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United Airlines Pilot Program: What You Need to Know

Some people dream of becoming a pilot to fly high amongst the clouds in order to satisfy their personal sense of accomplishment and have a hobby they truly enjoy. Others dream of becoming a pilot as a career choice, gaining the skills necessary to transport cargo and passengers all around the world.  

Then, there are those individuals who want nothing more than to become commercial airline pilots with United Airlines.  

If that sounds like you, then you ought to know the details of becoming a pilot via United Airlines’ Pilot Training Program, Aviate.  

The Need for Commercial Airline Pilots 

It is no secret that there is currently a shortage regarding pilots. The FAA has a mandate in place requiring pilots to retire from flying at the age of 65. As a result, the United States is dealing with more pilots aging out of their careers and not enough coming into it to fulfill the need.  

At the same time, there is an increase in demand for air travel —- meaning that commercial air travel companies need to have more planes in the air to meet the demand, but they don’t have the pilots to make it happen.  

With the need for thousands of additional pilots, job openings tend to be plentiful for those interested in becoming commercial pilots.  

United Airlines alongside California Aeronautical University is making it easier for aviation students to help combat these struggles.  


Why Choose United Airlines’ Pilot Program?  

If you have done any sort of research into becoming a pilot, then there is a good chance that you have found a few different options for getting there. What makes the United Airlines’ Pilot Training Program different? What sets it apart from other pilot training programs?  

A Direct Career Path

If you decide that you want to fly for United Airlines in the future, then choosing the United Airlines’ Pilot Program is one of the best solutions as it offers you the most direct path to reach your goal. Successful candidates will receive a conditional job offer (CJO). 


One-on-One Coaching

Being part of the program means having access to one-on-one coaching with a United pilot for career development. This presents a great opportunity to get tips and gain growth in order to excel as a pilot and a leader for the popular airline.  


Travel Privileges

As a pilot for United Airlines, you will have access to travel privileges to many destinations around the world. 


Networking Opportunities

Your training will give you access to those who hold high positions, both pilots and non-pilots, within the United Airlines’ organization. This will allow you to engage with others, learn, and grow while opening the door to possibilities for your future.  


Flying for United Airlines 

There are so many different commercial airlines that take to the skies every single day. Choosing United Airlines for your future can come with quite a few benefits that you may or may not find elsewhere. Keep in mind that these benefits can change so it is always a good idea to confirm with the airlines directly.  

  • Competitive compensation with benefits, such as medical, dental, vision, life, accident, and disability insurance  

  • Paid holidays 

  • Travel privileges 

  • Retirement plan 


United Airlines offers a large fleet of aircraft and many different home bases for pilots, such as:  


Taking a step toward a future at United Airlines and becoming one of their approximately 700,000 aviation professionals can help you make strides in your aviation career.   


United Airlines’ Aviate Program — a Partner with CAU 

At California Aeronautical University, we have partnered with United Airlines’ Pilot Program known as Aviate. By getting accepted into our program and meeting the minimum eligibility requirements, you could be on your way to a commercial pilot career. If this is a path that interests you, the program states this is what you need to strive for:  

  • Completed two semesters of full-time coursework at CAU, pursuing (or having graduated with) an R-ATP eligibility aviation major.  

  • Maintain good standing with CAU while upholding the student code of conduct.  

  • Hold a minimum of a Private Pilot Certificate 

  • Hold a valid FAA medical certificate that was originally issued as a first or second-class medical certificate 

  • Have no more than four primary training failures 


CAU Pathway Options 

Within the program at CAU, you will work to obtain the 1,000 hours necessary to gain an R-ATP certificate before working toward the goal of reaching United Airlines as a First Officer. To do this, you will need to reach 1,200 hours as a pilot in command (PIC) in one of these two ways:   

  • Flying for United Express carriers, including CommuteAir, GoJet Airlines, or Mesa Airlines 

  • Flying for Part 135 operators: Ameriflight, JSX, Tradewind, or Wiggins Airways 


From here, you will have the opportunity to move on to a career as a commercial pilot for United Airlines. Because of the connection between the two, the transition from CAU is direct and seamless. Of course, you will have to meet a few additional requirements in order to be eligible for transition, such as:  

  • A current passport with at least six months of validity remaining at the time of employment 

  • A legal right to work in the U.S. without the need for sponsorship 

  • The ability to travel freely within the United States and without restriction to all countries served by United Airlines 

  • Meet all additional First Officer hiring requirements 


Learn More At California Aeronautical University 

At CAU, we offer fast-track, career-focused programs for those seeking a career in the aviation industry. Whether you are interested in the United Airlines’ Pilot Training Program or in any other future aviation position, our admissions team is available to guide you through the process. 

Request more information and give yourself the opportunity to take off on your career as a first officer for United Airlines. 

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