How to Become a Pilot


Pilots do one of the riskiest jobs in the world, spending the majority of their work time on the air. It is no surprise, their demand in the marketplace is very high. A noble professional which is the dream of many young adults. This write-up on how to become a pilot gives the best information on the right path to take if this is your preferred choice of profession.

pilot is a person trained for the purpose of safe operation of an aircraft, that is, a pilot takes charge of the controls of aircraft like aeroplanes, helicopters, etc., used for lifting passengers and/or goods. They perform risk assessments on aircraft, weather conditions, and the safety of flight routes, including pre- and post-flight inspections. The total responsibility of a pilot revolves around the safety of the passengers and the crew members.

How to Become a Pilot

The Skills Set Required to Become a Pilot

Due to the responsibilities that come with the job of a pilot. A wide range of social and human relations qualifications are required to make you a successful pilot. Below are some of such skills set;

  • Communication skills
  • Effective leadership abilities
  • Interpersonal abilities
  • Task management abilities
  • The ability to work as part of a team
  • The ability to work well under pressure
  • The ability to adapt to a variety of situations.

These are the various skills everyone should have before heading to flight school.

The Path to Becoming a Pilot

Just like in every other profession, early training is key to becoming a good professional. While training to become a pilot should usually start from the high school level, it is important to note that one can still start the journey at any point he/she develops interest in the profession or even switching from another profession. Below is a short detailing on the journey to becoming a pilot as a high school, college or a university graduate.

High School Focus:

Pilots have great responsibilities for safeguarding lives on flights. Some sets of skills need to be built in high school to take on these responsibilities. This is the right path to take from high school to build up these skills.

To pursue a good career in aviation, you will have to be very serious with your math classes in high school. Every flight school or college will require an average of 50% in math before granting admission to a student for aviation studies. You will have to do a mixed of on courses like geography, sciences, foreign languages, and public speaking. Every pilot needs good communication skills.

You will need to participate in extracurricular activities to demonstrate your leadership and team-playing spirit if you want to be accepted to a very good flight school.

College Path:

After high school, the best path to take is to get a degree from a university that offers pilot training. This will increase your chances and your career options.

After College:

After getting a college degree, pilots will need some extra training to attain the required qualifications. There are three different paths to this process.

Option 1: Flight School

Flight schools give practical flight training to their students. They also teach aviation regulations, medical requirements, and aviation rules and regulations.

Requirements for Getting into Flight School

To enroll in a flight school, you need the following requirements.

    • First you must have finished high school with a good diploma.
    • Secondly, you must have a college degree in an aviation program.
    • Thirdly, you must have a student pilot certificate.
    • Finally, you must pass the required medical tests.

Option 2: Aviation Academy

In an aviation academy, you will get two years of practical flight training with a certificate to show for it. These institutions have same requirements with flight schools. Apparently, some aviation schools might accept diplomas/degrees in science or engineering related courses.

Option 3: The Armed Forces

This will give you an opportunity to receive the flight training for free. It will often take ten years of service to your country. After this, you can transit to becoming a civilian pilot at top airlines.

Prerequisite Qualifications Required to Become a Pilot

The study path for pilots is very different when compared to other career choices. Here are the qualifications that you may require to become a certified or qualified pilot.

  • You must be at least 18 years of age.
  • You must have a student pilot license.
  • 250 flight hours are required.
  • An FAA medical certificate is required.
  • You must have taken flight training lessons.
  • You must pass the FAA’s private pilot examination.
  • Finally, you need a good grade on a private pilot’s examination.

These are the various qualifications and certifications required to become a certified pilot.

Summary of Procedures to Becoming a Pilot 

Having knowledge of the various requirements and qualifications is essential as well as the key steps you must take to become a certified pilot, here are a summary of steps you can take;

  • Choose you training option: Firstly, you have to search for the best training option for your aviation study path. Search for the best institutes that will give you exactly what you want.
  • Take an Admission Flight: Take an admission flight to get a true sense of what flying an aircraft looks and feels like.
  • Get an FAA medical certificate: To ascertain that you are eligible for this career choice. Get an FAA medical certificate.
  • Obtain a student pilot certificate from the FAA. You will need it for your flying lessons or training.
  • Enroll for Flight Training: After you’ve completed these above steps, enroll in flight training.
  • Take Pilot Knowledge Test: This only comes after your flight training. It is expected that you meet the minimum score to proceed to taking the exam
  • Take Pilot Knowledge Exam: The final step is to to pass the private pilot knowledge exams to get certified as a pilot.

How to Choose Flight Schools in 2022

There are a lot of choices to pick from in 2022, and this makes it difficult to make the right decisions. To choose a flight school in 2022, you will need to know which one is more capable of giving you the training you really need. The major factors to help you guide your decision-making process are:

  • The school‘s relationship with the FAA
  • Types of aircraft used for training
  • The institution’s comprehensive experience
  • Their graduates’ employment rates
  • The level of education provided
  • Their national and international rankings
  • The graduation rates of students

Top Aviation Schools From Around the World

The schools listed below were chosen based on their global rankings, admission rates, and programs offered. These are a few of the best aviation schools in the world.

Purdue University

Purdue University is ranked 54th among regional colleges in the Midwest. According to US news, this university has an acceptance rate of 67.2%. It offers degree programs in aeronautical engineering technology, aviation management, professional flight, aerospace financial analysis, airline management, etc.

Ohio State University

The Ohio State University is considered one of the best universities in the world for aviation studies. It is ranked 52 in the world according to US news, having an admission rate of 68.5%. In the areas of flight and aviation, this University offers the following programs: Aerospace, aeronautical and astronautical/space engineering, Aviation/airway management and operations, etc.

Western Michigan University.

Western Michigan University, which is also regarded as one of the best for aviation studies, is ranked 263rd in the world by US NNews Related degree programs offered in this school related to aviation studies include aviation management, aviation maintenance, aviation flight science, etc.

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

This university offers a wide range of aviation courses, including air traffic control, aeronautical science, global security and intelligence, aerospace engineering, etc. It was ranked fifth in the United States for the best undergraduate aeronautics and aerospace programs. It has an acceptance rate of 62.7%.

How Much Does a Pilot Earn?

The fact that they take high risks and offer high value makes their profession highly priced. Certified pilots make a very decent yearly income. This income varies depending on various factors like the rating of the pilot, employer, location, qualification, experience, etc.

Generally, the average annual income of pilots is generally between $93,000 and $175,000 per year.

What Duration Will It Take to Become a Pilot?

This duration will vary depending on different factors. Firstly, it will depend on the particular program you want to go for and the amount of time it will take to complete your flight program and minimum flight hours.

Commercial pilots will need a minimum of 150 to 250 flight hours to get their certification. Generally, students at aviation schools will need about three to four years to complete their program.

How Much Does it Cost to Become a Pilot?

The cost of studies to become a pilot may be on the high side. Your fee will depend on the type of degree you are going for, the flight school, and the total number of flight hours.

Generally, it will cost about $5000–$20,000 to be a certified pilot.