How to Become an Airline Pilot

In order to become an airline pilot, you will have to go through a substantial amount of education and training. However, once you have completed the process, you will be in one of the most prestigious careers in the world. Here are the basics of how to become an airline pilot.

Formal Education

You will have to go through some formal education before you can begin training to become a pilot. Most airlines are going to require that you have a bachelor's degree in order to be considered for the job. You should be able to get any four-year degree that you want, as it does not need to be in a particular field.

Flight School

You will need to start learning the flying process at a flight school. Most of the time, you be able to locate a flying school in your local area. Try to find one that is backed by the FAA, as this will make the process easier on you when you apply for airline pilot jobs. You will have to have at least 40 hours of flight time in order to get your license.

Medical Certificate

In order to become an airline pilot, you will eventually have to get a first-class medical certificate. This is to certify that you are completely healthy and fit to do the job. You should seek out an FAA medical examiner for this process. While you do not have to do this early on in the process, it is usually a good idea. Therefore, you will know whether you will be able to qualify before devoting substantial time and resources to your training.

Instrument Rating and Commercial Certificate

Even if you are already qualified to fly a private aircraft, you will have to go through additional training in order to be qualified to fly a commercial aircraft. The commercial certificate will take quite a bit more time to complete. It will require at least 250 hours of training. You will need to go through training in order to get your instrument rating. You will have to go through 50 hours of cross-country pilot-in-command training.

Flight Instructor

You should also consider becoming a certified flight instructor. This will provide you with a way to gain flight hours that will be necessary to get a job in the future.


You will also need to work on and obtain multi-engine certification. This is required for flying a commercial airliner.

Regional Airlines

Once you have obtained at least 500 to 1000 hours of flight time, you can start applying for jobs at regional airlines. You will need to become a captain at a regional airline before you can get a job at a major airline. This will provide you with your ATP (Airline Transport Pilot) license, which will qualify you for a major airline job.

Finding a Job

If you are currently looking for a job as an airline pilot, you might want to check out They have some great current job listings and important information for job seekers.