By RoxanneB 13 Jul 2021 7 min read

5 Steps to becoming a commercial airline pilot

Piloting is a unique, exciting, and rewarding job, but when it comes to preparing for this career, there’s more to it than finding out how much pilots earn. Whether you’ve wanted to become an aviator since you were a child or the decision to pursue this goal is a recent one, understanding all there is to know about the requirements and expectations related to the piloting career is essential.

Contrary to popular belief, being an airline and a commercial pilot are not the same things, so make sure to research this difference well beforehand. Advancing to the position of a respected commercial pilot may not be as easy as one-two-three, but here are the five steps you must take to become eligible for the job.


Phase 1: Evaluate the requirements

When it comes to dedicating yourself to a new career, preparation is the step you should never omit. To find out the basics about the job you’re interested in and learn how realistic it is to be good at it, experienced essay writing service UK contributors specialising in education recommend checking the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for relevant data.

Before moving on to any concrete actions, make sure to inspect what the website has to say about the airline and commercial pilot careers: what sort of education and training is required, which licenses and certifications you’ll need to obtain, as well as which skills you should work on to raise your chances of success in the field.

Once you’ve gathered all the important data in one place, assess how much needs to be done and in which time frame you’ll be able to accomplish it all realistically.


Phase 2: Acquire the mandatory flying licenses

Once you’ve got a solid grasp on what needs to be done, it’s time to hit the books and pass the exams required for the job. Getting your commercial pilot license will probably seem quite challenging, mostly because there are many differences between various certificates. Still, with proper resources, you’ll learn to distinguish the license types in no time.

Although there’s some hard work ahead of you, managing to do all there is and proving to yourself that you can do it will be worth the effort. Choose a renowned, trustworthy aviation school and you are ready to go.


Phase 3: Get an appropriate medical certificate

Medical certification is an important part of the process of becoming a commercial pilot. If you haven’t acquired a necessary permit while getting your flying licenses, you’ll need to do so afterward.

Rules and regulations for medical certificates are a bit overwhelming at first, but understanding them is a must to move on. To put it simply, they are labelled as first-class, second-class, and third-class, and are generally designed as follows: first-class is necessary to become an airline transport pilot, second-class if you’re interested in the career of a commercial pilot, while the third-class is reserved for students and recreational and private pilots.

As you can see, the difference between these certificates plays a huge role in your future career, so mind which one to get before moving on to the next step.


Phase 4: Get ready to start practicing

After you’ve successfully gone through the preparatory phases, it’s time to get into the cockpit and start flying under supervision. In case you ever wondered how long it takes to become a pilot and be able to fly on your own, the answer isn’t as straightforward as would be desired: it all depends on your pace, dedication, and focus.

The additional time-consuming requirement is having to clock 250 hours of flight time before becoming a certified pilot, and this can take from 6 months to 2 years to accomplish, depending on your skills, experience, available time for practice, and many other factors. Once you’ve completed all the items on this list, you are good to go.

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


Phase 5: Apply for entry-level commercial airline jobs

Once all of the licenses and certificates are obtained and you’ve successfully tested the skies in the requested amount of practice hours, you can take a deep breath: your mission is finally done. The time has come to test all that you’ve learned and gain experience in the field you now know and love.

Just as with many other jobs, it’s vital to remember that starting small is perfectly normal. Flying is serious work that carries along a lot of responsibility, so start researching where you could start your career and advance as time passes by.

Never give up on your dream: patience and dedication will take you where you want to be.


Author Jessica Chapman is a writing editor from Chicago, passionate about sports, politics, and travel. She’s the first person to reach out to if you ever find yourself wondering “Where can I find someone to help me write my college essays?”

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