How To Become a Commercial Pilot

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How Long Does It Take, What Degree Do You Need, and More

Commercial Pilots

Commercial Pilots pilot and navigate the flight of fixed-wing aircraft on nonscheduled air carrier routes, or helicopters. Requires Commercial Pilot certificate. Includes charter pilots with similar certification, and air ambulance and air tour pilots. Excludes regional, national, and international airline pilots.

Becoming One
Bachelor's degree
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Interest Match

What degree do you need

Recommended degree level

Bachelor’s Degree

We did a survey to ask other Commercial Pilots what degree they had when they became a Commercial Pilot. Here are the results.
Bachelor’s Degree

a Post-Secondary Certificate

High School Diploma

One of the most common questions that we always get is what major or degree do I need to become Commercial Pilots or what courses do I need to take.

We also asked Commercial Pilots what did they major in college or university and here are the top 5 most popular majors that came up.

Airline/Commercial/Professional Pilot and Flight Crew
Flight Instructor

Commercial pilots typically need a high school diploma or equivalent. All pilots who are paid to fly must have at least a commercial pilot’s license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Commercial pilots typically begin their flight training with independent FAA-certified flight instructors or at schools that offer flight training.

How hard is it

Not Too Hard

You may need some previous work-related skill, knowledge or experience to be a Commercial Pilot. For example, an electrician must complete three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.

Careers in this difficulty category will usually need 1 or 2 years of on-the-job training and informal training with experienced workers. These careers usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Similar careers include hydroelectric production managers, travel agents, electricians, court reporters, and medical assistants.

Related work experience required
2 to 4 years

2 to 4 years

4 to 6 years

1 to 2 years

Job training
Up to 1 month

Up to 1 month

1 to 2 years

1 to 3 months

License and certifications

Do you need any license or certification
Must be certified by FAA

Those who are seeking a career as a commercial pilot typically get their licenses and ratings in the following order: Student Pilot Certificate, Private Pilot License, Instrument Rating, Commercial Pilot License.

Skills required

We asked other Commercial Pilots if they could only have 5 skills, what would they be. Here is what they said.

1. Operation and Control what does this mean
2. Operation Monitoring what does this mean
3. Critical Thinking what does this mean
4. Active Listening what does this mean
5. Judgement and Decision Making what does this mean

= Hot in-demand that most employers are looking for

Knowledge required

Just like any other job, you will need certain know-hows to excel at your job. Commercial Pilots are generally very knowledgeable in these 5 key areas.

1. Transportation what does this mean
2. Customer and Personal Service what does this mean
3. Public Safety and Security what does this mean
4. Mathematics what does this mean
5. English Language what does this mean

Learn more about Commercial Pilots

Job Description
Requirements (You are here)

Related to Commercial Pilots Requirements

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