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This program is for individuals with the unrestricted right to live and work in the United States.

This program is for individuals with the unrestricted right to live and work in the United States.


CAE is proud to deliver the training of the Cadet pathway of the Destination 225° Program in partnership with Southwest Airlines.

Designed for both internal and external candidates, the Destination 225° Cadet pathway is an ab initio—“from the beginning”—program. If you don’t have previous experience as a pilot, this four- to five-year program is for you.

There’s no “typical candidate” for the Cadet pathway. You might be…

  • Out in the workforce and ready to make a change in your career
  • A high school or college graduate who is ready for a rewarding career
  • Transitioning out of a non-pilot role in the military

The Cadet pathway will provide the competency-based training you need as you work toward an opportunity to sit in the right seat of a Southwest® aircraft.

If you’ve ever dreamed of a career at 35,000 feet, set your course for 225°.

Course Outline

Phase 1: Ground School & Flight Training 

  • Learn the fundamentals of flight and learn to fly under a Part 61 program
  • Classroom and computer-based training (CBT) approximately 165 hours
  • Single and multi-engine flight training, aircraft and simulator training, approximately 258 hours
  • Get your Commercial Pilot License (CPL) course with instrument rating (IR) on multi engine (ME)

Phase 2:  Instructor Training: CFI/CFII Training

  • Classroom and aircraft training
  • Approximately 100 hours classroom training and 20 hours aircraft training
  • Get your Certified Flight Instructor - FAA CFI(A) License and Certified Flight Instrument Instructor - FAA CFII(A) License
Investment & Funding

For financial aid information please see

Eligibility Requirements
  • Possess a USA DOT/FAA First-Class Medical Certificate
  • Have or be able to obtain a valid passport with the ability to travel in and out of the United States
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalency
  • Possess a valid driver’s license
  • Be authorized to work in the U.S. on a full-time basis without the need for company sponsorship of an employment-based visa now or in the future
  • Be at least 18 years of age at the time of application
  • Demonstrate proficiency in reading, writing, and speaking English
  • Be able to pass the prescreening requirements needed for employment at Southwest Airlines® (e.g. drug testing and background check)
  • Be able to relocate for the duration of the program and future job opportunities
  • Demonstrate the ability to pay out-of-pocket or secure financing for the total amount of the program (more details on financing the program are available here.

Please note: The Cadet pathway is designed for someone without previous flight experience, so prior flight time does not provide any advantages during the application process or reduce the cost of training

Application & Selection Process

Once you’ve applied, your application will be carefully reviewed, and you will receive follow up communication from CAE. This process may take a few months, and we appreciate your patience as the best aspiring aviators are selected for participation in the program!

Here’s a checklist to complete as you’re awaiting communication from Southwest and CAE:

  • Obtain an FAA First-Class Medical Certificate
  • Review/prequalify for financial aid through Wells Fargo (if needed)—more info below!

If you are selected to move forward in the process, you will be expected to complete an aptitude assessment, and potentially, an in-person interview. (Candidates are responsible for all costs associated with the aptitude testing portion of the selection process.)

You’ll hear from us post-interview either way, but if you’re selected for the program, you can expect to receive a class date, Southwest Airlines letter of intent, and more information regarding the financial aid process.

Ready to set your course for 225°?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)