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How Many Years Does It Take to Become a Pilot?

Did you know that the medium annual salary of a commercial airline pilot is more than ninety-three thousand dollars per year?

If you love aviation and want to prepare yourself for a high-paying career, it is a great idea to go to pilot school.

But many people are hesitant to do this because they don’t understand the process that is involved with becoming a pilot. Contrary to what you might think, it will not take very long for you to complete your pilot education.

If you’ve been wondering “how many years does it take to become a pilot?”, we’ve written a guide to help you out. Keep reading and we will tell you about all of the important details. 

Pilot Education: How Long Does It Take?

The first step that you will need to take if you want to become a pilot is to go to pilot school. If you do not have prior flying experience, it will be possible to complete your private pilot education in as little as six months.

If you want to become a commercial pilot, you will also need to complete a career flight program.

But it is important to know that this amount of time will vary depending on each student’s capabilities and determination.

It is also possible to complete your pilot training more quickly by participating in a full-time accelerated flight training program or part-time flexible flight training.

Despite the fact that it will take you several months to finish your pilot training program, you will feel as if you were a pilot right away.

This is because you will have the chance to take the controls of an aircraft within your first couple of weeks of training. Your instructor will be there at your side to guide you and support you when you do this.

By the time you enter your second month of training, you will be able to go on your first solo flight.

But keep in mind that every flight school has different types of pilot license curriculums.

If you participate in a private pilot course, the length of time that it will take to get your license will depend on whether or not you do part 61 or part 141.

Becoming a Commercial Pilot

If you are interested in pursuing flying as a career, you will first need to get your private pilot license. After this, you will be able to move on to the next step of getting your instrument rating.

This will qualify you to pursue your commercial pilot license.

Since it generally takes between three and four months to complete your commercial pilot training, you should expect it to take between seven and ten months to complete both of these trainings.

Before you begin your pilot training, it is imperative to understand the differences between a commercial pilot and an airline pilot. Contrary to what many people believe, these are two very different things.

It is true that airline pilots are a kind of commercial pilot. As a commercial pilot, you will have a CPL certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This means that it will be possible for you to start working as a pilot.

On the other hand, if you want to become an airline pilot, it will also be necessary for you to have an instrument rating, as well as at least one thousand hours of flight experience.

How Long Will Will It Take To Become an Airline Transport Pilot?

Most people who are trying to figure out how long it will take to become a pilot are interested in becoming airline transport pilots. This involved working for airlines to transport passengers from place to place.

You will need your commercial pilot license and instrument rating to become an airline transport pilot. It will also be necessary for you to have fifteen hundred hours of flight time experience.

You can reduce your required flight time hours from fifteen hundred to as low as one thousand hours if you have the appropriate university degree.

If start your pilot training without having any flight experience, it will take between seven and ten months to move through PPL, IR, and getting your commercial license.

After you have completed all of these steps, expect to spend between one and three years to gain the required fifteen hundred hours of required flight time. This amount of time will depend on the job you’ve chosen.

Your first ten months of training will focus on getting the required FAA certifications and ratings.

Once you are certified as a commercial multi-engine pilot, you will be able to continue your training to become a certified flight instructor.

Those who wish to earn more certifications will then be able to participate in training programs to become certified flight instrument instructors.

After earning this qualification, you will be able to earn the required qualifications for becoming a multi-engine instructor.

Becoming a Pilot Captain at a Major Airline: How Long it Takes

Most people who choose to attend pilot school want to eventually become captains at major airlines. The largest airlines in the United States are United, Delta, Southwest, and American.

One of the greatest benefits of becoming a captain is that you will be paid very well. Your employer will also offer you excellent benefits.

As we mentioned before, it will take you between two and three years to become an airline transport pilot if you start pilot school without having any prior flight experience.

Every time that you start working for a new airline, you will need to begin as a first officer. You can then focus on working your way up.

Therefore, the length of time that it will take you to become a first officer will depend on pilot seniority.

It is not uncommon for first officers to be promoted to captain within two or three years if they work for regional airlines such as Sky West.

Working as a Captain for a Major Airline

After you’ve worked at a regional airline as a captain for several years, you can focus on moving over to major airlines.

But keep in mind that you will need to start again as a first officer once you get hired by a major airline. It is hard to say how long you will need to work for a major airline before you are promoted to become a captain.

Some people are able to do this in several years. It can take others a decade or more to do this.

Therefore, once you start flight school, it might take fifteen or more years until you are able to become the captain of a major airline.

Even though this seems might seem like a long time, keep in mind that it can be an enjoyable experience to train and work as a pilot.

Once you are able to secure your first job, you will earn a competitive salary that will include generous benefits.

Pilot Eligibility: What You Need to Know

There are various physical and educational criteria that people need to meet in order to secure jobs as pilots. Here is what you need to know.

Height and Age

In most cases, you will need to be at least eighteen years old before you begin pilot school. And you will not be able to start working as an airline captain until you are at least twenty-one.

Some pilot schools also have minimum and maximum height requirements.


You will need to be fluent in English if you want to go to pilot school. Therefore, if you are a non-native speaker, it is a good idea to brush up on your English skills.

Medical Qualifications

You will probably need to obtain a medical certification at some point during your pilot training course. This might be before or during your course.

Background Check

All pilot candidates will need to undergo background checks. It is possible that you will be able to postpone this requirement if you are currently attending a university.

But the majority of private flying school programs will require their pilots to undergo background checks.

How Many Years Does It Take To Become a Pilot?

If you’ve been asking the question “how many years does it take to become a pilot?”, keep in mind that there are various types of pilot licenses that you can obtain.

If you want to work as a captain at a major airline, it might take up to ten years for you to become qualified.

Are you ready to pursue a career as a pilot? If so, we are here to help you. Don’t hesitate to contact us once you are ready to start your training.

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