How long is commercial pilot school?

how long is commercial pilot school

Most of my readers desire to quickly get a commercial pilot license and become an airline pilots soon.

However, none of you know much about how long is the commercial pilot school.

The purpose of a commercial pilot school is to train you and aid you in obtaining a commercial pilot license. Nevertheless, you’re not ready to get your airline pilot job as a fresh graduate of commercial pilot school.

I know it doesn’t sound obvious.

Continue reading, and you’ll understand what I mean. I broke down this post into several sections:

  • How long is commercial pilot school?;
  • What circumstances can prolong your commercial pilot schooling period?;
  • Do you think you are ready to work after twelve months of training?

The commercial pilot school takes between 12 months to 18 months. Typically, it takes four months to get a PPL, three months for an Instrument rating, and 6 Months to obtain a CPL —13 months to finish commercial pilot school for a full-time student. Eighteen months is the maximum someone could squander in a commercial pilot school.

However, understand this becoming a commercial pilot will only take you closer to becoming an airline pilot. It will help if you put in more effort and time until you reach your aviation goals. But the journey doesn’t end here.

How long is commercial pilot school?

Commercial pilot schools’ job is to train student pilots and help them obtain a commercial pilot license.

Obtaining a commercial pilot license requires actual flying hours and passing knowledge tests with good grades to prove you can become a professional pilot in the future.

Most flight schools or commercial pilot schools have structured courses for students.

In this post, we will take flight schools in the USA and FAA requirements to become a commercial pilot.

A structured course in a commercial pilot school consists of at least three different steps and at least 200 hours of flying time.

STEP 1: The first step is to get a Private pilot license which takes around four months. During these four months, the student pilot may complete an online private pilot ground school, pass the FAA knowledge test, and acquires about 55 flying hours.

STEP 2: The second step is to obtain an instrument rating. Instrument flying knowledge is overwhelming and challenging for student pilots. Though you fly roughly 35 hours, the training takes around 3 to four months. You will have instrument ground classes, simulator training, actual instrument flights in IFR conditions, and pass FAA knowledge tests during this period.

By now, you have accumulated 90 flying hours in your preferred aircraft.

STEP 3: The next step is to build flying hours for your commercial pilot license. According to FAA, students must fly at least 200 hours from Part 141 flight school to get their commercial pilot license. Flying 110 hours to accumulate 200 hours takes approximately six months. These six months of training include:

  • Commercial pilot ground classes;
  • Flight training;
  • Passing the FAA knowledge test and the Checkride;

The total duration to obtain a commercial pilot license is 13 months if you are a full-time student.

This timeframe is applicable for students training in the Part 141 structured course. The timeframe to finish the Part 61 modular system course differs from a Part 141 course.

Commercial pilot schools in the USA have structured training courses for obtaining a commercial pilot license and advertise that a full-time student can graduate within 12 months.

Getting a commercial pilot license within 12 months is doable. But multiple circumstances affect the pilot training period, which I will explain in the next section.

What circumstances can prolong your commercial pilot schooling period?

Multiple factors can alter the time you spend on your commercial pilot training.

Your study progress in flight school.

Although you enroll in a commercial pilot school and expect to get your licenses in the next 12 months, your progress will significantly affect how quickly or slowly you get your pilot licenses.

Understand this, commercial pilot school’s structured courses are fast-paced. For new students, the entire training is overwhelming.

You learn aeronautics, aviation communication, navigation, operational procedures, and airplane systems in a short time. Therefore many students prefer to take it slow and procrastinate during their training.

As a result, they waste a few more months in commercial pilot school.

Taking a bit longer than others is not a bad thing. If you want to learn slowly but accurately, you should do that if it works for you.

Instead of competing with other students to finish training quickly, take time to learn slowly and dominate at what you do.

The location of your flight school’s aerial operations is a factor.

Secondly, the geolocation of the commercial pilot school can alter the time you spend on pilot training. If the weather in your flight school’s area is often adverse or gloomy, you will usually have training flights canceled.

Student pilots have restrictions in flying into bad weather. It is crucial to choose a flight school in a location where the weather is good, at least for 11 months a year. If the commercial pilot school is in an area that snows for two months and has low visibility conditions for six months, you can expect to delay your pilot training. You will waste years only getting your commercial pilot license in a location like that.

A commercial pilot school without airworthy aircraft delays training.

Choosing a commercial pilot school that doesn’t have adequate aircraft in their fleet in coordination with the number of students, then your pilot training will take longer. Weeks will pass, waiting for your turn to get a flight schedule if the school has to accommodate numerous students in a limited number of airplanes for flight training.

Procrastinating and going on long vacations delays pilot training for many.

Lastly, if you intentionally delay your commercial pilot training by taking vacations during your course. It’s common for student pilots to take a break after getting their private pilot licenses. Often, the students anticipate the leave for two months, and it turns out that they spend six months in their home country. There is a possibility that international students will take a break back home for a couple of months.

Due to this reason, many students fall behind ad takes longer than a year to obtain a commercial pilot license.

Do you think you are ready to work after twelve months of training?

Most of you are here to know whether you are ready to work as an airline pilot after twelve to eighteen months of training. The answer is no, and you are not there yet.

As I said, the job of a commercial pilot school is to train you properly and ultimately obtain a commercial pilot license. But to work in the USA as an airline pilot, you need at least 1500 flying hours. This hour requirement varies outside the USA, but no significant airlines hire fresh graduates of commercial pilot school with 200 hours.

To build 1500 hours from 200 hours would take another two years. You can work as a Certified flight instructor or a charter pilot during this time. The pay for this kind of pilot job is not satisfying. However, the perks of such professions are to build hours without spending a dime from your pocket.


You can finish commercial pilot school within twelve to eighteen months.

Enrolling in a reputed flight school in the USA will quickly earn your commercial pilot license.

A flight school can significantly affect how soon you finish your pilot training. Likewise, the school’s location plays a role in the training period.

Lastly, a student can take years after years only to get a commercial pilot license. It depends on you how you choose to progress in your profession.

Nevertheless, you are not prepared to take an airline pilot job after getting your commercial pilot license. You have to work your way up to fulfill airline hiring requirements.

Image Source: airluca42 via Instagram.

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