Becoming an airline pilot is a unique career path you can start as soon as you enter college. On top of salary estimates sitting at over $100,000 a year, this career allows you to explore the most beautiful parts of the world. However, pilots are also responsible for human life, so you can expect a long and in-depth training process.
Getting a pilot’s license isn’t like getting your driver’s license; it takes years of hard work and specialized courses. If you’re thinking about pursuing this career, there are some things you need to know to become an airline pilot.
First, you’ll need to attend a four-year university to get a bachelor’s degree. Aviation programs will streamline the process and put you in the best position post-graduation. Look for FAA-authorized schools, which are schools certified by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Getting a degree in aviation will teach you about meteorology, important vocabulary, and different communication methods. You’ll learn everything needed for successful, well-informed flight, from basic knowledge, such as how to use the radio system, to more specialized knowledge, such as how the tailplane impacts flight. Overall, this is an indispensable part of the process of becoming a pilot.
Once you receive your degree, you’ll move on to flight school. This is where you’ll receive hands-on training in the cockpit. Flight schools take what you learned in the classroom and apply it to the real world. It will have you master landing, flight patterns, and emergency maneuvers, along with adding to the information you learned in school.
FAA-authorized schools typically offer pilot training as well as general education, so if you attended an FAA-authorized school, you might be able to remain at the same institution to receive your training. Otherwise, you’ll need to find a separate FAA-accredited training course.
Pilots must earn different licenses and certificates to prove their competency. You’ll likely obtain your student pilot certificate first; this document allows you to fly aircraft by yourself while you’re still in training.
Next, you’ll receive your private pilot certificate. You’ll also need an instrument rating to show that you can read delicate flight instruments during flight. Finally, once you’ve had enough experience, you can obtain your commercial pilot certificate.
Commercial certificates allow you to fly helicopters and large-capacity planes. This differs from your private license, which limits the types of aircraft you can command. From there, you can get multi-engine ratings and an airline transport pilot certificate to fly with commercial airlines.
To become an airline pilot, you need to know these things to map out your education. Since training is so extensive, it’s best to start the process early. Before you know it, you’ll be in the cockpit as the captain of your own aircraft, traveling the world and helping people along the way.