Tips to Become a Professional Pilot

Being a pilot is a well-respected job in the community, and the pay is generally good as well. Not just anyone can become a pilot, though. There is lots of education involved, the amount of which depends upon whether you want to become a commercial pilot or just want to fly as a hobby. Either way, there are a few tips that will help you get well on your way to flying the friendly skies.

1. Go to College: Most airlines want to hire pilots who have a 4-year college degree, even if you have been to a separate aviation school. Though some will hire without the college degree or only with a 2-year associate’s degree, you will often be passed up for a pilot who does have that Bachelor’s degree.

2. Join the Military: The cost of a Bachelor’s degree is high and only getting higher all the time. When you tack on the cost of aviation or flight school, the price may be out of reach for some individuals. If this is the case for you, an option to become a pilot is to join the military. You don’t have to stay in your whole career. You can go to flight school, serve your minimum amount of time (generally 4-8 years) and then leave the military and work for an airline. Instead of paying for your education, you will get paid to acquire your pilot’s license.

3. Stay in Shape: To pass the initial tests to become a pilot, you must be in good physical shape. A physical test is part of the licensing requirements. It may be best to get what is called a First Class medical certificate before you start flight school that is issued by a Federal Aviation Administration medical examiner. Getting one in advance ensures you can pass the test before you spend a lot of time and money educating yourself as a pilot.

4. Work on Your Ratings: Even after flight or aviation school, there are ratings that you must acquire to get your license. Instrument ratings are needed to ensure you can read instruments in various types of aircraft. Engine ratings ensure you can fly single and multi-engine planes. Pay attention to the requirements and make sure you log enough flight time to achieve the necessary ratings.

5. Be Patient: There are only so many pilot jobs available at any given time. Many pilots begin their careers in other fields like flight instruction before advancing to pilot. If you don’t find a job immediately, work on things like instrument ratings and keep applying until you find your dream job.