provided by L3Harris Flight Academy Instructors and equipment.

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Do you need a college degree to become a pilot?

The answer is yes and no. No, you do not need a college degree to become a pilot with a regional airline. However, many major airlines do prefer pilots with undergraduate degrees in aviation.

Whether it is a requirement to have a college degree to become a pilot is dependent on several factors.

Whilst many airlines may state an aviation degree is not “required” or is only “desirable”, an aviation degree demonstrates a cadet’s ability, discipline, and commitment and may help you to secure an interview ahead of other applicants.

Do you need a college degree to become a pilot for a regional airline?

Regional airlines do not typically make aviation degrees a requirement, however, cadets must have completed approved commercial pilot training. This means cadets must have obtained their 1,500hrs of flying time, Private Pilot Certificate, Instrument Rating, Commercial Pilot Single-Engine Certificate, Commercial Multi-Engine Add-on Rating, Certified Flight Instructor Certificate, and Airline Transport (ATP) License.

In addition to this, pilots must have no criminal history, the personal characteristics and skills of a pilot, and a first-class medical certificate.

Similarly, an airline pilot's degree may increase your chances of getting hired at a regional airline.

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Do you need a college degree to become a pilot for a major airline?

Major airlines do typically make pilot undergraduate degrees from a reputable college or university a requirement.

Most major airlines will accept a degree in any major, as it is a tool to demonstrate your ability, discipline, and commitment.

However, if you are serious about becoming a pilot and would like to study a degree in aviation, you may want to consider the following undergraduate degree programs:

  • Aeronautical science
  • Aerospace engineering
  • Air traffic management
  • Aviation

If you do not want to complete a college degree to become a pilot, we have several commercial pilot training programs - Professional Pilot Program, Accelerated Airline Pilot Track, and Commercial Pilot Track - to equip you with the relevant skills, knowledge, and certifications, and ratings to start your journey towards becoming an airline pilot.

Request info    |     Programs and courses

  • academy-photo-commercial-plane-takeoff
  • academy-usa-sanford-instructor-and-cadet
  • academy-usa-sanford-piper-archer-door-open
  • 100% funding available to 
    those who qualify
  • 10 airline 
    partners
  • 96% graduates who stay as CFI
    placed with airlines
  • 60+ single and multi-engine 
    aircraft

Airline pilot degree FAQs

How does a college degree prepare you for being a pilot?

When a pilot degree is combined with pilot training, on completion you will be awarded:

  • PPL
  • Instrument Rating
  • Commercial Pilot Single-Engine Certified
  • Commercial Multi-Engine Add-on Rating
  • Certified Flight Instructor
  • Associate’s or Bachelor's degree

These qualifications provide you with good standing to find a career with a regional or major airline.

An airline pilot bachelor’s degree offers the best preparation for becoming a pilot. During the last two years of your education, you will be required to find placement opportunities with airliners making this approach extremely career-orientated.

What aircraft will I learn to fly on?

At our flight school in Florida, we have an impressive fleet of over 60 single-and-multi-engine aircraft. Our training aircraft are IFR certified and regularly inspected by our FAA-certified machines to ensure they meet the highest safety standards.

Our single-engine aircraft include:

  • Cirrus SR20
  • Cessna 172P & 172SP
  • Piper Archer PA28

Our multi-engine aircraft include:

  • Piper Seminole

When not out on our training fleet, you will practice flying on a range of Flight Training Devices (FTDs) which emulate real-life flying experiences. Our range includes:

  • A Level 6 FAA-approved Cirrus SR20 FTD
  • A Level 4 FAA-approved Piper PA44 FTD
  • A line of AviatorTM Cirrus SR20 Advanced Aviation Training Devices (AATD)
  • Two Frasca International Inc. TruFlite AATDs
  • One Piper PA44
  • One Cessna 172SP
  • A Redbird MCX AATD that can be configured as a Cessna 172SP
  • A Piper PA44 round dial with 2 Garmin 430 GPS receivers
  • A PA44 all-glass Garmin G1000

How can I fund my pilot degree course?

L3Harris Flight Academy offers funding options such as scholarships, loans, and grants.

Flight School State Loans:

  • Vermont Advantage Loan is eligible for Vermont residents attending out-of-state schools
  • American Airlines credit education loan is eligible for members of American Airlines Credit Union
  • Alaska Resident Loan is eligible for Alaska residents attending out-of-state schools
  • New Jersey Class Loan is eligible for NJ residents attending out-of-state schools
  • Florida National Guide: Educational Dollars for Duty is eligible for Florida National Guard Soldiers and Airmen

For more information, visit our flight school loans page.

Aviation Scholarships:

  • Veterans Scholarship is eligible for honorably discharged USA Veterans enrolling in the PPP or AAPT.
  • High School Scholarship is eligible to high school seniors enrolling in the PPP or AAPT programs

For more information, visit our aviation scholarships page.

Get in touch with our financial aid department to find out more about funding degrees in aviation - usfinancialaid.cts@l3harris.com.

Where will I train to complete my degree and pilot training?

You can either study for an airline pilot Bachelor's degree at Seminole State College of Florida (SSC), or Jacksonville University (JU). For either course, you will complete your pilot training at the L3Harris USA Flight Academy in Orlando, Florida.

How long does it take to complete a college degree?

It may take 2-years to complete an Associate’s Degree from Seminole State College of Florida (SSC), where you can transfer credits over from your flying courses to your degree.

Alternatively, you can complete a 4-year airline pilot Bachelor's Degree at Jacksonville University (JU).

What is next after completing your airline pilot bachelor’s degree?

After completing your airline pilot Bachelor's degree, you will be able to apply to the major and regional airlines across the USA. Becoming a Flight Instructor allows you to build up the necessary flying hours before embarking on a career as a commercial pilot.

Ready to start your application?

Take your first step towards becoming an airline pilot and apply today. Good luck and we look forward to welcoming you to our Flight Academy!

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Please complete the form below to contact our team for more information on our Flight Academy. 

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