How To Become A Pilot

Last Updated on December 28, 2022

Learn how to become a pilot with step by step information on everything from your initial training through to working as a commercial pilot. Get the latest information about the various airline careers available today and find out what it takes to become a pilot with write ups from people who work in the airlines themselves. Get more information regarding How To Become A Pilot, how to become a pilot salary, how to become a pilot in the philippines, how to become a pilot in pakistan & subject requirements to become a pilot.

Acquiring the right information on the internet can be difficult at times, that’s why we provide with the latest information on qualifications to become a pilot. Keep on reading to find out more.

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how to become a pilot in Canada, how long does it take to become a pilot, pilot salary, subject requirements to become a pilot, how to become a pilot in South Africa, qualifications to become a pilot, and so much more. 

How To Become A Pilot

How to Become a Commercial Pilot

Steps You Take To Become A Pilot

Step 1

Research Pilot Schools: The first step to become a private or commercial pilot is to research your flight training options. Learn and compare available programs offered by flight schools, and pick the best match for your aviation goals.

Step 2

Take an Introductory Training Flight: Successfully completing an Introductory Training Flight is required before enrolling in a pilot training program. This flight lesson will help you see first-hand the training, aircraft, and quality of instruction a flight school will offer you. It is also a great way to get a better sense of what it’s like to fly from behind the controls.

Step 3

Apply for FAA Medical Certificate: Pilots must meet basic medical requirements to fly. If you want to fly professionally, you must meet higher medical standards than recreational pilots and should apply for a first class medical certificate through an Aeromedical Examiner (AME).

Step 4

Apply for FAA Student Pilot Certificate: Apply for a student pilot certificate through the FAA’s Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) website (your flight instructor can help with this). While you don’t need a student pilot certificate to start flying lessons, you will need it to fly solo during your training.

Step 5

Start Flight Training Lessons: Start taking flight training lessons and begin working towards obtaining the aeronautical knowledge and pilot training experience requirements needed to become a private pilot.

Step 6

Pass Private Pilot Knowledge Test: During your private pilot flight training, you will need to take and pass the computer-based FAA private pilot knowledge test. To be eligible for the test, you must receive an endorsement from your flight instructor.

Step 7

Pass Private Pilot Practical Exam: The final step in earning your FAA private pilot certificate is to take a practical exam with a Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE). This exam consists of both an oral and a flight portion, and once completed you will be a private pilot.

Qualifications Required To Become A Pilot

To get your ATPL, you’ll need to train with an aviation academy or flight school.

The qualifications required to begin your pilot training may depend on the academy or school you train with. Go directly to the flight school or the employer to see what they say.

We have focused on what the aviation training services provider CAE says is needed, which is typical for flight schools.

How Much Do Pilots Make?

While pilot salaries vary dramatically based on industry, geography, and experience, the average individual in this profession earns an impressive $140,340 annually. In general, pilots start out earning around $65,690. Individuals in the private sector can expect to make about $111,800, while military pilots earn $86,874.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Pilot?

Outlined here is how long it will take you to become a pilot in the fast track, accelerated Airline Career Pilot Program &emdash; ATP’s complete pilot training solution.

Starting from Zero TimeStarting with Credit for Private
Private Pilot3 Months
Commercial Pilot4 Months4 Months
Certified Flight Instructor2 Months2 Months
Total Duration9 Months6 Months

Earning Seniority

Once hired by an airline, the only way to earn seniority and eventual promotion to captain is to put in the time. Because airlines naturally want their most experienced pilots to be the ones captaining their jets, expect to spend several years as a first officer. Once you are promoted to captain, be prepared to put in more time before earning the most preferred schedules. Expect to earn seniority by flying at night and on weekends.

Common Skills Required To Become A Pilot

To start on your journey, here are some of the requirements to begin training as a pilot:

  • Personal qualities: a passion for flight, motivation and ambition, self-discipline, technical aptitude, tolerance of pressure, maturity for your age, and spatial awareness.
  • Completed secondary education: budding pilots are required to have completed secondary education (high school), ideally achieving a pass in English, mathematics and physics at GCSE.
  • Medical certification: you’ll need an examination to test your hearing, eyesight, coordination, and overall health. Upon successful completion, you will receive a valid Class 1 Medical Certificate. All pilots are required to have this certificate throughout their flying careers. 
  • Age, nationality eligibility and entry requirements: you may apply from the age of 17 but can only begin training as of 18. Depending on your programme of interest, you must be eligible to live in the country your training programme takes place in.
  • Assessment: assessment involving computer-based aptitude testing, personality questionnaires, teamwork exercises, and competency-based interviews identifies individuals who are most likely to succeed in pilot training and who are suitable for a career an airline pilot.

What Does a Pilot Do?

The job of pilot probably seems pretty straightforward; pilots are the people who fly planes, right? In fact, a pilot’s duties are varied and complex. Along with operating aircraft during take-off and landing, pilots assess plane components, evaluate fuel supplies and weather conditions, and communicate with air traffic control. They may work for major airlines or operate commercial planes, where tasks include crop dusting and taking aerial photography. Additionally, many pilots are part of the U.S. military, where they fly in missions nationally and overseas. 

how to study to become a pilot

How to Become an Airline Pilot – Steps, Eligibility, & Requirements / ATP  Flight School

Pilots have the opportunity to travel the world, seeing exotic places and meeting a variety of people. If you want to spend your days at 40,000 feet, you might be wondering what steps you’ll need to take to achieve this goal. For example, should you go to college or join the military? And when can you start accumulating your flight hours? Keep reading to discover the steps you can take now to increase your odds of earning your pilot’s wings down the line.

High School

At minimum, most employers require pilots to have a high school diploma or the equivalent. However, you can boost your odds of landing a job in this field by focusing on your math classes in high school. After all, airline pilots have to be able to calculate distances and measurements on the fly. 

Additionally, aspiring pilots should take steps to improve their communication skills. By studying public speaking, you show you have the ability to give directions to passengers, flight attendants, and your fellow pilots. Foreign language skills can also be important, especially if you plan to fly internationally. It’s a good idea to start gaining proficiency in foreign languages as early as possible. 

In terms of extracurriculars, high schoolers interested in an aviation career should consider joining clubs and societies that showcase their leadership skills while proving they’re team players. Some good examples are sports teams, debate, or Model UN.


If you intend to fly for a commercial airliner one day, you will likely need to earn a bachelor’s degree. While some smaller airlines accept candidates with two-year degrees, individuals who only have an associate’s may find themselves dealing with limited career options. Although there’s no one major required to be a pilot, some students opt to attend colleges and universities that offer pilot training. Typically, this instruction is just one part of a four-year aviation degree.

Regardless of the degree you pursue, it’s a good idea to take a diverse curriculum. Because pilots have to be able to think fast and deal with stressful situations, airlines prefer to hire candidates with an impressive and well-rounded education. The goal is to show you’re up for any challenge that comes your way. 

Discover Your Chances At Hundreds of Schools

Our free chancing engine takes into account your history, background, test scores, and extracurricular activities to show you your real chances of admission—and how to improve them.

Trade Schools and Military Programs

While many careers allow you to start working immediately after earning your degree, pilots have to pursue additional training. In order to land a job as a first officer or co-pilot for a commercial airline, you will need to meet the following criteria:

  • Be 23 or older
  • Have your commercial pilot certificate
  • Complete 1,500 hours of flying time as a pilot
  • Record 50 hours in a multi-engine plane
  • Pass various knowledge and practical tests

So, how do you attain the necessary training and experience to land a pilot job? Many students opt to attend a flight school, where they receive real and simulated training in flight. Additionally, flight schools provide instruction in Federal Aviation Regulations, including aircraft operation rules and medical requirements. Note that only some flight schools are considered Part 141 schools, meaning they are certified under the requirements outlined by FAR Part 141 and have FAA approval. Be sure to do your homework when selecting a flight school.

In another path to becoming a pilot, aviation academies train students on an abbreviated timetable. Aspiring pilots receive their certificates in one or two years after studying and undergoing hands-on training. 

Finally, some pilots receive their education courtesy of the military. While individuals who opt for this path enjoy the benefit of free training, they do have to serve their country for around 10 years. After serving, military pilots can often transition directly into civilian positions at top airlines. 

As a working airline pilot, you can anticipate spending about 75 hours a month in the air and another 150 hours working on the ground. In general, senior pilots have more say in the days and hours for which they’re scheduled to fly. Expect the airline to pay for your hotel accommodations and meals during the time you’re out of town.

how to become a pilot uk

Five Steps to Become An Airline Pilot - @pilotmaria

Pilot training schools, otherwise known as flying schools, typically offer two types of professional flight training – integrated and modular.

Integrated courses enable trainee pilots with no previous flying experience to gain their ATPL within 18 months. Courses are intense and as such you’ll need to finish the training in one go. Integrated courses incorporate both theoretical study and practical flying experience.

As its name suggests modular training is completed in segments, meaning that it’s more flexible, allowing trainees to work alongside their studies to pay course fees. To be accepted onto a modular training course you’ll need to have already gained a Private Pilot Licence (PPL) and 150 hours of flying experience. While this method is more affordable than the integrated option, it takes longer to complete.

If you opt to train at a pilot training school you’ll be expected to pay the expensive course fees yourself, and you won’t have a guaranteed job at the end of it.

Alternatively, you could consider structured programmes offered by major airlines, including British Airways (BA)Ryanair and easyJet. They work with established providers who’ll carry out the pilot training. While commercial airlines used to sponsor trainee pilots in the past, this is no longer the case. The majority of structured programmes are now fully self-funded. However, your chances of securing employment with the organisation on completion of the programme are high.

While aviation degrees aren’t essential a number of universities run relevant courses. For example, Bucks New University offers the BSc Air Transport with Commercial Pilot Training, while Kingston University London runs the BSc Aviation Operations with Commercial Pilot Training.

Both these courses can be completed within three years, although the Kingston course allows you to undertake a sandwich year, making it a four-year programme. While you’ll be expected to cover the additional costs on top of your tuition fees, the main advantage is that students will have access to government loans the same as other students. As you’ll be training for the integrated ATPL qualification, these fees can be as much as £80,000 at Bucks, and approx. £70,000 at Kingston.

Many of these options are covered in advice provided by the industry’s professional association, BALPA.

The first ever apprenticeship standard for commercial airline pilots has been approved. Developed by the Aviation Industry Skills Board and leading aviation employers, the standard aims to make pilot training more accessible.

Where can I undertake pilot training?

If you’ve decided to train through a flying school, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has published its list of approved training organisations (ATOs) through the CAA.

An example of a leading provider is FTA (Flying Time Aviation), a commercial flight academy based at Brighton City Airport. You could also consider L3 Commercial Aviation, a flight school with UK academies in Bournemouth, Coventry and Southampton.

To apply for one of the major airlines’ training schemes, you can visit the careers websites of BA, Ryanair and easyJet.

What job specific skills do I need?

To become a pilot you’ll need a specific set of skills and attributes. These include:

  • a passion for aviation
  • technical aptitude
  • spatial awareness
  • aptitude for numbers and data analysis
  • the ability to remain calm under pressure
  • problem-solving ability
  • attention to detail
  • the ability to work well in a team
  • excellent communication skills
  • confidence
  • decisiveness and the ability to think on your feet.

How much does it cost to become a pilot in the UK?

We’ll be honest, it’s not cheap. In fact, training to become a pilot in the UK is incredibly expensive so you need to be sure it’s the right path for you before committing to a course.

Exact fees differ depending on the route you take but we’re talking thousands, in some cases hundreds of thousands. To give you a better idea, pilot training usually costs £70,000 to £120,000.

For example, taking an integrated course at a flying school such as the FTA costs £87,950, while L3 Commercial Aviation charge £86,000 for their integrated course. Modular courses cost a bit less, however the FTA modular option will still roughly set you back £70,000.

If you decide to train with a major airline you’ll need £86,000 to complete the BA Integrated ATPL course.

how much does it cost to become a pilot?

It costs $87,995 to become a pilot when starting with no previous experience or $68,995 when starting with a private pilot certificate. Both prices include the flight training and certification necessary to become a commercial pilot with flight instructor certificates. There are financing options and flight training loans available to help student pilots pay the cost of becoming a commercial pilot.

Below is an outline of how much flight training costs through ATP’s Airline Career Pilot Program. ATP quotes prices based on realistic flight time requirements, providing up-front, fixed-cost pricing for becoming a pilot.

Start from
Private Pilot Certificate
Start from
Zero Experience
Aviation Tuition to Become a Commercial Pilot
Flight Training Cost$68,995$87,995
Additional Expenses (Not Included in Program)
FAA Examiners’ Fees & Knowledge Test Fees
(Paid Directly to Examiner & Third-Party Provider)
Third Party Apps$200 (varies)$200 (varies)
iPad, Headset, Flight Bag & Other Pilot Gear$1,600 (varies)$1,600 (varies)

Costs for Private Pilot Certificate, Commercial Pilot Certificate, & Airline Transport Pilot Certificate

The table below shows approximate costs for earning a private pilot license, commercial pilot certificate, and airline transport pilot certificate. Students at ATP Flight School pay a fixed-cost for flight training.

Pilot CertificateCostDuration
Private Pilot Certificate
Included in Airline Career Pilot Program
$19,0002 Months
Commercial Pilot Certificate
Single- and Multi-Engine with Instrument Rating and CFIs
$68,9955 Months
Airline Transport Pilot Certificate$5,9955 Days

subject requirements to become a pilot

Whether you want to fly to exotic places or travel at high altitudes, a career as a pilot is definitely for someone with a sense of adventure. But it takes a lot of training, too. Before you research pilot training schools, there are certain courses you should take to prepare yourself to become a pilot, including science and English. Pilots must also be at least 17 years old and pass a variety of medical exams.


Future pilots need a variety of science courses, including earth science and physics, to help them learn about aeronautical principles. Through physics, they learn about the laws of motion, inertia, pressure and temperature. Through meteorology, pilots learn the causes and effects related to flying under different weather conditions. They should also take courses that deal in physiology so they can understand physical problems that might affect them or their passengers.


Be prepared to take a variety of mathematics courses. Through math, aspiring pilots learn how to properly measure the distance needed for take-off and for landing an aircraft. They need to study trigonometry to learn about triangles, which is important in space navigation. Through calculus, they learn about the functions and limits related to flying an aircraft.


Whether it is communicating with co-pilots or talking on a radio with air traffic controllers, pilots should be able to speak English properly and clearly. While flying a commercial plane, they must be able to communicate clearly with flight attendants and provide information to passengers. In fact, the Federal Aviation Administration requires all pilots to speak English. Pilots must also be able to read and write English at a professional level.


For pilots, geography means more than just learning about terrain. Courses in geography should also focus on the social and political aspects of different nations. When pilots are in the air, they should be familiar with her surroundings. They should know how to read maps so they know where major bodies of water or high mountains are located. They should also develop knowledge about different cultures located in countries along their flight routes. They should learn about international laws as well as political situations that might affect them when they travel. According to the JetCareers website, this is especially important in emergency situations so the pilot knows which countries are hostile or unstable, and which are safe

how to become a pilot in canada

If you plan to apply for job openings at Air Canada, you should first familiarize yourself with Air Canada’s hiring requirements and pay so you can maximize your airline career. Skills, experience, and hours logged impact wages for both captain and first officer positions, therefore it is wise to always compare entry level pilot salary to the average to get a better idea of the rewards and opportunities provided through Air Canada careers. How much do pilots earn is usually the first question applicants ask, but these jobs offer benefits beyond the pay, which is why you need to research everything from hiring requirements to income to other perks of the job.

Type of airline:
 International Passenger

Headquarters: Montréal, Quebec

Hubs: Calgary International Airport, Montréal–Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, Toronto Pearson International Airport, and Vancouver International Airport; focus cities are Halifax Stanfield International Airport and Ottawa Macdonald–Cartier International Airport. Air Canada files to 350 destinations.

Origin: The company was founded in 1937 as Trans-Canada Air Lines and began operating as Air Canada in 1965.


  • Safety First and Last – 100% All the time.
  • Make every Customer feel Valued – With our words. With our actions. With our products and services.
  • Working Together – With Colleagues, Customers and Community.
  • Act with Integrity – We are accountable. We foster an environment of trust. We communicate openly and in a timely manner.
  • All Employees are Valued – We respect. We listen. We act.
  • Drive for Excellence – Personally. Corporately. Ever reaching for the next level of innovation, quality of service.

What are the hiring requirements for Air Canada careers?

General Requirements:

  • 1000 hours of fixed wing flying time
  • Completion of schooling to the university entrance level
  • Ability to pass the Air Canada and Transport Canada medical and visual acuity requirements for a Category 1 medical certificate
  • Canadian Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL), current Group 1 (Multi-engine) Instrument Rating
  • Canadian citizenship or landed immigrant status

Pilot applications far exceed job vacancies, so preference is given to candidates with qualifications beyond the basic requirements. Examples of desirable additional qualifications include, but are not limited to:

  • Graduates of a three or four year diploma/degree program from a college or university
  • Aviation College degree or diploma
  • Commercial or military flight experience
  • Jet and/or glass cockpit experience

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