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a pilot jumping with joy near aircraft

Pursuing a career as a pilot is great for those that crave adventure—those that want to soar across skies and don’t want to stay in the same place for a long time. For Filipinos, this type of career comes naturally to people for whom travel is in their blood. But aside from opportunities to reach far-off places, becoming a pilot also offers lucrative opportunities as more countries recover from the COVID-19 crisis and ramp up demand for new pilots. According to a Statista report, there might be a global shortage of 50,000 pilots by 2025 as the pandemic-hit aviation sector works to surpass 2019 levels by 2023. North American airlines alone might need around 130,000 pilots over the next two decades, the report states.

Another report from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) says that in the Philippines, the air transport industry employs approximately 45,000 people and supports over 127,000 jobs in the supply chain. In 20 years, the sector could support a total of 1.8 million jobs and contribute up to $28.2 billion to the country’s GDP.

So what would it take to become a pilot in the Philippines, one of the most vital jobs in the industry? There are actually a variety of options. One could go to a flight school and get a student pilot license issued by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP). One could also enroll in an airline-sponsored Cadet Pilot Program, which will result in an Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) and employment with the airline upon completion of the program. Future pilots in the Philippines may also opt to join the Philippine Air Force (PAF), where the government will provide flight training. However, pilots under this program must render 12 years of military service before they can join commercial airlines.

Another option is to obtain a college degree related to aviation. Some might not see the necessity of going to college when there are other ways to get a pilot license, but a degree could provide additional knowledge and fresh perspectives that would help in a pilot’s daily tasks. Some aviation-related Bachelor’s degrees also provide flight training, allowing the student to obtain licenses such as a Commercial Pilot License (CPL).

If the benefit of having a college degree along with pilot training seems enticing, here are some degrees you should consider.


Of course, the most straightforward path to becoming a certified pilot is getting a Bachelor’s degree in Aviation. Formally studying the aspects of flight enables you to approach its nuances from a theoretical and practical perspective. If you want a clear direction in your career as a professional in the skies, there are several good pilot schools in the Philippines that offer pilot courses that can directly prepare you for licensure and examination.


Although it doesn’t necessarily provide training for piloting aircraft, a degree in Aeronautics or Aeronautical Science will provide you with a skill set that can be useful for pilots. This degree will give you an idea of an airplane’s core functions, it’s components, and what it takes for them to remain safely airborne. It also provides an option for students to go into other aviation-related jobs including air traffic management and aircraft maintenance.

Aerospace Engineering

Similar to Aeronautics, an Aerospace Engineering degree isn’t directly related to piloting planes. However, having this degree will make your resume stand out because it’s generally harder to pursue compared to other courses. You will also need to complete additional flight training before getting a pilot license. Aerospace Engineering entails the study of scientific concepts such as flight dynamics, propulsion, thermodynamics, and aerodynamics, which are also crucial if you want a career in air travel.

Air Traffic Management

Contrary to popular belief, the career prospects of graduates with this degree aren’t just limited to being an air traffic controller. This degree will help you understand aviation meteorology and how to assess threats such as adverse weather, which can be useful for unexpected landings and identifying routes. You will also learn how to analyze and avoid congestion in air traffic, which is important when you’re the one piloting the aircraft. As with other aviation-related degrees on this list, this specialized degree is also beneficial for those who want to switch to other aviation jobs.


Some of us may have moved on from physics in high school, but having a degree in this field can be helpful for people intent on pursuing a pilot course. Just like Aerospace Engineering, a degree in Physics will equip you with a more scientific understanding of flight. In addition to aerodynamics and thermodynamics, you will also study other key concepts like analytical mechanics, theoretical physics, and quantum physics.

Computer Science

Another non-pilot course to consider is Computer Science. While the course is less scientific and more technical in nature, Computer Science touches on engineering aspects such as handling the airplane’s computer hardware and developing software that would help automate flight operations. In case the aviation path doesn’t work out, there are plenty of backup careers in various industries for Computer Science graduates.

Let Your Degree Take You Farther

Regardless of whether you choose to pursue an aviation-related degree or not, getting a college education will always be a good move. It’s still possible to become a pilot even with a non-aviation degree, as long as you enroll in a credible flight school. After all, cadet pilot training is designed to enable anyone to become a pilot regardless of their college degree. The most important element is the passion to pursue a career in aviation.

In any case, taking up a degree in specialized aviation fields will prepare you for potential shifts to other careers. Getting such a degree is a win for future pilots looking to get their foot in the door—in aviation and beyond.