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Pilot Career Path

There has been a lot in the news the past few years regarding the global pilot shortage, especially since post-pandemic travel surpassed pre-pandemic levels. It’s true: the industry still has a vast need for qualified airline pilots. So for those of you looking at pilot jobs, you may wonder how you can become a pilot. The good news is that there are several avenues for pursuing a pilot career. Here are ways you can become an airline pilot with Republic Airways.

Starting From Scratch at LIFT Academy

Even if you have no flying experience, LIFT Academy will train qualified applicants to become commercial airline pilots with a defined pathway to Republic Airways. LIFT is a flight training school owned and operated by Republic that was created specifically to address the pilot shortage and to offer an attainable and affordable pathway to a pilot career. With our original location in Indianapolis adjacent to the Indianapolis International Airport, and a second location that opened in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in 2023, students now have even more options for industry-leading training.

Initial training at LIFT can be completed in as little as 18 months. After that, LIFT offers three pathways to complete training and earn the required flight hours to move onto First Officer:

  • The Republic Airways Career Pathway Program. Continue at LIFT as a Certificated Flight Instructor, or CFI. This gives you the opportunity to earn money as a flight instructor to other LIFT students while continuing to build your flight hours. Once you have the FAA-mandated 1500 hours plus all other requirements, you have a guaranteed interview with Republic as First Officer.
  • Cape Air Partnership. LIFT has partnered with Cape Air to have qualified LIFT graduates fly as a First Officer for Cape Air, earning their flight hours taking passengers to Cape Air destinations. Again, once the required flight hours and other requirements have been achieved, students who choose this pathway will also have a guaranteed interview with Republic as a Captain.
  • College Partnership Program. For those individuals looking to earn an Associate degree and their flight ratings, LIFT has partnered with several colleges to help you earn that degree and have a defined pathway to a pilot job at Republic.

First Officer

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the right seat – the seat a First Officer occupies in the flight deck. Republic First Officers enjoy many benefits, including the opportunity to work from one of our 10 U.S. base locations, fly the world’s largest all-Embraer 170/175 fleet, efficient training programs in our new state-of-the-art training facility and much more. But best of all, your pilot career path to becoming Captain has a faster track at Republic with several options available. Republic offers pilots alternative pathways to work their way to the left seat as well as defined programs to move to one of our three codeshare partners (American, Delta and United) faster.

We offer three programs that can put your pilot career on the path to Captain more efficiently than traditional methods:

  • Delta Ready Pilot Pathway. A program designed to move Captain-ready pilots to the mainlines faster, Republic First Officers who choose to participate in the Delta Ready career pathway program will receive immersive training and enjoy virtual and in-person experiences with Republic and Delta leadership, culminating in a guaranteed interview for qualified pilots and a successful transition to Delta after 24 months of their captain residency.
  • United Ready Pilot Pathway. Structured very similarly to the Delta Ready program, this option is designed to lead to a position as Captain at United Airlines.
  • Cape Air JumpStart Pilot Pathway. For those pilots who prefer to stay with a regional airline (and why not, Republic is one of the largest and best in the U.S.!), Cape Air and Republic have created a program for qualified pilots dedicated to achieving their goal of becoming a Captain. The program includes the ability to earn up to a $100,000 upgrade bonus.


Whether you’ve earned your four stripes through one of Republic’s programs or joined as a Direct-Entry Captain from another airline, your opportunities are elevated at Republic. We have the BEST work rules in the industry, flight privileges around the world for you and your family, outstanding benefits and better work/life balance.

Pilot jobs are plentiful—what are you waiting for? LIFT Academy accepts students as young as 18 years old and welcomes career changers, current/former military and anyone who has a desire and aptitude to pursue an exciting pilot career. Start your aviation journey today. Before you know it, you’ll hear yourself saying “Welcome aboard, this is your captain speaking!”