How to Get a Job as a Pilot at Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines Jet

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    In this post I’ll share what it takes to become a pilot at Alaska Airlines.

    About Alaska Airlines

    Alaska Airlines traces their roots to 1932 with two companies, McGee Airways, and Star Air Service.  The two merged completely, in addition to a few smaller airlines, in 1944, to form today’s Alaska Airlines. By the end of World War 2, Alaska Air used the surplus of military aircraft to branch into worldwide charter work.

    Today, they have about 3,000 pilots and fly around 44 million customers per year. Their route spans over 115 destinations and four different countries. 

    Where is Alaska Bases?

    Alaska Airlines Jet

    What airplanes are in the Alaska Fleet?

    • Airbus A320 family
    • Boeing 737-9 MAX
    • Boeing 737-900ER (739)
    • Boeing 737-900 (739)
    • Boeing 737-800 (738)
    • Boeing 737-700 (73G)
    • Bombardier Q400 (DH4)
    • Embraer E175 

    Commemorative Aircraft 

    Alaska Air has several commemorative aircraft that they fly, such as the “Salmon Thirty Salmon” and the “Pride in the Skies Airbus” and two Disney-themed aircraft. They also sport a fleet of college-themed aircraft representing colleges such as OregonState University and Boise State.

    What are the Minimum Qualifications for Alaska Airlines pilots?

    For Alaska Airlines pilots there are two sets of requirements or minimum qualifications. There are the regulatory requirements set by the FAA, TSA, DOT, and even FCC. Then there are the individual airline requirements for the job. 

    Regulatory Requirements:

    • Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Certificate
    • Current First Class Medical Certificate
    • Radiotelephone Operator’s Permit
    • Secure Identification Display Area (SIDA) Badge eligibility
    • Successful completion of pre-employment drug test
    • Successful completion of Pilot Records Improvement Act (PRIA) evaluation

    Alaska Airlines Pilot Job Requirements:

    • A minimum of 2,000 hours total flight time in a fixed wing aircraft or 1,200 hours total flight time in a high performance military aircraft.
      • 50% of rotor-wing flight time up to 1,000 hours may be counted toward total flight time.
    • Minimum of 50 hours of flight time within the last 12 months.
    • A current First Class FAA medical certificate.
    • An FAA Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate.
    • High school diploma or equivalent.
    • Must possess a valid Driver’s License.
    • Must possess and/or obtain a current passport with unlimited access in and out of the United States. Employees with non-U.S. passports also will need any appropriate travel documentation.
    • Excellent judgment, leadership skills, demonstrated command ability and maturity.
    • Professional demeanor and appearance.
    • Proficiency with Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat, and Internet email functions.
    • Must be comfortable with a domicile in Seattle, WA; Los Angeles, CA; Anchorage, AK; Portland, OR; or San Francisco, CA.
    • Minimum 23 years of age.
    • Must be authorized to work in the U.S.
    • Ability to communicate in English.

    Alaska Airline Pilots Pay

    Unlike the other passenger airlines, Alaska Airlines pilot’s pay will NOT vary based on the plane you fly and the number of hours you fly during each bidding period. Given the factors above, the salary below should only be considered an estimate of annual pay based on available sources.

    First Officer:

    • Year 1: $78,543
    • Year 5: $133,002
    • Year 15: $151,081


    • Year 1: $191,057
    • Year 5: $198,054
    • Year 12: $225,090

    Discover pilot pay for all the major and regional airlines in the USA on our commercial pilot salary guide.

    How Do I Apply for an Alaska Airlines Pilot Job?

    If you meet all of the qualifications listed above you can visit the Alaska Airlines jobs website and create a profile. 

    The link to their job page can be found here.

    By creating a profile you enter the hiring pool for Alaska Airlines. As you continue to fly, be sure to update your profile regularly to improve your chances of being selected for an interview. Be sure you also take a look at their knowledge test outline to prepare.  There is a scheduled window of time to apply to Alaska Airlines; the company then hires from that available pool.

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