Aviation Life Experience Credit for Pilots

  • Last Post 07 June 2013
Texbubba posted this 07 August 2012 - Last edited 26 February 2016

I have 7 years work experience as a professional airline pilot, plus 75 hours off upper level college credit in aviation classes. I have only 6 hours credit in basic Gen Ed classes. My question is which college or program can I use to earn my Bachelors Degree in anything, preferably Aviation? I just need to check the box that I have a Bachelors Degree to move on to the bigger airlines? I would like to do it as quickly and cheaply as possible. What are the best recommendations for me? Thank you.

VickyPhillips posted this 10 August 2012 - Last edited 25 October 2015

Hi Texbubba,

I've worked with many licensed pilots and aviation techs over the years.

You will want to attend a college online that will work with you to award the maximum number of college credits for your aviation training and flight hours.

SEE: Credit for life experience for great info on how and where to go to college under this option

I am not sure if the "75 hours of upper level college credit in aviation" you cite is from a college or from an assessment of college equivalency for aviation training .. In any case you will need 120 semester credits for any accredited bachelors with about half these in general education.

The "general education" portion will be where you will need to focus to document/earn most of your bachelor completion credits as your licesning/training as a pilot will/should cover most all of your major area and electives.

The program(s) I would recommend for you as a licensed pilot zooming toward bachelor completion:

1-----Thomas Edison State College - BSAST in Aviation Flight Technology

The Bachelor of Science in Applied Science and Technology (BSAST) degree in Aviation Flight Technology is limited to professionally licensed commercial pilots who hold a minimum of Commercial and Instrument ratings (Airline Transport Pilot recommended). Equivalent military training may also be considered. The degree is a 120-credit program.

For the above you will need 60 credits in general education with this distribution:

Subject Area/Category Credits I. General Education Requirements 60 A. English Composition 6 B. Humanities 12

Technical Report Writing




Humanities Electives*


C. Social Sciences 12

Psychology or Sociology


Social Science Electives*


D. Natural Sciences and Mathematics 21

College Algebra or above*




General Physics




Computer Requirement


E. General Education Electives 9

The 60 credits of general ed and electives outside aviation required by TESC will hold for most any regionally accredited bachelors degree. You MAY have some of this in work equivalency and training that you can document at TESC. Being bright you'll want to look at taking CLEPs or other exams and seeing if you have documentation that will help toward credit for logical allied areas like "tech report writing."

In any case, TESC works with scads of military and civilian pilots to help them maximize credit for career and life toward this particular degree.

You should also scope out:

2) Embry - Riddle Aeronautical University Online

This school works only with aviation professionals and has bachelor completion options related to aviation technology and business.

Have you explored either of these yet? If not, I'd start there.

If so, tell me more and I'll try and refine my suggestions....


andreaphd posted this 06 June 2013 - Last edited 06 August 2015

I would like to get into the Aviation field, I am 29 years old, so I am getting conflicting answers from the air force on age requirements to enter, does anyone know any other way that is affordable to get a pilot's license, scholarships, or an aviation degree or certificate to break into the field?

VickyPhillips posted this 07 June 2013 - Last edited 25 October 2015

Hi Andrea,

Great questions!

You'll find that online aviation degrees for pilots -- of which there are several, most notably from Thomas Edison State College online and Embry Riddle Aeronautical University Online in Florida -- require degree students to already hold pilot licenses.

These online degree programs usually help established pilots and mechanics who have earned flight or aviation licenses in the service or through private study convert their licenses into degree credit.

You want to go the other way -- and that is a challenge.

I found the FAA pages on how to become a licensed pilot helpful: GO: http://www.faa.gov/pilots/become/studentcert/

There are MANY-MANY types of pilot licenses. To earn any license you'll have to pass a medical exam, do book study AND rack up a lot of flight hours under an approved licensed aviation instructor.

Most get their training and licenses through the military OR gthey earn their flight licenses at private flight schools which are often operated at small local airports.

The FAA has a good page that explains flight schools and also has a flight school locater by state on their site.

GO: http://www.faa.gov/pilots/training/

You'll have to find a local school that has an instructor qualified to provide training and flight hours for the type of license you seek.

It is not cheap to become a pilot so your best course of action if you don't enter the military is to locate the nearest local flight schools and start asking them questions. They may have tuition reduction or assistance programs.

Most flight schools are NOT colleges and do NOT award degrees; however after you have earned a pilot or aviation license or two accredited colleges like Thomas Edison and Embry Riddle will accept your FAA pilot licenses and other aviation training course credits for degree credits toward a bachelor's in aviation.

This is an interesting question, so let us know if you have more info, leads or questions on this process. Your search will help others, I am sure.

Vicky Phillips