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Do you need a degree to be a flight attendant?

Quick Answer

No, you do not need a college degree to become a flight attendant in most cases. The minimum education requirement for most major airlines in the U.S. is a high school diploma or GED. However, having a college degree can make you a more competitive candidate. Many flight attendants have bachelor’s or associate’s degrees in various fields.

What Are the Education Requirements to Be a Flight Attendant?

The minimum education required to become a flight attendant for most airlines in the United States is a high school diploma or GED. Here are the standard education requirements for some major U.S. airlines:

Airline Minimum Education Requirement
American Airlines High school diploma or GED
Delta Air Lines High school diploma or GED
United Airlines High school diploma or GED
Southwest Airlines High school diploma or GED
JetBlue High school diploma or GED
Alaska Airlines High school diploma or GED

As you can see, most major U.S. airlines do not require attendants to have a college education. Applicants simply need to have completed high school or passed the GED exam.

However, some smaller regional airlines may prefer or require flight attendants to have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Having a degree can make you a more competitive applicant, even when it’s not required.

Also, flight attendants who want to advance into management positions will generally need a college education. Many airlines require supervisors, managers and training instructors to have associate’s or bachelor’s degrees.

So in summary, you do not need a college degree to start working as a flight attendant. But having one can improve your job prospects.

Should You Get a Degree to Become a Flight Attendant?

Pursuing higher education can benefit those aspiring to flight attendant careers in several ways:

– **Makes you a more competitive candidate** – Airlines get hundreds or even thousands of applications for open flight attendant roles. Having a degree on your resume can help you stand out.

– **Gives you skills airlines want** – Courses in areas like communications, hospitality and customer service teach skills needed to excel as a flight attendant.

– **Allows you to advance your career** – Earning a degree gives you qualifications needed to move up into management and training positions.

– **Provides a backup plan** – If you later decide to transition out of flying, having a degree will give you more career options.

However, a college education isn’t required to succeed as a flight attendant. Some pros of jumping right into the career after high school include:

– **Start earning sooner** – No need to spend years earning a degree that isn’t mandatory for the job.

– **Avoid education expenses** – Paying for college can mean taking on student loan debt.

– **Gain experience first** – Airline training programs teach the key skills needed for the role.

So it’s an individual choice whether to pursue a degree before becoming a flight attendant. If you have the time and resources for college, the investment can pay off. But you can certainly get hired and excel without a degree.

What College Majors Are Best for Flight Attendants?

While flight attendants don’t need specific degrees, certain college majors can provide useful knowledge. Degrees in these majors often appeal to airlines:

– **Hospitality or Tourism Management** – These majors teach principles of customer service, a key part of the flight attendant role. Relevant courses cover topics like communications, conflict resolution and catering.

– **Business Administration or Management** – A business degree helps build leadership, organizational and interpersonal skills. These are essential for crew management and providing excellent service.

– **Communications or Journalism** – Strong communication abilities are vital for flight attendants. Courses in these majors hone speaking, writing and listening aptitudes.

– **Foreign Languages** – Fluency in languages besides English can aid communication with diverse passengers. Knowledge of prevalent global languages is an asset.

– **Emergency Management** – Learning emergency protocols and crisis response helps flight attendants handle medical and security situations. Related minors include safety or health fields.

Any major can qualify you for the role, however. Airlines mainly want to see you have a good educational foundation. Even degrees in liberal arts, social sciences or education provide useful transferable skills.

Should You Get an Associate’s or Bachelor’s Degree?

When deciding on education as a flight attendant candidate, is it better to get a 2-year associate’s degree or a 4-year bachelor’s degree? Here’s a quick rundown of the differences:

Associate’s Degree

– Typically takes 2 years of full-time study to complete

– Often offered at community or technical colleges

– Focuses on introductory courses in a field of study

– Credits usually transfer to bachelor’s program later

– Usually more affordable option than bachelor’s degree

– Qualifies you for entry-level roles in field

Bachelor’s Degree

– Typically takes 4 years of full-time study to complete

– Offered at colleges and universities

– Includes advanced courses and field specialization

– Considered minimum for management careers

– More expensive but offers more earning potential

– Preferred by employers for higher level positions

For flight attendants, an associate’s degree is sufficient to begin working and provides a good foundation of skills. A bachelor’s degree can help ramp up your expertise and open up career growth opportunities.

Consider your career goals and budget when deciding which path is better. Any postsecondary education is beneficial when aiming for a flight attendant job.

What are Some Good Degrees for Flight Attendants?

Though no specific degrees are required, these are some examples of good college majors for flight attendant candidates:

– Bachelor of Science in Aviation – Covers aviation safety, security, regulations and operational knowledge.

– Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management – Builds customer service, communications and business operations skills.

– Bachelor of Arts in Tourism Management – Focuses on delivering excellent travel experiences.

– Associate of Applied Science in Hospitality Management – 2-year degree with hospitality industry fundamentals.

– Associate of Applied Science in Travel & Tourism – Introduces tourism industry principles and vocational skills.

– Bachelor of Arts in Language Studies – Develops proficiency in one or more foreign languages.

– Bachelor of Science in Emergency Management – Teaches response tactics for crises and disasters.

Any bachelor’s or associate’s programs that enhance your communication abilities, customer service skills and operational experience can give you an edge.

Do Airlines Prefer Flight Attendants with Degrees?

Most U.S. airlines don’t necessarily prefer degree-holding candidates when hiring flight attendants. As long as you meet the minimum education requirements, having a degree isn’t vital.

However, some airlines do indicate that having a postsecondary degree can be favorable. Here are a few examples:

– **JetBlue** – While they require only a high school education, JetBlue states that degree holders “will receive special consideration.”

– **Alaska Airlines** – A degree is not required, but Alaska notes candidates with degrees have “increased competitiveness.”

– **Delta Air Lines** – Delta encourages professional education and says applicants with degrees stand out.

– **American Airlines** – American doesn’t mandate a degree, but says candidates with one may have “a competitive edge.”

Additionally, prospective flight attendants who complete aviation, travel or airline-related educational programs can have an advantage. This shows dedication to the industry.

So while not obligatory, airline recruiters often favor applicants who have pursued higher education and training. Completing college courses exhibits motivation and a well-rounded skill set.


A college education is not required to start a career as a flight attendant. You can get hired by completing high school and airline-provided training. But pursuing a degree can certainly enhance your resume and job prospects.

Fields like hospitality, business, communications and foreign languages offer relevant skills for the role. Whether you earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, the additional education can help you stand out.

While airlines don’t exclusively hire candidates with degrees, they often give preference to those with postsecondary qualifications. If you have the time and means, completing college courses shows commitment and expands your knowledge base for a flight attendant position.