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Career Paths & Planning

How to Become a Pilot

4 min readβ€’november 29, 2021


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How to Become a PilotΒ 

Remember the Disney-Pixar movie Planes? πŸŽ₯
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GIF courtesy of GIPHY

In the movie, the planes flew themselves, and although that seems fascinating, this is not the case in real lifeβ€”at least, yet. Instead, we have excellent pilots, who help fly our planes so that we can get from one place to another, safely and soundly. πŸ‘¨β€βœˆοΈπŸ”‰

What is a Pilot? πŸ€”

A pilot is someone who is knowledgeable about flying and navigating planes and helicopters. 🚁
They sometimes work for specific airline companies, transporting passengers from one area to another, by means of flight. Other pilots work to facilitate rescue operations (think: wildfires or police operations) and provide charter flights. πŸͺπŸ’Ί

What are the Duties of a Pilot? πŸ”¨

Pilots are often in charge of: πŸ“‹
  • Helping transporting passengers πŸ›³οΈ
  • Analyzing weather patterns 🌑️
  • Inspecting equipment and operation systems πŸŽ›οΈ
  • Determining safe routes πŸ—ΊοΈ
  • Calculating fuel β›½

Different Types of Pilots:πŸ‘¨β€βœˆοΈ

  • Airline Transport Pilots ✈️
  • Aerial Firefighter πŸš’
  • Sightseeing and Tour Pilots 🎫
  • Business Pilots πŸ’ΌΒ 
  • Freight Pilots πŸ“¦
  • CFI - Flight Instructor πŸ‘©β€πŸ«
  • Commercial Pilots πŸ˜€
  • Private Pilots 😎
  • Helicopter Pilots 🚁
  • Agricultural Pilots πŸ‘©β€πŸŒΎ
  • FBI Pilots πŸ•΅οΈβ€β™€οΈ
  • Medical Transport Pilots πŸ₯
  • Law Enforcement Pilots βš–οΈ

What Are the Requirements to Become a Pilot? βœ…

To become a pilot, there are a few requirements that you must meet:
  • An undergraduate degree is sometimes required; this varies by the airline you are hired by. πŸŽ“
  • You must have a commercial plot certificate (multi-engine airplane) and FCC radio license. πŸ†
  • You must have had 1,500 flight hours of experience. πŸ›¬
  • You must obtain an Airline Transport Pilot certificate. πŸ†
  • You must be 21 years of age. 🍰

Which Colleges Are Good to Attend for Pilots? πŸŽ“

Many good colleges offer exceptional aviation programs! Some of the well-renowned schools are listed below:
  • Purdue School of Aviation and Technology
  • University of North Dakota Department of Aviation
  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • Lewis University
  • Ohio State University’s Center for Aviation Studies
  • Western Michigan University
  • Baylor University
  • Utah Valley University
  • The United States Air Force Academy
  • Louisiana Tech University
  • LeTourneau University
πŸ’‘ For more details and a list of the best aviation schools in 2021, check out this link! πŸ‘

Internships πŸ—£

If you are interested in the field and want to get a feel for what it is like to be a pilot, check out the opportunities listed below!Β 

Online Courses 🧩

There are a variety of online courses, paid (πŸ€‘) and free (πŸ†“) that you can start to take as a high schooler! They are entirely virtual! Check out websites like Udemy, Coursera, and edX for thousands of classes you might be interested in! 😌

Work Conditions πŸ’ͺ

Pilots spend most of their working hours on the plane. If you are an airplane pilot, you also spend a lot of time traveling and in different countries/cities depending on your airline company. Most pilots fly 75 hours a month and work 150 hours doing other things like checking weather and preparing for future departures. πŸŒπŸ¦†

Job Outlook ⌚

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 13% increase in employment for pilots between the years 2020 and 2030. This is an AMAZING field to be in, as the job outlook is increasing faster than average, meaning there will be more jobs available! πŸš€

Salary πŸ’Έ

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020, the yearly salary for pilots was $130,440.Β 
❗ Remember: Salary depends on the position, qualifications, experience, and education an individual has received!

Want More Options? πŸ€”

Are you interested in the work of pilots but want more options? Don’t worry; we’re here to help!Β 
Below is a list of some jobs which deal with similar aspects of aviation! πŸ˜‰
  • Flight Attendant
  • Air Traffic Controller
  • Truck/Bus Driver (i.e. public transportation)
  • Aircraft Inspection and Maintenance
  • Aeronautical Engineering
  • Airport Emergency Services
  • Aircraft Sales and Customer Liaison

Closing Remarks on Becoming a Pilot πŸ‘‹

After learning about a pilot’s duties and area of study, are you inclined to learn more? Check out the opportunities and courses listed below to gain some more exposure! Good luck (πŸ€) with exploring and pursuing your passions! ❀️‍πŸ”₯
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