How To Become A Delta Airlines Pilot - AeroGuard Flight Training Center - AeroGuard

How To Become A Pilot For Delta Airlines

Are you considering a career as a professional pilot?

Here’s what you need to know if you want to become a pilot for Delta Airlines.

Delta Air Lines is one of the world’s oldest airlines in operation. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, Delta is a major airline in the United States and a legacy carrier. Delta flies as many as 200 million passengers each year to 325 destinations in 52 countries on six continents.

With a fleet of 865 commercial aircraft made by Airbus and Boeing, Delta operates the largest airline fleet in the world.

Why Become a Pilot with Delta Airlines?


As you may know, the U.S. is in the midst of a pilot shortage. With an aging workforce, an FAA-mandated retirement age of 65, and an ever-increasing demand for air travel, major airlines like Delta are expected to be short as many as 8,000 pilots by 2023. The good news is that with so many open positions, pilot salaries and bonuses are rising and there has never been a better time to enter the aviation industry as a new pilot.

Delta Air Lines operates via a traditional hub-and-spoke model with nine domestic hubs. Delta is a member of the SkyTeam alliance along with 18 other international affiliate airlines. With more than 50 international destinations, Delta pilots have the opportunity to see the world and fly some of the world’s largest passenger aircraft. Delta pilots are based at one of seven domiciles: ATL (Atlanta, GA), DTW (Detroit, MI), LAX (Los Angeles, CA), MSP (Minneapolis-Saint Paul, MN), NYC (New York City), SEA (Seattle, WA), and SLC (Salt Lake City, UT).

As the one of the leading carriers in the world, Delta Airlines serves some of most desirable locations for pilots who are interested in transcontinental routes and want to take advantage of the opportunity for international travel. Pilots bid for their domiciles based on seniority, and the number of opportunities at each domicile is based on demand.

So how much do Delta pilots make?

As of March 2022, all Delta first officers have a starting hourly wage of $92 per hour, which will increase steadily with each year of service. Depending on the type of aircraft you fly, Delta first officer wages increase to a range of $175-$242 per hour by your twelfth year. The pay scale for Delta captains starts at a range of $251-$325 per hour and increases to $256-$354 per hour by year 12, again, depending on the type of aircraft you fly.

Career benefits for Delta pilots include comprehensive health insurance with flexible spending account, disability and life insurance, employee profit-sharing, 401(k) retirement plans with company matching, complimentary gym membership, and free or discounted air travel for employees and their families as well as a limited number of buddy passes.

Education and Career Path


In order to become an Delta pilot, you must earn a Commercial Pilot License, build the required amount of flight experience, and then earn an Airline Transport Pilot License.

Delta requires a total documented flight time of 1,500, though they frequently hire pilots with significantly more experience. They also consider factors such as your quality, quantity, recency, and verifiability of training; complexity of aircraft flown; types of flight operations experienced; and hours flown as Pilot in Charge in turbine-powered aircraft.

The amount of time it takes to meet Delta’s requirements depends on how long it takes you to complete each step of the training process.

A good flight training program sets the groundwork for your career as you build the skills, experience, knowledge, and confidence you need to become a pilot at an airline.

With an accelerated flight training program, a student pilot starting with zero experience can expect to earn the required certifications and build the necessary flight hours to begin training for their Airline Transport Pilot License within 2 years. By following a carefully optimized syllabus, a student pilot will graduate with the following: Private Pilots License, Instrument Rating, Commercial Pilot License Single Engine, Commercial Pilot License Multi Engine, Certified Flight Instructor, Certified Flight Instructor Instrument, Multi Engine Flight Instructor.

Flight school graduates typically begin their pilot career as a first officer at a regional airline such as AeroGuard’s partner SkyWest Airlines, where they work their way up to captain by accruing flight experience as Pilot in Command. Pilot seniority will play an important role in your ability to quickly move up in regional airlines, which is why choosing a flight school that offers immediate seniority is critical.

After serving as Captain of a regional airline and meeting the Delta Airlines minimum requirements, you are eligible to apply for First Officer, and begin your career with one of the best airlines in the U.S.

The AeroGuard Advantage


Whether you have your sights set on a career with Delta Airlines or another major airline, AeroGuard’s Pilot Pathway Program is a great way to start your journey.

A full-time, accelerated pilot training program, the Pilot Pathway Program is designed to take students from zero experience to regional airline-ready in as little as two years. By partnering with SkyWest Airlines, the program offers a streamlined path from flight training, to building flight experience, to a job as a regional airline pilot, all in one place.

Our SkyWest partnership offers many unique advantages for students, including an innovative curriculum, mentor workshops, opportunities to network with SkyWest professionals, and a guaranteed First Officer interview with SkyWest.

Following acceptance, you will have some of the highest seniority in your class and the training and experience you will need for a long and successful career. SkyWest pilots are highly regarded in the industry and in addition to guaranteed First Officer Interviews for AeroGuard graduates, SkyWest offers it’s qualified Captains guaranteed interviews with 4 Major Airline partners, including Delta Airlines.

AeroGuard has four flight school locations across the United States, strategically chosen for their ideal flight conditions, air complexity and proximity to city centers that offer a high quality of living : Phoenix, AZ; Chandler, AZ and Austin, TX.

The AeroGuard Pilot Pathway Program is available at all four locations. Whichever AeroGuard campus you choose, you can expect a focused and professional flight training environment with ample flying days to accelerate your flight training.

If you’re ready to make the move and start your new career path with AeroGuard, contact us and speak with one of our enrollment advisors today.

Begin Your Career Today!