The SkillBridge Program: Any veteran can become an airline pilot
Veterans know firsthand the challenges of transitioning from military service to civilian life. The Skillbridge program, which is a Department of Defense (DoD) initiative, has been a valuable resource for many veterans in making that transition, especially to airline jobs.
The Skillbridge program allows active-duty service members to participate in civilian flight training during their last 180 days of military service. This program is designed to help service members gain valuable skills and experience in aviation before separating from active duty.
To use the Skillbridge program for flight training, you would need to meet the following requirements:
- Be within 180 days of separation from active duty service
- Obtain approval from your military command
- Find a flight training program that is approved by the DOD and willing to participate in the Skillbridge program
- Apply for the training program through the Skillbridge website
Once you have met these requirements and been accepted into a flight training program, you will be able to receive training while still receiving your military pay and benefits.
When most servicemembers hear about the Skillbridge program, they are skeptical. They aren't sure how it could work and if it would be beneficial for their specific financial situation. It's important for servicemembers to do their own research, and talk to other veterans who had participated in SkillBridge. It's also important to understand that SkillBridge can be combined with a veteran's GI Bill benefits and loans to reduce or eliminate any up-front costs for flight training.
The process of participating in the Skillbridge program is relatively straightforward. Veterans have to get approval from their command to participate in the program, and then find an employer willing to send an offer letter.
During a veteran's time in the program, they will continue to receive my military pay and benefits, which can be a huge relief. Veterans in SkillBridge don't have to worry quite so much about finances while trying to transition to civilian life.
The experience gained through the Skillbridge program can be invaluable. Not only do veterans gain practical flight skills and experience, but they also make valuable connections with other professionals in the industry. These connections are incredibly helpful for future applications and interviews at airlines.
Skillbridge is highly recommended for any service member who is nearing the end of their military service. It is an excellent resource for transitioning to civilian life and can open up many opportunities for veterans.
Thanks to the Skillbridge program, hundreds of veterans have hit the ground running in their civilian aviation careers.
Flex Air is a veteran-owned Department of Defense SkillBridge flight school.