How To Become A Commercial Pilot in 2024 Schools, Salary, & Cost

Do you love to explore space and would one day wish to fly an aircraft? Becoming a commercial pilot is a way to go and could serve as a preparatory ground for you in aviation. See how to become one and the necessary documents it will take in 2024.

In taking you through the lane of what this career path entails, we’ll also show you how much it costs to become one and the job outlook for it.

There also won’t be an exclusion in a commercial pilot’s average salary. Please, stay put!

Kindly go through the table of contents below to see how to bring your dream to reality.

Who Is A Commercial Pilot?

A lot of times we have mistaken one term for the other and the commercial pilot isn’t an exception. Therefore, to fully understand where this article is driving, it is expedient that we tell you who a commercial pilot is.

So, a commercial pilot is one who exhibits some level of skills in flying an aircraft and has also earned his or her license. This allows them to be compensated for their services.

Apart from the fact that a commercial pilot sees that goods, services, and people are transported from one place to another, he or she adds style and vigor to the whole stuff.

There is more to being a commercial pilot than just steering an aircraft whichever way it so deems fit.

Additionally, a commercial pilot can fly for hire. Although they might not necessarily be working for a particular airline, they can be engaged in rescue operations, firefighting, aerial photography, crop dusting, and lots more.

What Does A Commercial Pilot Do?

Basically, a commercial pilot under the employment of a charter company has many non-flight duties such as maintenance arrangement, Flight schedules, and loading of luggage.

Aside from those duties mentioned above, the following are the job duties is as follows:

  • Ensuring that all cargo has been fully loaded and that the weight of the aircraft is balanced
  • Checks weather condition, fuel, and flight bookings
  • Monitoring engines, fuel consumptions, and other systems during flight
  • Ensuring a smooth take-off and landing
  • Contacting the control tower for both the taking off and arrival instructions
  • Follows a checklist of preflight checks on hydraulics, engines, and other systems

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What Are The Requirements To Become A Commercial Pilot?

Several requirements abound for you to be able to become a commercial pilot. Let’s take a look at them one after the other.


These skills are what make an eligible commercial pilot before educational considerations can be made. Therefore, a commercial pilot must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Possess excellent communication skills
  • Have good vision
  • Be balanced physically and healthwise
  • Possess a background knowledge of aeronautics.

Educational Requirements

A commercial pilot usually needs a high school diploma or its equivalent.

You will also be required to complete a flight training with FAA light instructors that are certified or friom school that train people regarding flight.

Interestingly, some of these schools are 2 or 4-year colleges and universities.

Train as a Private Pilot

The basics of being a commercial pilot starts with training as a private pilot. This is to enable you to learn the basics of flight processes, operations, maintenance, airport communications, and manoeuvring.

Majority of flight schools offer private training courses as a requirement for commercial pilot training.

What this does is to enable students to go through the necessary stress without much stress.

Medical Requirements

Having trained as a private pilot, the next requirement is for you to get a 2nd class medical certificate to enable you to enjoy the privileges of being a commercial pilot.

Also, this medical certificate further proves that you have no sort of impairment that can hinder you from flying an aircraft.

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How Much Does It Cost?

Apparently, you can’t just wake up one blessed morning, jump into an aircraft, and even want to fly it as a commercial pilot.

There is a prize you have to pay for it: undergoing training either in an aviation school or an airline career program to become certified.

Therefore, as presented by ATP, below is a representation of how much it will cost you to become a commercial pilot whether you are starting with a private pilot certificate or starting with no experience at all.

Start from
Private Pilot Certificate
Start from
Zero Experience
Aviation Tuition to Become a Commercial Pilot
Flight Training Cost $63,995 $80,995
Additional Expenses (Not Included in Program)
FAA Examiners’ Fees & Knowledge Test Fees
(Paid Directly to Examiner & Third-Party Provider)
$7,400 $8,200
ForeFlight Subscription $80 (discounted) $80 (discounted)
Housing (Optional) $5,200 $8,000
iPad, Headset, Flight Bag & Other Pilot Gear $1,600 (varies) $1,600 (varies)

Where Does A Commercial Pilot Work?

Basically, a commercial pilot works for airlines companies, and can as well work for the federal government, express delivery companies, charter companies, private businesses, and even flight schools.

Regardless of where and who they work for, one sure thing is that they spend a reasonable time out of their homes.

What Is The Salary And Job Outlook Of A Commercial Pilot?

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the average salary for a commercial pilot is $77,200.

A lot of factors determine the amount this professional takes home in the end and they are as follows: type of industry, location, and experience.

For instance, the annual salary for a commercial pilot in New Hampshire is about $113,020 while same person in Virginia earns about $85,820 annually.

Also, according to the same, it is projected that the job growth will grow by 8% in the next 10 years which is relatively faster compared to other jobs.

Most job openings will arise from the need to renew pilots who move from their occupations permanently over the projection period.

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How To Become A Licensed Commercial Pilot

To qualify for a license as a commercial pilot, you must be 18 years of age and the following are also things that need to be put in place to become licensed.

Pass Required Tests

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) practical test is used to test the candidate’s ability in performing different operational tasks.

So, to attain licensure, you must pass this exam to show your knowledge of navigation, safety, and regulations.

It requires that you meet some standards and display expertise in flying.

Pursue Additional Certification

How Long Does It Take To Become A Commercial Pilot?

The required time needed to complete this training is a little over six months.

This is with the inclusion of obtaining your license at the ATP flight school and with the zero experience level.

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Which Schools Offer Trainings In This Career Path?

The schools where you can get trained in this career field are listed as follows and in no particular order.

  • Eastern Michigan University
  • Louisiana Tech University
  • Kansas State University
  • Southern Illinois University
  • University of North Dakota
  • Utah State University
  • Eastern Kentucky University
  • Metropolitan State College of Denver
  • University of Louisiana
  • Indiana State University


Do I need a college degree to become a commercial pilot?

It is necessary you get a degree in any of the aviation-related courses to boost your background knowledge but, it is not mandatory

How long does it take to become a commercial pilot?

It takes about 6 months to become a commercial pilot.

Who is a commercial pilot?

This is one who exhibits some level of skills in flying an aircraft and has also earned his or her license and is also compensated for his services.


In the aviation field, there are a lot of opportunities there. The commercial pilot still requires a good number of hard work and commitment.

Therefore, whether or not you want to become a commercial pilot for the fun of it or you enjoy exploring the space, I really do hope that you make the most out of it.


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