A question I often receive.
What academic qualifications are needed to become a pilot in Singapore?
To become a professional pilot, your professional pilot licences, are more important than academic achievements (A-Levels, Diploma or Degree). You could skip school, sign up for a Flying School in Singapore by the age of 16. The Student Pilot Licence (SPL)’s minimum age is 16. Start your flying training and get your Private Pilot Licence (PPL) by 17 (min age for PPL). With the PPL, you continue your training and achieve your Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) by 18. In theory, you could be a professional pilot by the age of 18 in this scenario.
However, in a competitive job market, what sets a candidate apart from another individual with the same professional pilot licence are academics achievements and previous work experiences.
While I agree that academic achievements do not indicate the maturity, professionalism or skill of a pilot (and many would argue that the academically achieved individuals seemed to be “less skilled”), the habit of looking at academic achievements has been culturally ingrained in many of our employers.
Having said that, how the potential employer perceives your value over other candidates is entirely up to you. For example, if you only had an O-Levels but achieved a CPL by the age of 18, you could market (and market aggressively) that you are an incredibly passionate individual with only one goal in life: to be an Airline Pilot. Convince them, and suddenly your lack of academic achievement has suddenly made you a better candidate.
Over the next 5-10 years, we will never know what the prevailing perception of employers will be. Companies could either move toward a culture of focusing on the academic achievements, or it could go the opposite way. We will never know.