Becoming a Pilot Through ATP Flight School

How to Become a Pilot

You can become a pilot. ATP has helped thousands of men and women just like you become professional pilots. Below are the basic steps for becoming a pilot and earning a private pilot certificate.

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  1. Step 1: Research Pilot Schools

    The first step in becoming a pilot is to research your flight training options. Learn and compare available programs offered by flight schools, and pick the best match for your aviation goals. Request Program Information »

  2. Step 2: Take an Introductory Training Flight Lesson

    Taking an introductory training flight lesson will help you see first-hand the training, aircraft, and quality of instruction a flight school will offer you. It is also a great way to get a better sense of what it's like to fly from behind the controls. Get Started with a Free Online Lesson »

  3. Step 3: Apply for FAA Medical Certificate

    Pilots must meet basic medical requirements to fly. If you want to fly professionally, you must meet higher medical standards than recreational pilots and should apply for a first class medical certificate through an Aeromedical Examiner (AME).

  4. Step 4: Apply for FAA Student Pilot Certificate

    Apply for a student pilot certificate through the FAA's Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) website (your flight instructor can help with this). While you don't need a student pilot certificate to start flying lessons, you will need it to fly solo during your training.

  5. Step 5: Start Flight Training Lessons

    Start taking flight training lessons and begin working towards obtaining the aeronautical knowledge and pilot training experience requirements needed to become a private pilot.

  6. Step 6: Pass Private Pilot Knowledge Test

    During your private pilot flight training, you will need to take and pass the computer-based FAA private pilot knowledge test. To be eligible for the test, you must receive an endorsement from your flight instructor.

  7. Step 7: Pass Private Pilot Practical Exam

    The final step in earning your FAA private pilot certificate is to take a practical exam with a Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE). This exam consists of both an oral and a flight portion, and once completed you will be a private pilot.

You Can Become a Pilot — Here's Your Next Step »

Get started today and gain access to following free resources:

  • Discover Financing Options
  • Intro Training Flight Online Lesson
  • Online Self-Study Modules
  • Information Pack by Mail

How Long Does it Take to Become a Pilot?

Outlined below is how long it takes to become a pilot in ATP's fast track, accelerated Airline Career Pilot Program.

Starting from Zero Time Starting with Credit for Private
Private Pilot 3 Months
Commercial Pilot 4 Months 4 Months
Certified Flight Instructor 2 Months 2 Months
Total Duration 9 Months 6 Months

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How Much Does it Cost to Become a Pilot?

ATP never quotes prices based on unrealistic minimum flight time requirements and instead provides up-front, fixed-cost pricing for becoming a pilot. Below is the pricing for becoming a professional pilot in ATP's Airline Career Pilot Program.

Airline Career Pilot Program
40 Hours Multi-Engine
Airline Career Pilot Program
100 Hours Multi-Engine
Private Pilot
(Includes 80 Hours Flight Time)
$16,000 $16,000
Instrument Rating,
Commercial Pilot,
& Certified Flight Instructor
$53,995 $63,995
Total Fixed Price $69,995 $79,995

What are the Requirements to Become a Pilot?

Below is an outline of the FAA's pilot eligibility requirements and what it takes to become a pilot. See also ATP's Airline Career Pilot Program admission requirements.

Private Pilot Commercial Pilot Airline Transport Pilot
Language Be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language.
Age 17 18 21
Total Flight Time 40 Hours 250 Hours 1,500 Hours
(How do I get 1500 hours of flight time?)
Tests & Exams Knowledge Test & Practical Exam Knowledge Test & Practical Exam ATP CTP, Knowledge Test, & Practical Exam

You Can Become a Pilot — Here's Your Next Step »

Get started on your career as an airline pilot today and gain access to following free resources:

  • Discover Financing Options
  • Intro Training Flight Online Lesson
  • Online Self-Study Modules
  • Information Pack by Mail