Are you willing to become an American Airlines Pilot? If yes, this article will be beneficial as it covers all the aspects including requirements, training, processes, salary, and much more.

Let us get into our topic by exploring some basic information on American Airlines (AA).

About American Airlines 

American Airlines is one of the major carriers in the United States that operates almost 7,000 daily flights to 350 destinations in 50 countries across the globe. The airline is also the founding member of the Oneworld alliance, a group of the world’s leading airlines.

The airline also operates various flights via its regional carriers including Envoy Air, Piedmont Airlines, PSA Airlines, Mesa Airlines, Republic Airlines, and SkyWest Airlines. These regional carriers are categorized as a part of an American Eagle.

The network of 6 regional carriers operates over 3,400 flights daily to 240 destinations across the United States, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Canada.


Talking about the fleet details, the airline owns more than 800 aircraft including Airbus A319, A320, A321, A321 Transcon, A321neo, Boeing 737 MAX, 737-800, 777-200, 777-300ER, 787-8, 787-9 Dreamliner, CRJ-700, CRJ-900, ERJ-145, ERJ-170 and ERJ-175.

How to Become an American Airlines Pilot?

American Airlines announces vacancies for pilots on its official website. 

If you are already an experienced pilot, you can directly apply for the pilot job. Otherwise, you have the option to join the American Airlines Cadet Academy and become a pilot from scratch.

In this article, we will discuss both the ways to become a pilot at American Airlines. So, let us first go with the Cadet Program.

American Airlines Cadet Academy

American Airlines offers a pilot cadet program conducted in its Cadet Academy. This integrated flight training program allows you to become a professional pilot in a systematic way.

The main motive of this cadet program is to provide efficient, accessible, and reasonable training to aspiring aviation enthusiasts. You as a student of the American Airlines Cadet Academy can benefit from tools, financial resources, and quality training that lets you become an ATP-rated pilot conveniently.

You must be wondering about the job guarantee after joining the cadet program. Well, AA says the cadet academy doesn’t guarantee jobs however, you will receive essential support to become a successful candidate for an interview at Envoy Airlines, PSA Airlines, and Piedmont Airlines.


So, how to join the cadet program? Let’s explore the requirements, training cost, and processes below.

Eligibility Requirements for American Airlines Cadet Program

Here are the basic requirements you need to fulfill before applying for the Cadet Academy.

  • The minimum age of the applicant must be at least 18 years.
  • High School Diploma or GED Educational Level is mandatory.
  • Must obtain legal authorization to work in the United States.
  • Must obtain Class 1 Medical by FAA standards.
  • A valid Passport is required with approval to travel in and out of the United States.
  • Fluency in English Language (Reading, Writing, and Speaking) is required.
  • Applicants must be able to pass a background check.

Cadet Academy Pilot Program Cost

You as an American Airlines Cadet Academy student must pay a one-time training cost that covers everything including materials, uniforms and all other training requirements.

The flight training costs are displayed in the table below.

CAE$92,400 (Phoenix, Arizona)
Coast Flight$99,400
Available in:
Dallas, Texas
San Marcos, Texas
San Diego, California

The overall cost can go up to $110,000 if you require food and accommodation.

You can also go for loan schemes offered by Discover Student Loans, the Cadet Program loan partner for American Airlines. With this offer, you can get a loan up to $110,000 and the interest rate will be just 0.25 percent. Also, you don’t require a cosigner.

Application Process for Cadet Academy

You need to go through the following processes to join the American Airlines Cadet Academy.

  • Once you find out the vacancies, you are required to submit an online application. With this application, you must submit an online assessment and essay questions.
  • The airline recruitment department will analyze your online application, assessment, and essay. If they are pleased with your application, you will be selected for the next assessment which is a video interview.
  • You are instructed to submit a video interview.
  • If you manage to pass the video interview, you will be invited to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport for one-to-one interviews and other tests.
  • Successfully passing the final interviews and tests, you will be selected for the Cadet Pilot Program.

Career Progression Journey at AA Cadet Academy

As you enter the Cadet Academy, you will receive a systematic flight training program to become a competent pilot in a short period. 

There is no guarantee for employment however, you will acquire enough knowledge, experience, and competency to apply for various airlines.

The Cadet Pilot program is conducted in two phases namely Instruction Phase and Experience Phase.

At first, you will go through 18 months instruction phase that covers the Private Pilot License (PPL) Certificate, Instrument Rating (IR), Commercial Pilot License Certificate (CPL), Multi-Engine Rating, and Flight Instructor Certificate (CFI, CFII).

After successful completion of the Instruction phase, you are now on the way to the Experience Phase in which you will spend up to 24 months working as a paid flight instructor. 

As a flight instructor, you will collect flight hours to meet the Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) Certificate requirements.

The completion of 42 months of training will make you eligible to apply for AA’s three regional subsidiary carriers (PSA, Envoy, and Piedmont). Also, you will get opportunities to join AA as a First Officer once you gain ample experience to meet the seniority level.

This is how you can become a professional pilot from the AA Cadet Academy. Now, let’s find out the process to join as an experienced pilot.

Apply as an experienced pilot

apply pilot job at american airlines aviatechchannel

If you are a professional and experienced pilot, you can directly apply for the pilot job at American Airlines. For that, you need to fulfill the basic requirements, flight hours requirement, medical certificate, and so on.

American Airlines Pilot Requirements

Here are the basic requirements for applying for a pilot job at American Airlines.

  • The age of the applicant must be at least 23 years.
  • Must have achieved Current Unrestricted Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) multi-engine rating.
  • Must obtain valid FCC Restricted Radio Telephone Operator Permit.
  • Applicants must fulfill First Class Medical Certificate Requirements set by the FAA
  • Flight Hours must be according to the FAA requirements.
  • Fluency in English Language (Writing, Reading, and Speaking) is mandatory.
  • Applicants must obtain legal authorization to work in the United States
  • A valid passport and documentation are required to travel in and out of the United States.
  • Vision Requirements are 20/20 for Corrected Distance Vision and 20/40 for Corrected Near Vision.
  • Applicants must fulfill FAA criminal background checks.
  • Applicants must be willing to work as per the airline’s varying schedule 
  • Applicants must be able to secure appropriate airport authority or Customs Security Badges

Hiring Process for American Airlines Pilot

If you fulfill all the basic requirements we discussed above, you can apply online for the job.

  • First of all, visit the AA’s job section and find the active vacancies for the pilot job.
  • If you find vacancies, go through the requirements and apply online.
  • The HR officer will go through your application and instruct you for further assessments and tests that may include interviews and skill tests.
  • If you manage to pass the assessments and tests, you will be selected for the job.
Looking for pilot jobs at other airlines in the United States? If yes, go through these articles:
How to become a United Airlines Pilot?
How to become a Southwest Airlines pilot?
How to become an Alaska Airlines pilot?
How to become a Delta Pilot?
How to become a Hawaiian Airlines Pilot?
How to become an Allegiant Pilot?
How to become an Avelo Airlines Pilot?
How to become a Breeze Airways Pilot?
How to become a Frontier Airlines Pilot?
How to become a JetBlue Pilot?
How to become a Spirit Airlines Pilot?
How to become a Sun Country Airlines Pilot?

American Airlines Pilot Salary

Pilots at American Airlines are expected to earn almost $130,000 yearly and this pay scale is 127 percent above the national average. The salary can range from $25,000 to $338,000 per year depending upon the experience and seniority level.

Talking about the hourly rate, you as an AA pilot can make an average of $90 per hour. The hourly rate can again range from $20 to $352 hourly depending upon your seniority level.

American Airlines Pilot Uniform

american airlines pilot uniform aviatechchannel

American Airlines Pilot Shortage

Pilot Shortage is a global problem these days with airlines compelled to pay double or triple to the existing pilots for undisrupted operation. The COVID-19 pandemic has also added to the troublesome situation.

There is much news published recently about airlines including AA reducing flight frequencies due to pilot shortage. Moreover, airlines are offering higher pay and lower requirements these days.

As per Business Insider Australia, major airlines in the United States including American Airlines are hiring pilots from Australia to fulfil their air travel needs.

Also, various researchers have shown the need for 15,000 pilots by 2026. With that, we can estimate the global demand for air travel will be high, and new aspirant pilots will get employment with ease.


Now we are at the end of this article and hope your queries to become an American Airlines pilot are addressed.

If you have any doubts or want to explore more, don’t hesitate to contact us or comment below.

Looking for American American Airlines Flight Attendant Jobs? Find out here.

How much money do American Airline pilots make?

Pilots at American Airlines are expected to earn almost $130,000 yearly which is 127 per cent above the United States national average. This pay scale can range from $25,000 to $338,000 depending upon the seniority level.

How do I become a pilot for American Airlines?

You can become a pilot for American Airlines by joining the Cadet Program if you are a beginner or applying directly to the pilot vacancy if you are an experienced pilot. For both the options, you need to fulfil basic requirements, medical certification requirements and pass the interviews.

Does American Airlines offer pilot training?

Yes, American Airlines offers pilot training at the AA Cadet Academy.

Do you need a degree to be an American Airlines pilot?

A college degree is not mandatory to be a pilot for American Airlines however, it will be a plus point if you have a degree from a reputed university.

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Suman Karki
Suman Karki is the founder of the AviaTech Channel blog and YouTube Channel. He is a passionate aviation enthusiast and holds experience working as a Ground Operations Officer for Swissport International. He is currently serving as a Flight Data Feeder for FlightAware (a US-based company for Flight Tracking). Besides, he has worked as an aviation content editor for various aviation media.



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