Southwest Airlines Pilot Requirements

Put some action behind your plans when your ambition is to work as an airline pilot. Paragon Flight can help you prepare to meet Southwest Airlines’ and others’ requirements for pilot applicants. Our Professional Pilot Program, also known as the P3 Program, provides an accelerated training program that will facilitate the acquisition of a commercial license with flight instructor certification in 38 weeks, compared to more than two years with other courses of study.

Southwest Pilot Candidate Details

Southwest Airlines Pilot RequirementsSouthwest posts updated pilot openings each seventh of the month. Navigate to and apply to be the first officer to receive consideration when positions are open. If your application is advanced to the interview process, the company will contact you with requests for documentation as needed.

First Officer Qualification Requirements:

  • Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Certificate with the following displayed:
    • Category and Class Rating – Airplane Multiengine Land.
    • Limitation – English Proficient.
  • First Class Medical Certificate
    • Any Special Issuance of a Medical Certificate or Statement of Demonstrated Ability as needed.
  • Flight Experience
    • Preferable: 500 hours in a fixed-wing turbine aircraft OR competition of a Destination 225° pathway program.
    • Preferable: active in aviation for two years out of the prior five years.

First Officer Training at Southwest

When hired, Southwest First Officers participate in about two months of training in Dallas at the LEAD (Leadership, Education, and Aircrew Development) Center. Training will come with covered accommodation costs, including transportation to and from the center, total pay, and benefits.

A First Officer’s Initial 12 Months at Southwest

  • Day One – mentor matchup-up and celebratory welcome dinner
  • First 50 Days – Initial Training Period
      • Complete check ride for Boeing 737 Type Rating
    • 25+ Flight Hours – Initial Operating Experience
      • Build Line Flying experience in the cockpit with a Check Pilot
  • 30 Days – On-Line Flying
      • Transition to the line with experience on the flying line for the first month
  • Four Month Mark – acquainted with Chief Pilot
  • Six Month Mark – First Officer Leadership course
      • Two days focused on CRM/RRM, Safety data and trends, and Senior Leadership meetings.
  • Nine Month Mark – meeting with Chief Pilot
      • Discuss preparation for the check ride.
  • Eleven Month Mark – complete first AQP check ride.
  • One Year Mark – observe Southwest’s anniversary and receive a second-year raise in compensation.

P3 Professional Pilot Program at Paragon Flight

The P3 Program here at Paragon Flight is meant to help ambitious and driven students who want to become airline pilots. Participation will allow you to progress from no experience to professional status with flight instructor certification within 38 weeks.

0-10 Weeks – Private Pilot License (PPL) – This is a foundational course for aviation training that provides best practices, develops good habits, and allows pilots to operate single-engine aircraft in clear conditions.

11-18 Weeks – Instrument Flight Rating (IFR) – A course designed to train pilots using communication and navigation equipment in non-visual conditions.

19-30 Weeks – Commercial License, Single-Engine & Multi-Engine (CSEL/CMEL) –Designed for pilots to work professionally as a single-engine and multi-engine plane, required to accept compensation.

31-38 Weeks – Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) – This program prepares commercial pilots to work as flight instructors, a position that allows them to accumulate flight hours and improve their skills.

Click here if you’re ready to sign up for the Paragon Flight P3 Program and jumpstart your journey to meeting Southwest Airlines pilot requirements.