Academic qualifications to become a pilot & soar high in Aviation.

what qualifications do you need to become a pilot

Let me break the ice: You can become a pilot without a solid educational background. It’s more important to have flying experience to qualify as an airline pilot.

The information I share in this article will help many aspiring aviators pursue their dream of becoming airline pilots. Many students plan to fly airplanes for a living but give up on their dream because they don’t understand what qualifications they need to become a pilot.

Your flight experience should be your priority, and then your aeronautical knowledge to become a pilot.

At least 1,500 hours is the minimum requirement to qualify for an American airline job. Many global airlines also accept pilots with 500 hours. The drawback with 500 hours is that the airline may think you are not ready for the job without a bachelor’s degree.

Sounds confusing? To clarify the matters, I divided this article into two sections for you to determine whether you are qualified to enroll in a flight school and become a pilot or not.

  • What academic qualifications do you need to become a pilot?
  • What aviation qualification do you need to become a pilot?

Information is available online on the subject, but I want to add more detail about the issue for those utterly unaware of the qualifications to become a pilot.

What academic qualifications do you need to become a pilot?

To become a pilot, you must first get your pilot license. A pilot license allows you to fly airplanes as the pilot in command.

To get your pilot license, you must enroll in a flight school. The flight school can be anywhere. You can select a school in the USA, Canada, or South Africa.

Different flight schools have additional eligibility requirements.

A flight school in the USA can ask you to present your High School certificate before enrollment. A high school certificate equals a GCSE A’ Level in the United Kingdom and a Higher Secondary Certificate in India.

However, many flight schools in the USA don’t ask for academic certificates.

To become a private pilot, one must be at least 17. By the time anyone is 17, they have passed their 10th grade, equivalent to O’ Level in the United Kingdom and Secondary School certificate in India.

Thus, if you have at least passed tenth grade, you can find a suitable flight school to start your pilot training in the USA. Enrolling in a reputed flight school may require a High School diploma, yet many flight schools accept students without a fuss.

You will learn how to operate airplanes safely and obtain your pilot license in flight school. The vital aspect is to build flying hours.

Actual flying hours matter most to get accepted into an airline. The more flying experience you have, the more competent you are. Thus, in the next section, I will discuss what flying qualifications you need to become a pilot.

Before you pilot any airplane, you need training in aircraft mechanics and hours logged in the flight time experience. The exact type of training might depend on the kind of pilot you hope to become. A flight school can prepare aspiring pilots with the knowledge and skills to navigate a private or commercial airplane.

In this article, we discuss the requirements of a flight school. So, have a closer look at it.

You can meet the requirements of a flight school by completing the given steps:

1. Get a high school diploma.

Pilot training programs require you to be at least 16 years old and have a high school diploma. There are no requirements, such as what classes you need to take in high school, but science, math, geography, and psychology classes can be beneficial. Additionally, foreign language classes might be helpful if you yearn to work as a pilot for international flights. You might research the flight schools during high school to find one that interests you.

2. Get an approved college degree.

Choose courses in airport management, aircraft maintenance, or other aviation-related studies depending on your career goals. The Federal Aeronautics Administration (FAA) does not require an entrusted degree to become a pilot. Still, many major airlines require a bachelor’s or associate degree from an eligible aviation program. Bachelor’s in aviation, aviation technology, aeronautical science, aerospace engineering, aviation management, or air traffic management are standard. Physics, electronics, engineering, math, and geography classes are very helpful at this level.

An aviation degree program might take four to six years to complete. During the last few years, you will intern with an airline or an aviation-related company.

Upon graduation, you might get your full commercial pilot certification. Taking an aviation degree is an excellent system to develop essential skills such as communication, problem-solving, decisiveness, and leadership. Some colleges have student programs to help you expand on those skills. They can also help you with networking. 

3. Get a student pilot certificate.

An FAA student pilot certificate is another typical requirement. A student pilot license gives you the privilege to fly an aircraft and train under the supervision of a flight instructor.

The student pilot license is an initial pilot certification that might help you obtain professional permission later.

To get a student pilot license, you must be 16 years old and speak, read, and understand English.

You must complete an application using the FAA form 8710-1 and submit it to an FAA-designated pilot examiner, a Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), a certificated flight instructor, or an airman certification representative linked with a Part 141 flight school. The authorized individual will process your application and submit the required documents to the Airmen Certification Branch. When someone reviews the student pilot certificate, you will receive it in about three weeks.

4. Get the medical clearance.

Flight school requirements also include getting medical clearance. The process is similar globally. However, you apply for a medical certificate in the USA through an FAA-approved aviation medical examiner (AME). You present the initial segment of the application.

If you meet the medical standards, the organization will issue you a first-, second-, or third-class medical certificate. The medical clearance examination evaluates many factors of your health, such as:

  • Vision: Pilots must have 20/20 vision, either with or without the corrective lenses. They must also be able to differentiate between the colors.
  • Hearing: The pilots must pass a test to listen to and understand the conversations about 6 feet away.
  • Neurological: The pilots must pass a neurological test measuring their brain rhythms with the help of a series of tests.
  • Cardiovascular: Pilots must pass a cardiovascular test and be free of any previous cardiovascular problems for at least a few years.

The aviation medical examiner (AEM) might consider other areas of your health and take a drug test. Some medical disorders could disqualify people from getting their commercial pilot licenses.

What aviation qualification do you need to become a pilot?

You must obtain multiple pilot licenses before qualifying for an airline pilot job.

After you enroll in a flight school, the first step would be to get a student pilot license. A student pilot license allows you to start your flight training.

After you start your flight training, you will gradually obtain the following licenses:

It may seem too much to acquire, but all flight schools have a professional pilot training program that includes all these four steps.

Most pilots log roughly 250 hours by completing their professional pilot program.

However, you are not qualified for an airline pilot job with 250 hours.

Airlines in the USA require pilots to have at least 1500 flying hours before accepting any job application.

Many airlines in Asia and Africa accept pilots with a minimum of 500 hours.

So, with 250 hours and a commercial pilot license, you are not yet ready to become an airline pilot.

Your Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) license will be advantageous. You can start working as a CFI. Flight schools in the USA frequently hire their graduates as CFI to teach new student pilots.

Although not an airline pilot, you can build hours and simultaneously get paid for your time as a CFI.

It’s common for fresh graduates to work as CFI until they accumulate 1500 hours.

You must gradually work up to the top and qualify as a competent airline pilot like any other profession.

The entire process takes time. From zero hours to becoming an airline pilot may take years.

To graduate from flight school with 250 hours may take only two years.

RELATED: How long does it take to become a pilot?

Image Source: buckair via Instagram.

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One Comment

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