Calling anyone who thinks they may have missed their calling to be a pilot! Did you know that there's a shortage of commercial pilots right now? That could create a sticky situation for airlines just as global demand for air travel is on the rise. One airline is taking steps today to ensure that enough pilots are available to cover routes in the years to come. Southwest Airlines is launching a cadet program called Destination 225° that will train the next generation of pilots. Southwest is working with universities, flight-training schools and charter airlines to design a comprehensive pilot-training program.

Would-be pilots who qualify to join Destination 225° will be paired with mentors and be invited to attend exclusive training activities. This will all lead up to being given the chance to eventually apply for a position at the airline. Southwest actually offers three avenues that can be used to become a pilot for the company. One training pathway is specifically for pilots who are transitioning from military service. Another pathway is designed for university students hoping to become pilots. A third pathway is for current Southwest employees who would like to become pilots.

How long does it take to become a commercial pilot with Southwest? The path is not a quick one. It will take a cadet between four years and five years to get through the program and be able to fly commercially. There are some basic requirements that must be met before an individual can be eligible to apply for the program. All applicants must be at least 18 years of age and be able to demonstrate proficiency in reading and writing. In addition, each applicant must possess at least a high school diploma, have a valid license and be authorized to work in the United States on a full-time basis. There is also one other big detail. All potential cadets must be willing to relocate to Phoenix during training.

Scott Dylan is a contributing writer at and has been to (almost) every country in North, Central and South America with nothing more than a backpack, a laptop and the desire to explore. He speaks Spanish fluently and has logged enough time in planes, trains, rideshares, buses, taxis and rickshaws to know how to rack up rewards and points to get anywhere his heart desires for pennies on the dollar. Email: