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By some estimates, more than 80 percent of the current pilot workforce will retire within the next several years. This drop in numbers has made being a pilot a highly desirable career, so it’s the perfect time to become a commercial pilot if you’re looking for a career change! Wondering what it takes to become a commercial pilot? We’ve got you covered.
You might have heard that only people with perfect vision are allowed to become pilots, but this isn’t true at all! Pilots are required to have 20/20 vision with or without correction, which means you can fly a plane while wearing glasses, contacts, or after you’ve had corrective surgery. As long as the result is 20/20 vision, you’re good to go.
Before you can become a full-fledged airline pilot, you will need to acquire about four professional licenses and at least two certifications, each one adding to your flight credentials. These include the Private Pilot License, Commercial Pilot License, Flight Instructor Certificate, and the Airline Transport Pilot License, as well as an Instrument Rating and Multi-Engine Rating. Most programs estimate the process takes about two years to complete.
As you can probably assume, you’re going to need to spend a lot of time flying to get each of these credentials; this is especially true of obtaining the Airline Transport Pilot License. The easiest way to get this experience is through a flight school or airline cadet program that allows you to learn and acquire flight hours all in one go.
Unfortunately, it takes quite a bit of money to become a commercial pilot. Thankfully, many airlines now have programs to reimburse the cost of flight school and the licenses themselves, which can cost thousands of dollars. Because there’s a shortage of pilots, it’s in the best interest of airline companies to help people join the profession.
As you get started on the path to becoming a commercial pilot, you’re going to need the right gear, including a flight bag, logbook, and headset. Each tool has its own purpose, and in most cases, you will need your own items rather than relying on the company to provide them to you.
Because of the current pilot shortage, you may find that airlines are dropping the requirement for a bachelor’s degree. However, it used to be standard in the industry and may become so again in the future as numbers keep changing. If you are going to college before starting your pilot training, it’s a good idea to get a degree in science or math and consider specializing in meteorology.
There’s never been a better time to start training as a commercial pilot. We hope this list gives you an idea of what to expect during your journey!
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