How to Become a Commercial Pilot – 2024 Guide

There are those select few career paths that instantly put you in a very limited group of professionals not everyone can be a part of. Growing up, a lot of children dream big because that is who and what they are and what they are supposed to do. However, once we start to grow up and realize how much time, effort, education, and hard work is required for the best and most respected of jobs out there, it is no longer a legitimate choice but rather a “what if” or an “ideal world” scenario.

More often than not people view being a pilot as one of these jobs. Being able to fly planes is still a massive treat and a very difficult thing to accomplish. Despite planes being around for decades and modern technologies making it easier for pilots to fly and navigate, this skill takes years and years to develop and then years more to master. If you have ever wondered how one can become a commercial pilot, wonder no more. We will tell you exactly how right here in this article. Make sure to check out Skyeagle to find out more about this topic.

What are Commercial Pilots?

Being a pilot is not a universal thing and it hardly means that one can flu whichever plane and for whatever reason.

There is a strict procedure for all the different licenses and sets of skills. In terms of commercial piloting, people often believe that it is the same thing as airline piloting. Therefore, they assume that every commercial pilot is also an airline pilot. This is not the case. While an airline license is a type of commercial license, a commercial pilot is not always an airline pilot.

In terms of things they are carrying and the types of planes they are flying, commercial pilots can be cargo, your, or backcountry pilots as well. All of these are different jobs one and the same commercial pilot can do. They can also be flight instructors, or even ferry and glider tow pilots. The word commercial simply describes a person who has the FAA clearance to earn money for flying planes.


When it comes to flying scheduled passenger planes most of us have flown on, additional requirements need to be met and more training is needed. A commercial pilot certificate is a must of course, but so are others like the ATP, or Airline Transport Certificate. Therefore, for people who want to become pilots but not really fly the regular passenger planes that have become somewhat synonymous with piloting, there is always the commercial way.

How to Become One

In order to properly help you and give you the right information, we will now be talking more about the steps one has to take towards becoming a commercial pilot. It will probably seem much easier than you expected, but trust us, it is a difficult feat to accomplish. However, with enough hard work, dedication, and perseverance, you can become one of the select people able to touch the sky on a daily basis.

1. Know and Meet the Basic Requirements

There are some straightforward, general requirements you have to know and then of course fulfill before you can actually begin this new journey. Every applicant must be at least 18 years old and able to write, read, and speak the English language at a high level. You should already own a private pilot certificate, something you obtain following your initial pilots’ training. The most difficult requirement that prevents most people from obtaining their commercial license is the 250 hours of flight needed before they become eligible. If you have already flown for this amount of time, you are more than ready to take the next step.

2. Second Class Medical Certificate

Next up on the list is a new medical certificate. You have probably already went through the initial medical exam required for your original license, but for this new and better one you must prove that you are healthy in a new way. The 2nd class medical certificate is a must for every commercial license. There is a reason it is so high up the list and actually the first thing you have to do. It is an elimination step but there have been people who completed their commercial training only to realize they cannot pass the medical.


3. FAA Written Exam

Here is another similarity to your private certificate. After you have cleared the medical, there is a written exam where you have to prove you have expanded knowledge about flying and planes. What is more, this is also a refresher course and a way to revise what you already know just to be sure. There is nothing complicated about it. Studying for will take a certain amount of time but it is more than necessary for such a responsible career. When you pass this, it is all about flying.

4. Starting to Fly

As mentioned, you already have to be quite experienced before flying your first commercial plane. Although you may already have 250 hours already under your belt, 100 must be as the pilot in command, and 50 have to be cross country flying. Then comes your commercial pilot training in the form of 10 hours of instrument training and 10 hours in more complex aircrafts and according to IcarusJet, during these new classes you will be shown more complicated and specialized maneuvers. Moreover, you will have to prove your precision and consistency, more so than with your private pilot training. Longer flights will become a regular thing, since you will need at least one 300-nautical-mile flight and a single leg 250-mile flight.


5. The Checkride

Finally, the last step before you get your license is the check ride. Your instructor will be the one to sign you off for it and all you have to do is some groundwork as a test and a quick, single flight. Think of it as the driving part of your drivers’ license exam, practical work where you will show to the officials why you deserve the license. It is the same exact thing you did for the private training, with slightly higher stakes. Make sure you are professional at all times while the instructors and officials are there and remember to follow all the rules and regulations. If you do so, there is no reason to expect anything but a successful test flight and a license that will soon follow.

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