PASADENA, Texas – San Jacinto College and ExpressJet Airlines have entered into an agreement through the Airline Pilot Pathway Program, giving aviation students opportunities to earn their required flight hours and exclusive interview rights following their graduation.

"There's going to be a lot of turnover of pilots fairly quickly, and it's already starting to happen," said Mark Deschner, San Jacinto College transportation department chair. "This is a wonderful pathway that gives our students the chance to help fill the employment gaps by interviewing to work with a major airline carrier."

ExpressJet is the world’s largest regional airline with 9,000 aviation professionals, an average of 2,200 daily flights and an all-jet fleet of 388 aircraft. The airline serves more than 190 airports in the U.S., Bahamas, Canada and Mexico, according to the company's website. Granting San Jacinto College graduates interviews helps with the recruitment of skilled pilots who hold associate degrees. College degrees are considered essential for career advancement within the aviation industry.

"The associate degree is important because pilots need this to move on to a major airline," said Dan Rumley, assistant chief for ExpressJet Airlines in Houston. Rumley added that pilots are in demand due to the 30 to 40 pilot vacancies that become available per month nationwide. Approximately 19,000 pilots are projected to retire from the regional airline industry over the next seven years, according to Matthew Applegate, first officer and pilot recruiter with ExpressJet. 

"This type of partnership creates a better educational and career pipeline for everyone involved," said Rumley. "We also find that we get better quality pilots when they're coming from training programs at schools like San Jacinto College."

The aviation program at San Jacinto College offers programs for both an associate degree and certificate of technology. For more information, visit

About San Jacinto College

Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.

For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, visit, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.