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Duration of Getting the Profession of an Airline Pilot

February 19, 2023 · 3 min read

The prospects of becoming an airline pilot can vary depending on a variety of factors, such as the current demand for pilots, the type of aircraft and airline you want to fly for, and your level of experience and qualifications.

The path to becoming an airline pilot can vary depending on a number of factors, including your level of education, the type of training you pursue, and your career goals. Here is a general overview of the steps and time required to become an airline pilot:

  1. Obtain a bachelor's degree (4 years): While a college degree is not strictly required to become an airline pilot, many airlines prefer or require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree in any field.
  2. Earn a private pilot's license (6-12 months): To become a commercial pilot, you'll need to first earn a private pilot's license, which typically involves a minimum of 40 hours of flight time, including both solo and dual instruction.
  3. Earn a commercial pilot's license (6-12 months): After obtaining your private pilot's license, you'll need to accumulate additional flight time and training to obtain a commercial pilot's license, which allows you to fly for compensation or hire.
  4. Build flight experience (2-5 years): To be eligible for employment as an airline pilot, you'll need to accumulate a minimum number of flight hours, typically between 1,000 and 1,500 hours.
  5. Obtain an airline transport pilot (ATP) certificate (varies): Before flying for a major commercial airline, you'll need to obtain an ATP certificate, which requires at least 1,500 hours of flight time, including 500 hours of cross-country flight time, and passing both written and practical flight exams.

Overall, it can take several years to become an airline pilot, depending on your individual circumstances and the training path you choose to pursue.


Is it difficult for an Airline Pilot to build flight experience?

Building flight experience as an airline pilot can be challenging, especially for those who are just starting out in the industry. Pilots typically begin their careers as co-pilots, also known as first officers, for regional airlines or smaller carriers, where they may be required to accumulate a certain amount of flight hours before being eligible for positions with major airlines. Additionally, competition for pilot positions can be high, and airlines often have strict requirements for experience and qualifications. However, with dedication and persistence, it is possible to build the necessary flight experience to advance in the field.

As previously mentioned, to become an airline pilot, individuals must first complete the necessary education and training, which typically takes several years. This includes obtaining a bachelor's degree, completing flight training, and earning various certifications and licenses, such as a commercial pilot's license and an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate.

Once individuals have completed their education and training, they may begin building flight experience by working as a flight instructor or a regional airline pilot. Many pilots begin their careers with regional airlines, which operate smaller planes and offer shorter, regional flights. This can be an opportunity to gain valuable flight experience and build up flight hours, which are required for advancement to larger airlines and higher-paying positions.

Competition for pilot positions can be high, and airlines often have strict requirements for experience and qualifications. Many pilots also face challenges with job security and unpredictable work schedules, which can be disruptive to personal life and relationships. However, for those who are passionate about flying and willing to put in the time and effort to advance in the field, becoming an airline pilot can be a rewarding and fulfilling career.

by Olena Kukhtyk

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