Why fly

Some pilots have always wanted to fly. They came from a family of pilots. They knew their calling. Others became pilots because they dreamed of a bigger future for themselves and their families. For others, the dream to fly came from a bold move to leave established careers and a desire for a different perspective. Other pilots arrived at American wanting to continue their dream of flying after serving our country. Pilots, just like dreams, come to American from countless starting points. From countless stories.

So, what’s your story? What do you dream of?

See your career path

Career Flight Path

The flight path is simple no matter where you start – with or without your license, little or a lot of experience.

Beginning Marker


Learn to Fly

Learn to fly

The first step in beginning a career as a pilot is to complete initial flight training. With the Cadet Academy, you will join other cadets to train at one of our trusted partner schools. Your initial flight training will include the following licenses and ratings:

  • private pilot
  • instrument rating
  • commercial pilot
  • multi-engine rating
  • certified flight instructor
  • certified flight instructor -instrument



Paid to fly

Build Time

Build time

You will then build the necessary flight hours in order to be hired by a regional airline. Most cadets build hours by becoming a certified flight instructor, where you can get paid to teach others how to fly.



Transition to Airlines

Fly for a Regional Airline

Fly for a Regional Airline

Once you reach 1,500 total flight hours you will be eligible to join one of American Airlines Group wholly-owned regional airlines: Envoy, Piedmont, and PSA. These regionals have a contractual flow agreement with AmericanAirlines guaranteeing you a First Officer position with American Airlines.



Gain Experience

Fly for American Airlines

Fly for American Airlines

Most new hires to American come directly from our regional partners. But it’s not the $90K average salary their first year that makes American the destination for new hires. It’s the chance to pilot the largest aircraft to the most destinations globally, while being supported by the largest airline in the world.

$135 - $235K

$135 – $235K+

Become a Captain

End Marker


The View from the Left Seat

At American, the view from the captain’s seat means more than a high-paying job with a stable financial future. It means more than a flexible schedule where you work an average of 14 days a month and travel for free. It means belonging to the world’s largest community of aviators. It means a view of the world most will never see. Reaching the captain’s seat means people look to you to lead the way.

The left seat is open to anyone. How will you make it yours?

See your pay


Select each role on the chart to learn more.