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Willing to become an Alaska Airlines pilot? If yes, you must read this full article to explore the requirements, processes, salary, training program, and various other aspects.

First of all, let us begin with basic information about Alaska Airlines.

About Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines is a major carrier of the United States that operates scheduled flights to more than 115 domestic destinations. It is also known as the fifth largest airline in the country in terms of passengers carried, fleet status, and number of destinations.

The airline operates its flight with 171 Boeing 737 and 31 Airbus A320 aircraft from airline bases in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Anchorage, Seattle and Portland.


How to become an Alaska Airlines pilot?

Alaska Airlines offers the opportunity to become a pilot by announcing vacancies on its official website. You as an applicant must fulfill the basic requirement and apply to the position.

At Alaska, you can become a pilot via a pilot development program or directly apply for the first officer position.

A pilot development program is offered as an ascend pilot scheme that allows private pilot students to develop their piloting career more systematically with Horizon Air, the regional airline partner for Alaska.

If you are a professional pilot and have flying experience, you can directly apply for open positions at Alaska Airlines.

Now that we have explored some basic details, let us dig into both the opportunities to become an Alaska Airlines pilot.

Alaska Airlines Cadet Program

As a part of the cadet pilot program, Alaska Airlines offers a Pilot Development Program (PDP) in coordination with Horizon Air. 

Now, let’s explore the PDP.

Horizon Air Pilot Development Program

Like every other airline, Alaska also offers a pilot development program to aspiring aviation enthusiasts. Without proper guidance and support, your piloting career might be challenging so, Alaska Airlines has introduced this program to assist you in becoming a professional pilot from scratch.

Students in this program will receive an allowance of $12,500 to develop pilot skills via mentorship from professional pilots. If you complete the PDP training, you will get an opportunity for a class date with Horizon Air.

With that, you can become a Horizon Air pilot and grow your career as a professional pilot.


Requirements for the Pilot Development Program

Here are the basic requirements you need to fulfill before applying for the Horizon Air PDP.

  • Applicant must be at least 18 years old.
  • Applicants must hold a valid Private Pilot License (PPL).
  • A valid U.S. passport and driver’s license are mandatory.
  • Applicants must be able to obtain the First Class Medical Certificate as per FAA standards.

The process to join the PDP

After that, you need to register and submit an online application through the airline’s career section. For that, you must find the active vacancies

After registering and submitting the application, the airline will review it and contact you for further processes that might include interviews.

If you manage to pass the interview, you will be selected for the Pilot Development Program.

Following are the universities and affiliated pilot development schools for PDP.

WashingtonBig Bend Community College
Central Washington University
Clover Park Technical College
Crest Airport
Galvin Flying
Green River College
Rainier Flight Service
Safety in Motion
Walla Walla University
MontanaGallatin College
Rocky Mountain College
Summit Aviation
OrlandoHillsboro Aero Academy
Lane Community College
Pacific Aviation NW
Willamette Aviation Service
OregonCentral Oregon Community College
UtahUtah State University
Utah Valley University
ArizonaEmbry-Riddle Aeronautical University
North DakotaThe University of North Dakota
AlaskaUniversity of Alaska-Anchorage
CaliforniaCalifornia Aeronautical University
Across the United States68 ATP Flight Schools

Career Progression through Pilot Development Program

After you get selected for the Horizon Air Pilot Development program, you will receive a flight training grant of $12,500. This grant is provided in two phases – $5000 will be provided after instrument rating and $7500 will be granted after commercial training.

As you complete the training, you will receive a Chief Flight Instructor (CFI) rating. With that, you will start collecting flight hours by working as a CFI at the school you graduated from.

During your CFI career, you must stay in touch with Horizon Air and provide your progress update until you meet ATP/R-ATP (Airline Transport Pilot) minimum requirements.

You will successfully become a Horizon Air pilot after completing all the steps discussed above.

Apply as an experienced pilot

Alaska Airlines announces vacancies for experienced pilots where you can apply for the first officer position.

apply for alaska airlines pilot aviatechchannel

Alaska Airlines Pilot Requirements

Here are the basic requirements to apply for the Alaska Airlines pilot job.

  • The minimum age of an applicant must be 23 years.
  • A High School Diploma or Equivalent level of education is required.
  • Must obtain legal authorization to work in the United States.
  • Fluency in English Language (Reading, Writing, and Speaking) is mandatory.
  • Must obtain First Class FAA medical certificate.
  • Must hold a valid FAA Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate.
  • Proficiency in computer skills including Email, Internet, Adobe application, and Microsoft Office is a plus point.
  • A valid Driver’s License is also required.
  • Applicants must obtain a current passport with unlimited access in and out of the United States.
  • Must be able to work from the airline domicile in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Anchorage, or Seattle.
  • Applicants must possess leadership skills, excellent judgment, and commanding competency.

Flight Hours Requirement

  • A minimum of 50 hours of flight time within the last 12 months is mandatory.
  • A minimum of 2,000 flight hours in a fixed-wing aircraft or 1,200 hours of flight time in a high-performance military aircraft. (50 percent of rotor-wing flight time up to 1,000 hours can be counted toward total flight hours)
  • Those candidates with 1,000 hours of flight time as a Pilot-in-Command (PIC) in a fixed-wing multi-engine turbine aircraft are highly preferred.
  • Also, candidates with a four-year degree from an accredited university are highly desired.

Hiring Process 

  • First of all, you need to visit the career section of the official website and find active vacancies for pilots.
  • You can apply by submitting the online application if there are any open positions.
  • The airline recruitment team will carefully review your application and will contact you for further assessments that may include interviews, skills tests, psychometric tests, and so on.
  • If you manage to pass all the assessments, you will be selected for the pilot position at Alaska Airlines.

Alaska Airlines Pilot Training Program

Alaska Airlines offers Pilot Development Training Program in coordination with the regional partner, Horizon Air. All the details on this program have been discussed in the article above.

Want to explore pilot jobs at other airlines in the U.S.? Read these blogs.
How to become a United Airlines pilot?
How to become an American Airlines?
How to become a Southwest 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?

Alaska Airlines Pilot Salary

Pilots at Alaska Airlines can earn almost $190,000 per year. The pay scale can range from $65,000 to $230,000 depending upon the seniority level.

Talking about the hourly rate, the salary ranges from $93 per hour (First Officer) to $266 per hour (Senior Captain).

Alaska Airlines Pilot Benefits

Besides basic salary, pilots at Alaska Airlines receive various benefits and perks.

  • Paid Time Off
  • Health Care Facilities
  • Family and Medical Leave
  • Employee Development Program
  • Active Well-being programs
  • 401k Retirement Plan
  • Quarterly and Annual Bonus Programs
  • Employee Stock Purchase Plan
  • Discounts at other travel companies
  • Free Unlimited travel for employees and their families
  • Career Development Opportunities
  • Scholarship for employees and their family members

Alaska Airlines Pilot Uniform

alaska airlines pilot uniform aviatechchannel


We have covered almost everything related to ‘How to become an Alaska Airlines Pilot in 2023?’ in this informative article.

If you have any doubts or queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us or comment below.

How do I become an Alaska Airlines pilot?

First, you need to fulfill all the requirements of Alaska Airlines. Then, you can apply for the Pilot Development Program if you don’t have any previous flying experience. If you are already an experienced pilot, you can apply for open pilot positions.

How much money does an Alaska Airlines pilot make?

Pilots at Alaska Airlines are expected to make almost $190,000 per year. The pay scale can range from $65,000 to $230,000 depending upon the seniority level.

Does Alaska Airlines have a pilot program?

Yes, Alaska Airlines offers a pilot program known as Pilot Development Program (PDP) in coordination with Horizon Air.

How long is Alaska Airlines pilot training?

The flight school at Alaska Airlines provides training for students to become commercial pilots in a span of 13 to 18 months. Upon completing the Ascend Pilot Academy pilot development program, students typically require about three years to obtain their FAA pilot license, which mandates a minimum of 1,500 flight hours.

Does Alaska Airlines require a college degree for pilots?

No, a college degree is not a mandatory requirement for pilots at Alaska Airlines. Nevertheless, having a college degree is preferred, and possessing one can enhance your prospects of being hired.

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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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