Back in the day yes. But then a regional airline with a pilot who had failed several check rides (not a cool thing to do in the piloting world) and wasnt fired made some really stupid mistakes and crashed the plane on approach, killing all on board and 1 in a house. Congress...in its wisdom and pressured by the families to "think of the children" changed the laws to require all these little regional jet pilots, even the FO (co-pilot) to have an ATP. An ATP requires 1500hrs of flight time. You used to get your commercial certificate (min 250hrs in the US) and go fly checks, auto parts, Flight instruct, sky divers, banners, etc...for a while and get a few hundred more hours. Get on a regional fly for a while get your ATP and hopefully move onto a major. Now you have to get to 1500hrs to get hired at a regional, thats why they keep talking about a pilot shortage the last couple years. NOW...a commercial pilot with 250-300hrs can have a hard time getting on even at a drop zone....i see jobs posted and because of insurance they really want 500hrs flight time.... So think about that...overseas you can have a FO flying right seat in a passenger jet....and he couldnt even get a job flying a single engine plane full of skydivers in the US.