How to Become a Commercial Pilot? How Long Does It Take?

Become a Commercial Pilot


Did you always love the open skies since your childhood? Did you ever imagine to fly like a bird? If yes, then you can transform your interest into money. Do this by becoming a commercial pilot who can fly an aircraft.

A commercial pilot performs a plethora of job opportunities. He or she is required to fly the aircraft at a fixed and scheduled time. The commercial pilot’s duties involve performing the activities of an airline pilot and various other activities. The commercial pilots work with emergency planes, charter flights, or rescue operations.

To operate the plane most efficiently, the commercial pilots maintain the plane’s optimum weight. Moreover, he or she learns how to communicate with air traffic control and run various emergency processes.

Practicing the profession of a commercial pilot is a daunting task. The lives of several people depend upon the duties of a commercial pilot. Hence, this profession requires you to amass various requirements.

You will require a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) to become a commercial pilot. The airline pilot requires a commercial pilot certificate and an airline transport certificate.

Let us have a glance at the various steps needed to become a commercial pilot.

Eligibility Requirements

Before becoming a commercial pilot, you should make sure that you adhere to the eligibility norms.

First of all, the prospective applicant should be at least 18 years of age. Secondly, he or she should have a private pilot certificate needed to become a commercial pilot.

The individual should also be proficient in English and know how to read, write, speak, and understand it. The authorities also compel the applicant to pass a physical exam. This exam tests the vision and aeronautical skills of the individuals.

To be eligible for a commercial pilot’s post, you should also have the required years of experience set as a criterion by the authorities. The benchmark is set at least 250 hours of experience, which can help you procure your commercial pilot license. To substantiate the experience, the individual needs to show the logbook endorsements from a legal instructor.

Private Pilot Training

As mentioned earlier, a commercial pilot requires a private pilot certificate to initiate the new career. This is because private pilot training helps individuals learn the basics of various processes, procedures, operations, and flying techniques.

This training also helps the individuals to learn effective airport communication and maintenance of the plane.

Some educational establishments integrate private training courses along with commercial pilot training. This makes sure that no prospective commercial pilot remains behind by not adhering to this requirement.

Flight Hours

Adhering to the established flight hours norm is necessary to get you a commercial pilot certificate under CFR part 61. The criteria of at least 250 hours of flying include various other requirements.

The individuals should know various flying types like a pilot-in- command, solo, complete instrument training, and flying with the designated gear. The prospective commercial pilots should also have conducted a fixed number of taking offs and landing.

Out of the 250 hours, 100 hours are required as a pilot -in- command. Fifty hours of experience is needed to complete the cross country flights during the day and night. The individuals should have 10 hours of experience in complex aircraft training and another 10 hours in instrument training.

During the commercial pilot training, you should make sure to be more consistent and more precise than private training. To practice the profession, an individual needs to take up longer cross country flights of at least 300 nautical miles. This distance should also integrate a single leg of at least 250 miles.

Second Class Medical Certificate

One of the prerequisites of becoming a commercial pilot is to have a private pilot certificate. By completing this requirement, you may already have your aviation medical certificate.

However, if the certificate is not of at least a second class, it is of no use. So you should strive hard to get a second class certificate.

FAA Exam

FAA stands for the Federal Aviation Administration. There are two types of FAA exams, the written exam, and the practical exam. A registered office supervises the FAA examinations.

The practical examination will compel you to solve a plethora of questions to depict your expertise in flying. You will also be required to perform various operational tasks by adhering to multiple industry standards and norms.

The written or theoretical paper aims at identifying your information on flying. It asks you questions related to the safety rules, regulations, and navigation of a pilot.

Other Certifications

Some commercial pilots aim at working with commercial airlines. In such circumstances, these individuals can get a license as an airline transport pilot. The different conditions to obtain this license are as follows:

The individual should be at least 23 years of age. They should also have at least 15 hours of flight experience and must have passed the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) exams.

Some corporations also require students to have more experience in the field. According to the Bureau of Labour statistics, these companies need individuals to have a bachelor’s degree or at least two years of the college experience.


After following the above steps and passing the required exams, you are ready for the Checkride. The checkride requires individuals to do the groundwork for some hours for verbal testing. The instructor will also monitor you as you take a flight for the check-ride.

You should exhibit your professionalism during the time of the check-ride. Be calm even under pressure situations, and make sure to follow the safety rules and regulations.


The salary of a commercial pilot is affected by many factors. Such factors entail the size of planes, type of airline company, union agreements, and the pilots’ routes.

The average salary of a commercial pilot is approximately $140,000 per year. Reports show that the median annual earnings of the commercial pilot in 2018 were $130,059. The revenues of commercial pilots can be as low as $112,657 and as high as $146,834.

Also Read: 20 High Paying Part-Time Jobs

Best Flight Schools

Top-flight educational establishments are required in the USA. These institutions help you get a bachelor’s degree and learn the basics of flight and clear the FAA exams.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU)

ERAU is one of the oldest and the most renowned universities in the USA. Due to its popularity and advanced training courses, the tuition fee of the University skyrockets and touches the $50,000 mark. There are three campuses in the University with more than 90 airplanes and 40 simulators.

Various airline corporations tend to hire graduates from the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and approximately 7000 students study here. The best attribute of this University is that it has a doctoral program in aviation, unlike any other University in the US.

Western Michigan University

The Western Michigan University ranks among the top 100 universities in the USA. The Aviation College at Western Michigan University has approximately 900 students who attend the flight school.

The major courses of this college include aviation management, operations maintenance, and aviation flight science.


The prospective commercial pilots are required to have an experience of 1500 hours of training. 1500 hours of training equates to approximately two years.

By giving your best during the two years, you can procure a good return on investment. The growth rate of this sector, as exhibited from 2018 to 2028, was 8%.

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