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

How To Become A Pilot For United 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 United Airlines.

United Airlines is a major airline in the United States and the third largest airline in the world, measured by fleet size and number of routes. Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, United flies as many as 150 million passengers each year. With 79 domestic destinations and 111 international destinations in 74 countries across six continents, United pilots have the opportunity to see the world.

United operates a fleet of 850+ aircraft, primarily a mix of Airbus and Boeing narrow-body and all Boeing widebody aircraft.

Why Become a Pilot with United 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 United 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.

United Airlines operates via a traditional hub-and-spoke model with eight domestic hubs, ORD (Chicago, IL) being the largest hub. Pilots are based at one of nine domiciles: CLE (Cleveland, OH), DEN (Denver, CO), EWR (Newark, NJ), GUM (Guam), IAD (Washington, D.C.), IAH (Houston, TX), LAX (Los Angeles, CA), ORD, and SFO (San Francisco, CA).

Pilots bid for their domiciles based on pilot seniority, and the number of opportunities at each domicile is based on demand.

With its fleet size and volume of passengers each year, United Airlines pilots are considered to be some of the best in the industry and have some of the most desirable routes in the world.

So how much do United pilots make?

Airline pilot salaries depend on a number of factors including experience and number of hours flown per month. Airline Captains and First Officers do not earn a flat annual salary. Instead, they receive an hourly wage for each flight hour flown plus a per diem. As of January 2021, all United First Officers have a starting hourly wage of $91 per hour, which will increase steadily with each year of service.

Depending on the type of aircraft you fly, United First Officer wages increase to a range of $186-$240 per hour by your twelfth year. The pay scale for United Captains starts at a range of $249-$323 per hour and increases to $272-$352 per hour by year 12.

Career benefits for United pilots include health insurance, disability and life insurance, a 401(k) retirement plan with company matching, profit sharing and bonuses, and unlimited standby travel and discounted rates on airline tickets to anywhere United flies.

Education and Career Path


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

United requires 1,500 hours total flight time in a fixed-wing aircraft or 1,000 hours in multi-engine turbine fixed-wing aircraft.

The amount of time it takes to meet United’s pilot 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 United 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 United 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 United Airlines.

AeroGuard has three 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!