How long does it take to become a certified pilot?

As of July 2020, the average pilot makes about $76,372 per year. The Aerospace industry undeniably provides competitive salaries, contributing to the growing number of students pursuing a field in this industry. But the question remains, how long does it take to become a pilot?

Typically, it takes three months to become a pilot. How long it takes varies on which kind of pilot license you’re after. To give you an idea of how long it should take, we gathered some information on different pilot license options. 

Private Pilot 

Obtaining the Private Pilot Certificate is the first step in becoming a leader in the Aerospace industry. As a pilot, your primary goal is to become a private pilot where you will learn fundamental skills. The Private Pilot License (PPL) will allow you to fly an airplane during day and night as long as there are visual flight conditions. 

Eligibility Requirements:

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Required Flight Hours:

  • Must complete at least 40 hours of flight time 10 hours of solo flight 
  • 3 hours of dual nighttime flying 
  • 3 hours of solo cross-country flying

Length of Programs: 2 weeks to 3 months

Helicopter Pilot 

Helicopter Pilots have the opportunity to work in various industries including medical and law enforcement industries. Prospective pilots can fly helicopters as a hobby without a post-secondary education.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Hold a private helicopter pilot license
  • Hold a 3rd Class FAA Medical Certificate 
  • Complete ground instruction
  • Read, speak, write, and understand the English language.

Required Flight Hours:

  • 20 hours of dual flight training 
  • 10 hours of instrument training 
  • At least 10 hours of solo flight
  • 100 hours as a pilot-in-command

Length of program: In about three months

Commercial Pilot 

A commercial pilot is anyone allowed (by the FAA) to charge money for their services. These pilots are paid to be pilots, transport cargo, and passager merely. Without experience, you can become a commercial pilot in just over six months.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • At least 18 years old
  • Hold a private pilot certificate
  • Hold a 2nd-class FAA Medical Certificate 
  • Successfully pass an aeronautics written exam of 100 questions
  • Successfully pass the training and flight hours for single/multi-engine land class rating requirements. 
  • Successfully pass FAA oral and practical tests administered by an FAA inspector, examiner, or authorized check instructor.
  • Read, speak, write, and understand the English language.

Required Flight Hours:

  • 250 hours of flight time 
  • 100 hours of Pilot-In-Command (PIC)
  • 50 hours of Cross-Country PIC
  • 10 hours of Instrument Training 
  • 10 hours of Technically Advanced Airplane (TAA)

Length of Programs: 6 weeks to 9 months 

Airline Transport Pilot

To fly as an airline pilot, you must obtain the highest level pilot license issued by the FAA. Before getting an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate, you must work your way up the ladder by starting your flying career as a private pilot and then a commercial pilot.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • At least 23 years old
  • Hold a private pilot certificate
  • Hold a 2nd-class FAA Medical Certificate 
  • Successfully pass the training and flight hours for single/multi-engine land class rating requirements. 
  • Hold a Commercial Pilot Certificate 
  • Hold an Instrument Rating 
  • Read, speak, write and understand the English language

Required Flight Hours:

  • At least 1,5000 hours of flight time, which include:
    • 100 night flight hours
    • 500 hours cross-country 
    • Instrument rating 

Length of Programs: 3 to 5 years

Certified Flight Instructor 

As a Certified Flight Instructor, you will gain the necessary qualifications to teach aeronautical knowledge and flight training. With focus and determination, you can become an instructor within six weeks. 

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Hold a Commercial Pilot Certificate or an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate with Instrument Rating
  • Hold a 3rd Class FAA Medical Certificate 
  • Successfully pass the Fundamentals of Instruction (FOI) Exam and the FAA Certified Flight Instructor Knowledge Exam
  • Read, speak, write, and understand the English language

Required Flight Hours:

  • At least 250 hours of flight time
  • 100 hours of flight time as PIC of a powered aircraft
  • 25 hours of cross-country flight time
  • 15 hours of flight time as PIC in an airplane
  • 10 hours of cross-country flight time in an airplane

Length of Programs: 2 weeks to 3 months 

 

If your goal is to become a pilot, hopefully, this information will provide you the tools you need to prepare for a life in the sky!