For a lot of people thinking about becoming a flight attendant, one of the most common questions is this: Do I need a college degree to be a flight attendant?
A college degree is not required to be a flight attendant. Having a bachelor’s degree does give you an advantage in your career as a flight attendant since some airlines give preferred treatment to those with more education. It also gives you more options for later on in your career if you decide to pivot to a different job in the aviation industry.
Related: What are the requirements to be a flight attendant?
Advantages of Having a College Degree
Although it isn’t required, having a degree will give you several advantages in your career.
Competitive Advantage: When it comes time to start applying for flight attendant jobs, those with education tend to have a slight advantage over those without it. Airlines prefer someone with at least some college experience. If you meet all the requirements for the job and interview well, you can get around this, but it does still help if you have more education that the other applicants.
More Career Options: Once you’re working as a flight attendant you might find that you want to move up within the airline. Examples could include becoming a manager of flight attendants, training opportunities, and other management opportunities within the airline or aviation industry.
Some of these positions will include a requirement of having a college degree. If you already have one, you’ll be set. If not, you might find yourself going to school later in life to earn that degree you skipped early on.
Disadvantages of Working Towards a College Degree
There are several reasons why someone who does not currently have a college degree would want to skip it altogether and go straight to being a flight attendant. Here are some of them:
The Cost: Earning a bachelor’s degree can cost between $40,000 and $200,000. It’s not a small amount of money and most people would love to avoid spending (or borrowing) that kind of money if it’s not required.
Tine Commitment: Earning a college degree takes a lot of time and hard work. As a full time student, you can assume earning a degree can take 4-5 years. It will also include taking a lot of classes that don’t in any way apply to being a flight attendant.
If you are looking to become a flight attendant and don’t already have a college degree, it makes sense you would go straight to applying for jobs instead of spending 4-5 years in school.
Flight Attendant School
One option that people interested in becoming a flight attendant have is going to a school that offers a specific program for flight attendants. These schools usually only take a matter of weeks or months to complete compared to the 4 years needed to complete a bachelor’s degree.
Also, many of these schools have agreements with airlines to help you get hired once you are done with the program. This can help open doors and get you interviews that you would not otherwise have access to.
Here are a couple of resources we’ve put together so you can learn more about flight attendant schools:
Attending one of these schools is not a requirement and you can get hired without attending one. But, if you are young in your career and don’t yet have the experience to land an interview on your own, you should consider attending.
“Preferred” vs. Required?
If you’ve looked at job postings for flight attendant schools, you might have noticed that some of the airlines list having a college degree as being “preferred” but not required.
How should you interpret this?
Having a college degree shows the airline that you spend the time and worked hard to complete a college program. It shows dedication and your ability to dedicate yourself to accomplishing a goal.
If there are a number of applicants that meet the requirements and interview well, then the ones with more educational experience might have an advantage.
However, that does not mean that if you don’t have a degree you can’t get hired. In fact, you can even beat out those with more education if you can show during the interview process that you will make a better flight attendant than the others interviewing.
For that reason, my advice would be to spend time preparing for those interviews and make sure you are ready to crush it! Prepare the answers to the questions you expect to be asked, make sure your appearance is professional, and make sure you do all the things they expect from a future top performing flight attendant (have energy, smile, make eye contact, etc.)
Having a bachelor’s degree is definitely not a requirement for becoming a flight attendant. As you can see, it does offer some advantages depending on your career goals.
If you already have a degree and want to become a flight attendant, having a degree is an advantage you’ll have over other applicants. If you don’t have a degree and want to become a flight attendant, you can still do so. Just make sure you meet all the other requirements and prepare well for the interview process. Airlines love hiring new flight attendants that are outgoing, hardworking, and professional.
Related: Guide to passing the flight attendant interview