By Seerat Arora 13 Jul 2021 5 min read

5 Steps to Becoming a Commercial Airline Pilot

Whether you’ve wanted to become an aviator since you were a child or it is a recent goal, it is essential to understand all there is to know about the requirements and expectations related to how to become a commercial pilot. 

Flying commercial airplanes is a unique, exciting, and rewarding job. At the same time, it can be very stressful and frustrating. So ensure in-depth research and commitment before you think of commercial flying.

Contrary to popular belief, being an airline and a commercial pilot is not the same. Airline pilots usually require a bachelor’s degree and experience as a commercial or military pilot. On the other hand, commercial pilots are required to have flight training, and in some cases, a degree.

Advancing to the position of a respected commercial pilot may be challenging, but here are 5 steps to become a commercial pilot that you must take to be eligible for commercial airlines.

Phase 1: Assessing the Requirement

When dedicating yourself to a new career, preparation is key! It’s a step you should never miss. To learn about the basics of pilot jobs and how realistic it is to be good at them, experienced essay writing service UK contributors recommend checking the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for relevant information.

  • Before moving on to any concrete actions, ensure a few things:
  • Inspect the airline and its commercial pilot careers
  • Inquire about the education and training required
  • Ask which licenses and certifications you’ll need to obtain
  • And, which skills you should work on to improve your chances of success.

Once you’ve gathered all the essential information in one place, evaluate the steps to be a commercial pilot and assess the time frame you’ll need to accomplish it realistically.

Phase 2: Procuring the Flying Licences

Getting your commercial pilot license will probably seem quite challenging, mostly because there are several certificates with different purposes. Still, with proper resources, you’ll be able to distinguish between the license types in no time.

Now you have to choose a renowned, trustworthy aviation school to teach you everything you need to know. After you have understood what needs to be done, it’s time to open the books and clear the exams required for the job. 

Although it takes some hard work to attain these licenses, managing the exams and proving your capabilities will be worth all the effort.

Phase 3: Getting an Approved Medical Certificate

Obtaining medical certification is next in the steps to becoming a commercial airline pilot. It is vital to acquire a mandatory certificate while or after getting your flying license.

The rules and regulations for medical certificates can be overwhelming, but once you understand them, it’ll be easier to move forward. In simple words, they are labeled as first, second, and third class, and are designed as follows:

  • The first-class certificate is mandatory for an airline transport pilot,
  • The second class is if you want to become a commercial pilot, 
  • While the third class is reserved for students, and recreational and private pilots.

The difference between these medical certificates plays an important role in your future aviation career. So, be aware of which certificate to get before moving on to the next step.

Phase 4: Getting Ready for Practise

After successfully going through the preparatory steps to become a commercial pilot, it’s time to get into the cockpit and start flying, however, initially under supervision. 

In case you are wondering how long it takes to become a commercial pilot and fly by yourself, the answer depends on many factors - your pace, dedication, and focus.

The time requirement in steps to be a commercial pilot is the completion of 250 flying hours before becoming a certified pilot. It can take 6 months to 2 years to accumulate these hours, depending on skills, experience, availability, and other factors. 

You can refer to this checklist for the types of flying hours required.

No matter how challenging these practice runs may be, they are also a great source of excitement for most training pilots. 

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Phase 5: Applying for Entry-Level Commercial Airline Jobs

Once all the licenses and certificates are collected and you’ve successfully tested the skies for the required hours of flying, your mission here is finally done. Now it’s time to implement your leanings and gain experience in the field you now know and love.

Just like most other industries, it’s crucial to remember that starting small is perfectly normal. With great flying experience, comes great responsibility! Flying is serious work, so start your research on how to become a commercial pilot and take the needed steps with time.


When understanding how to become a commercial airline pilot, you have to know there’s more to it than finding out how much pilots earn. It can be a complicated and tiring process, but trust us when we say, it's all worth it!

So, evaluate the required work and be ready to put in the hours. Never give up on your dream - patience and dedication will take you wherever you want to be!