a pilot

How to Become a Licensed Commercial Pilot

• Learn the necessary training and education requirements to become a commercial pilot, including passing tests set by the FAA and taking flight tests. 

• Build up your flying hours and gain experience in the air to be certified as a commercial pilot.

• Pursue additional certifications such as multi-engine and instrument ratings, becoming a certified flight instructor, and getting a UAS certification.

• Understand why you may have failed a flight test and take the necessary steps to correct any errors or oversights. 

Flying a commercial aircraft requires considerable skill and the right licenses. This is because you will be responsible for carrying passengers and cargo safely from one destination to another. Fortunately, many people today are interested in learning how to become licensed commercial pilots. The process involves taking courses and passing tests, but it can be an incredibly rewarding experience for those who put in the effort. Here’s a look at what you need to know to start your journey as a commercial pilot.

Training and Education Requirements

The first step to becoming a commercial pilot is completing your training and earning your license. It only makes sense to get your training and experience from qualified instructors. Here are your pointers:

Pass Tests Set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

To become a licensed commercial pilot, you’ll need to pass tests set by the FAA. These may include written exams, oral and practical tests, and simulator training sessions. These tests assess your skills and competency in air law, flight safety and procedures, navigation, meteorology, aircraft systems knowledge, instruments, and emergency operations.

Take Flight Tests for Your License

Once you have completed your commercial multi-engine training, it’s time to take the flight tests to earn your commercial pilot license. These tests may include a check ride, an examination, and a performance evaluation conducted by an FAA-approved examiner. During the flight test, you’ll demonstrate your skills in flying aircraft and maneuvering it precisely and accurately.

Gain Flight Experience

Once you’ve successfully passed your tests, it’s time to gain experience in the air. You’ll need to log a certain amount of flying hours before being certified as a commercial pilot. The exact number of flight hours varies depending on what type of aircraft you will be flying and the role you will be playing in the cockpit. Before becoming a commercial pilot, you should generally log at least 1,000 hours of total flying time and 250 hours of pilot-in-command experience.

A pilot in the cabin flying a commercial aircraft

Keep Your License Current

As with any profession, staying current on industry developments and regulatory changes is important. To retain your pilot’s license, you should follow these tips:

  • Keep up to date with new rules and regulations
  • Maintain a current medical certificate
  • Complete the necessary recurrent training courses
  • Stay abreast of the latest technologies
  • Take refresher courses in aviation safety

Additional Certifications

In addition to your Commercial Pilot Certificate from the FAA, you may want to pursue additional certifications to further enhance your commercial pilot career prospects. Here are your considerations:

Get the Proper Ratings in Multi-Engine

Flying a multi-engine means you’re flying a commercial aircraft. The complexity of the maneuvers required to fly safely in these conditions requires specific training, experience, and knowledge of commercial regulations and piloting techniques. A commercial multi-engine training program will teach you everything you need to know for commercial flight, including aircraft systems, navigation, instrument flying, air law, aviation weather, and more.

Get Certified in Instrument Ratings

Instruments are an important part of commercial flight and can be complex to navigate. Instrument rating certification allows you to fly in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC)—when visibility is reduced due to cloud cover or other environmental factors.

Become a Certified Flight Instructor

You may want to consider becoming a certified flight instructor (CFI). A CFI is responsible for training and evaluating student pilots and can be an invaluable experience in developing your own skills as a commercial pilot. A CFI certification on your resume will make you more attractive to employers. It will help demonstrate your commitment to the profession.

Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Certification

This certification is for those interested in flying a drone for commercial purposes. A UAS certification will allow you to operate an unmanned aircraft system (UAS) safely and legally and understand the regulations regarding using these systems. Additionally, having a UAS certification on your resume will give you an advantage when applying for jobs as a commercial pilot.

Operating a military drone

What Happens When You Fail a Flight Test

If you fail a flight test, it’s important to understand why and take the necessary steps to correct any errors or oversights. The problems are often related to a need for more flying experience or knowledge of aircraft systems and procedures. The good thing is you can still move forward and retake the test after studying and gaining more experience. It’s common for pilots to fail tests the first time around, so don’t be discouraged.

The aviation industry is exciting and rewarding; becoming a licensed commercial pilot is no small feat. But if you have the dedication, training, experience, and certifications needed to become a successful pilot, the sky’s the limit! So get started on your journey today. The rewards will be worth it.


Jimmy Carson

Jimmy is a lifelong car and motorcycle enthusiast with a deep passion for the world of automobiles. As a seasoned rider and automotive expert, Jimmy has spent years exploring the open roads, testing vehicles, and sharing his knowledge with fellow enthusiasts. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for storytelling, Jimmy's articles are informative, engaging, and insightful. Whether he's reviewing the latest models, sharing tips for maintenance and customization, or recounting his exhilarating travel adventures, Jimmy's writing captures the essence of the automotive world and inspires readers to embark on their own unforgettable journeys.

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