It takes ambition to become a professional pilot. If you have the passion, Cadet Academy provides everything else.

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Prospective pilots with little or no flight experience can now begin their career track without the complexity and uncertainty traditionally associated with flight training.

In the American Airlines Cadet Academy, you will train with one of our carefully selected flight schools and be paired with an American Airlines pilot mentor to walk with you through the program. Our dedicated program lenders, American Airlines Federal Credit Union and Discover™ Student Loans, can help simplify the financial aspect of your training.

Most importantly, upon program completion, AA’s three wholly owned regional carriers (Envoy, PSA, and Piedmont) will offer you a guaranteed interview. If hired by one of these regional airlines, you are well on your way to working at American Airlines. American Airlines has contractual flow-through agreements with each of these carriers, which means you will transfer directly to American Airlines, once your seniority accrues. If your ultimate goal is to be an American Airlines pilot, the American Airlines Cadet Academy is a great place to start.

Acceptance into this program does not constitute an offer of employment from American Airlines or any of its subsidiaries, nor does it guarantee loan funding.

Eligibility requirements

You must:

  • Be legally eligible to work in the United States.
  • Be 21 years old by the completion of the approximately three year program.
  • Have a high school diploma or GED.
  • Be able to obtain an FAA Physical (first class medical).
  • Be able to obtain a valid passport with the ability to travel in and out of the United States.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in reading, writing, and speaking English.
  • Pass a background check.
Career progression

Once accepted into the Cadet Academy, you will follow a carefully choreographed flight training track, where you will learn the skills to become a safe and competent aviator.

After you complete your training, you will have the opportunity to interview at American’s three regional subsidiary airlines. If you are hired, you will benefit from our unique flow-through agreement.

This means you will be offered a job as an American Airlines First Officer once your company seniority allows you to move (flow) up.

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Program costs

Flight training can be expensive, but Cadet Academy simplifies the process of obtaining financing and allows for repayment over time.

American Airlines will work with you and one of our program lenders (American Airlines Credit Union or Discover Student Loans) to obtain a school-certified loan to fund your training from start to finish. You must meet general qualifications and certain credit requirements to qualify for the loan. Your payments are deferred through your training process as long as you maintain satisfactory academic progress. Every ground and flight course, maps, exams, and all required materials are accounted for in the tuition cost, allowing you to focus on training.

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Application process


Submit an application – application will include an online assessment and essay questions


Top applicants will be asked to submit a video interview


Select candidates will be invited to DFW for further testing and face-to-face interviews

Have questions? We have answers

See our full list of frequently asked questions and answers »