All the training you need to become a professional pilot.
To be a professional pilot you need to have a handful of pilot licenses and gain experience in the form of flight time. With our career training program, you can be earning a living as a professional pilot in as little as 18 months.
Step 1: Flight Training
What Licenses Do I Need
Our career program covers 5 FAA licenses:
- Private Pilot
- Instrument Pilot
- Commercial Pilot
- Certified Flight Instructor
- Certified Flight Instructor – Instrument
For detailed information about each license please visit our Getting Started and Advanced Training pages.
Do I need a college degree?
A college degree will help you get hired by an airline. This can be an associates degree; however a bachelor’s is preferred by many employers. It does not matter what your degree is in.
How long does it take?
Career training should be approached with the same energy you would devote to a college degree, though you are free to train at your own pace and pick your schedule. If you fly once per week it will take several years to complete the training. Students that can devote their full attention and resources to their training are able to complete the training in as little as 18 months.
How much does it cost?
The cost to complete the career training varies from student to student. The difference is based primarily on the amount of flight hours it takes each student to become proficient in the skills required to pass each FAA checkride. Our estimates are based on realistic expectations and results we have seen from our students over the years.
Step 2: Experience Building
Your experience as a pilot is measured by how many hours you have spent flying airplanes. Every company requires a minimum amount of flight time to be considered for hire. Additionally, you must have 1,500 flight hours before you can apply for a job with an airline. You will likely finish your initial flight training with 200 – 400 hours. The best way to meet the 1,500-hour threshold will be to work as a certified flight instructor. There are other avenues, but the CFI route is the fastest, and most beneficial to your overall career.
Step 3: Your First Jet Job
There are several different types of companies that you could work for at this point: regional airlines, charter companies, or even cargo-carrying operators. The most popular route is through the regional airlines. These companies operate the smaller jets that fly shorter distances to and from large hub airports. They may be branded as American Airlines, Delta or United but they are separate companies operating under contract with the major airline. After a year or two as a first officer with a regional, you may be upgraded to captain, where you will accumulate experience very quickly.
Careers at regional airlines are quickly becoming more lucrative. Pay rates and hiring bonuses have pushed 1st year pay levels over $60,000. As you continue to accrue hours and experience, more opportunities will become available to you. You’ll eventually be able to upgrade to larger airplanes, upgrade to captain, or move to a major airline or corporate flight department. These upgrades all warrant an increase in salary and many pilots are making in excess of $100,000/year within 3 years of beginning their first co-pilot job.