Is student loan the safest route to fund pilot training?

how to fund pilot training

Pilot training can be costly, and many of us indeed take a step back from our dream just because of the pilot training cost.

People interested in becoming an airline pilot can’t figure out ways to fund pilot training.

Regardless, not many students fund their pilot training by themselves. There are ways like sponsored programs or student loans that can help aspiring pilots to start their careers in the aviation field.

I will start by discussing the traditional way how people finance their training.

Financing from parents.

Traditionally students are financed by their parents to become a pilot.

Fresh high school graduates do not have the money neither can work to earn a large amount of money at that age to pay for the pilot training cost.

As you may already know that flight training is pricey.

There are obvious reasons for the training cost to be high.

Therefore asking support from your parents is the most logical way.

Start by asking support from your parents to fund your pilot training, and then if that is not possible, look for other options.

Option 2: Scholarship.

This option is not so standard. Many airlines used to hire pilots by funding their complete flight training.

The airlines interviewed individuals and recruited them. After recruiting prospective pilots, they would pay for all the costs of flight training.

The airlines will fund the complete pilot training until the student is in the cockpit of the airliner.

Today this option is not available, however for the students in the USA can request funds from the Pell grant.

Federal pell grants will not pay much, but it will be helpful for students to pay for the flight training.

And the best thing is the students don’t have to pay back the money.

Student loans.

Student loans are the second-best option. I believe if you cannot get funding from your parents.

There are student loans vastly available for prospective pilot students.

You can take student loans up to 100,000 USD and get your pilot licenses from an accredited school.

I imagine 50,000 USD is reasonable to get your commercial pilot licenses.

However, having an extra 50,00 USD will aid you in getting a type rating.

Many airlines today do not hire pilots merely with a commercial pilot license.

Some airline wants the pilots to pay for their type rating. Assuming you interviewed in an airline and the airline hired you.

But they might request you to pay for the type rating and the job will be confirmed.

In that case, you might need around 30,000 USD for your type rating. However, as you have an extra 50,000 USD from your student loan, you can spend it on your type rating.

Yet you will have some extra cash which you can use for urgent situations.

Once you complete your type rating and start working for the airline, trust in no time, you will be able to pay back your loan.

Pilot in the airlines usually earn six-figure annually, which is enough for you to return the loan money with interests.

But student loans are a safe option for those pilots who are determined to get a job in airlines within a short time.

If you are unsure you will be able to work in the airline in the next one or two years, then I must say taking such a significant amount of money might become a burden for you.

Option 4: Work in a different profession and save money.

The safest option of all, I believe, is working in a different profession and save money.

In that way, you will not have the burden of returning the loan.

If you have your own money, you will not have a burden on your parents too.

Assuming you are determined to operate airplanes and make a living, you can go for a bachelor’s degree first.

Do a degree in your preferred field. You can graduate from any industry from commerce to science and yet take flying lessons.

But I suggest if you are determined to become a pilot, choose a graduation degree in the aviation field.

I will use an example of aeronautical engineering here.

Pick aeronautical engineering for your college degree.

After graduation, you can work as an aeronautical engineer. Being an aeronautical engineer, you will experience working in the aviation field.

As an aeronautical engineer, it is possible to make six figures income.

You can save money from your current profession and enroll in a Part 61 pilot training course.

The part 61 flight training is an excellent way for students to train while they have another full-time profession.

You don’t have to save up 50,000 USD to start your flight training.

If you are interested in doing flight training while you are working in a different profession, first, you have to make a plan on how you are going to obtain your pilot licenses.

The plan must have how many hours will you fly every month.

As you are already working full time, you may have only spare time for flying lessons during the weekend. Fly at least 5-6 hours during the weekend. In a month, you will be able to achieve at least 20 hours.

If you can consistently fly 20 hours each month, within a year, you will be able to obtain your commercial pilot licenses.

And flying twenty hours each month by saving up from your full-time job, will not be a burden either.

The sooner you determine how you are going to achieve your goals, the better it is for you.

Flying twenty hours each month is the best practice, I believe.

Even if you can’t manage the money to fly twenty hours each month, I suggest operating 10 hours a month.

That way, it may take a more prolonged period to complete pilot training, but in two years, you will have your commercial pilot license.


I know pilot training is pricey, and having funds for the pilot training requires time.

I know because I have been there too. I t has been a long journey, and I had patience.

But with consistency and determination to become a pilot, I have obtained my pilot licenses.

You can do the same too.


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