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Delta drops degree requirement for pilot applicants

Bachelor’s degree is ‘preferred rather than required’

Delta Air Lines pilot recruiting announced on January 6 that the airline is no longer turning away applicants who don’t have a bachelor’s degree.

Delta Air Lines’ pilot recruitment team on January 6 announced that college degrees are no longer required for employment as a first officer. Photo courtesy of Delta Air Lines.

In a statement from the Delta Air Lines’ pilot recruiting team, the Atlanta-based airline announced that pilot applicants will no longer need a four-year bachelor’s degree to be considered for employment as a first officer. 

“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 pilot recruitment team stated in a release.

“While we feel as strongly as ever about the importance of education, there are highly qualified candidates—people who we would want to welcome to our Delta family—who have gained more than the equivalent of a college education through years of life and leadership experience,” stated the release. “Making the four-year degree requirement preferred removes unintentional barriers to our Delta flight decks.”

Delta also noted that the bachelor’s degree preference is the only change to its list of pilot requirements.

“We’re excited about our future at Delta and we’re proud of the many things we are doing to make the dream of becoming a Delta pilot a reality for talented, hard-working and committed people who love this industry,” the release stated.

Delta Air Lines did not immediately respond to AOPA’s inquiry about whether the change in college degree requirements was the result of a need for more pilots.

Cayla McLeod

Cayla McLeod

eMedia Assistant Editor
Assistant Editor-Web Cayla McLeod is a private pilot with a love for tailwheel and backcountry aircraft. When she isn't writing stories, she enjoys flying with friends and introducing others to general aviation.
Topics: Career, Aviation Industry, Student

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