How Long Does it Take to Become a Commercial Airline Pilot?

Commercial Airline Pilot

Becoming a commercial airline pilot is no small feat. It takes dedication, perseverance and significant investment of time and money. All in all, it typically takes three to four years for an individual to become a fully licensed commercial airline pilot, depending on the individual’s background, experience level, type of training received and country in which they are located. Those already holding another form of license can reduce the time needed to receive their Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL), while new pilots may need additional flight hours that add to the timeline. Aspiring pilots should investigate available options carefully in order to ensure enough flight hours are included in the program prior to committing. Although the road is long and demanding, the rewards of being a commercial airline pilot make it worth the effort!

Commercial Airline PilotInitial training as a student pilot

Pilots begin their flight training by enrolling in courses offered through passenger airlines, universities, or private flight schools like These courses generally take between 18 months and two years to complete, although university degrees typically require three to four years of study. Upon successful completion of these initial flight training courses, pilots may be awarded the Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL). This licence allows them to operate single-pilot aircraft. The CPL is an important milestone for those who are planning a career as a pilot; however, additional licensing may be required for other types of operations. 

Pilot classification and duties

Becoming a pilot isn’t easy and requires plenty of dedication and hard work. However, many still strive towards this career path due to the high level of employability and stability it offers. Although reviews vary, pilots take on a range of roles depending on their classifications. Private pilots are those who typically fly light aircraft for leisure purposes – they may enjoy taking friends and family along once they have demonstrated they can handle the aircraft in question. However, they cannot receive any money for these flights. Commercial pilots invest more time in training and receive a Commercial Pilot’s License (CPL). This enables them to perform revenue flights on behalf of a company or airline. Duties may involve pre-flight checks, flight planning, navigating airspaces and landing the aircraft – though everything depends on license type, experience and seniority levels.

Medical Requirements to Become an Airline Pilot

Before aspiring to become an airline pilot, one must ensure they are medically fit for the responsibility. The Federal Aviation Authority has established a system of medical certifications verifying that pilots meet certain health criteria. At its highest rating is first-class certification which requires that applicants have exceptional hearing (hearing conversations clearly at 6-feet), and possess 20/20 vision that can be corrected through glasses or contacts. It is also required for everyone to go through cardiovascular and neurological assessment. With these qualifications met you’ll take your next step towards getting your wings!

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