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If you've always loved the idea of making a living by navigating the open skies, you're probably searching for aviation programs in your area to help you launch your new career. With the array of options available, you may be unsure of the best way to proceed. You may also be reluctant (or unable) to quit a full-time job and pay for training in order to pursue flying as a career. How will you balance a need to keep your entry costs low with the desire to get started in your new career as quickly as possible? Read on to learn more about your options and the timelines you may be able to expect when seeking a career with a commercial airline.
What will you need to do to become a certified airline pilot?
If you have only a high school education, or GED, you'll need to head back to class to become a pilot. While you'll be able to receive the necessary flight certifications without providing proof of a bachelor's degree, you aren't likely to be hired by any commercial airline without one. If you're currently in college, you'll want to carefully review the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) guidelines for course of study to ensure you've completed all the requisite physics and engineering credits before graduating. If you already have your degree, you may be able to qualify on the educational side by taking just a few extra courses at your local community college.
To become a certified commercial pilot, you'll also need to log approximately 1500 hours in the cockpit and take several lengthy verbal and written exams on flight procedures and other necessary information. Most of these hours will need to be with an instructor, although there are also some soloing requirements.
How long will your training be?
If you're just entering college, you may be able to complete your flight instruction and hours requirement during breaks from classes, allowing you to be hired by an airline as early as age 22. But if you're not starting on your flight lessons until after completing your degree, the length of training can vary widely, depending on the resources at your disposal.
For those whose budgets won't support quitting a primary job to attend a flight program full-time, the best option is often to get hours piecemeal through personal flight instruction. One way to offset these costs is by becoming a certified flight instructor. This is an ideal solution to help you log the number of hours you'll need while also being paid an hourly wage to supplement your full-time job.
The number of training hours needed to obtain a flight instruction certificate is much lower than that required of commercial airline pilots, and can usually be achieved through a short-term course of study and exam. You may want to inquire about programs available at your local airports -- often, these programs may have flight instructor positions open for recent graduates. In other situations, you'll be able to work on the private market, charging by the hour for lessons in the customer's own plane.
If money is less of a factor in your decision-making process than time, you could likely benefit from a private course of study through an aviation school. These courses are accelerated and give you the immersive experience of being a full-time pilot. They can be a great way to test-drive aviation as a career if you're unsure of any of the demands that this rewarding but tough course of study can bring. Because of the high number of hours you'll be logging in aviation school, you should be able to take your licensing exam in a fraction of the time you'd take if performing personal flight instruction.
Visit a site like http://www.parkland.edu/aviation to learn more about aviation college.Share