Updated: May 3
Its not easy getting your Pilots License, it will take time and good weather. Deciding on what route you will take to achieve getting your license is the hard part. There are many different licenses and ways to get your license. If you are looking for a more relaxed method then I would suggest taking your time and doing it at an Aeroclub or flying school that caters to part-time self-paying students (Self-studying and flying school tips and tricks). The other common way to get your license quickly is through a flying school that has VET Fee or a full-time flying course. Choosing which is better depends on a couple of factors that I will discuss such as Time, Cost, Flexibility, and access to flying schools.
Timing your flying training:
Time plays a big role when deciding on your license, timing the market for a job can be vital when taking on the task of getting your license. If the market is slow with jobs and back logged then it may be wise to go the slower method of getting your license and getting it through a club or flying school privately. As you complete your training you want to be able to apply for jobs straight away before you lose your recency and have to go back to paying to fly and stay current. If the jobs market is 'hot' and students are getting their first jobs without any issue then it might be wise to take on a full flying program and get your license in a reduced time frame so you can get out into the market and start flying and gaining experience.
If you are flying privately you do not want to want to span the period between flights too long as your tend to go backward from what you learned and can waste more money having to repeat previous lessons and trying to practice basics. Generally, a week to two weeks max depending on the student's ability is what I recommend. If you think it is taking too long to complete your license then I would consider taking larger flying chunks to complete your training. Save and try to take time off your work or education to complete as much flying in a week or two at the same time. The best method with time and your training is to try and compete is as soon as possible with multiple flights a week. However; time and money can play a role. If you don't have the funds this can affect your decision on which flying school to use.
Cost of flight training:
The biggest deciding factor associated with flying and this happened to myself particularly, is the fact and cost of flying. When I was looking into flying I had very little cash saving, I was a student straight out of school with not a dollar to my name. Hence I went down the route of studying through a full program and University Degree.
Nowadays many flying schools will have a Vet Fee program that allows a student to enroll into aviation units that allow them to get their Diploma of Flying which involves getting your CPL and MECIR. Using a Vet Fee program to get your flying license is generally more expensive than doing it privately.
The flying schools must include an increase in price due to the fact that it takes a lot of time and money to hold and provide Vet Fee from the Government. If you can afford to do your flying privately you will definitely save anywhere from $20-60K on fees when you compare some of the flying schools offering a program against the cost to do it privately for the same amount of flying hours. When making your decision its always best to have more money then less as if you fail or have to repeat exams and flying lessons it gets very expensive. I would highly recommend having a savings buffer for your flying expenses around 5% for anyone doing it privately or through a course.
How many hours do you need to get a flying job?
Depending on the job role most require a minimum of 150hrs, which is the requirement for a commercial pilot's license. As you look to get into bigger, faster, and more complex aircraft the hour requirements will increase. Such jobs which require you to fly a turboprop or twin engine will need at least 1500 hours. The airlines in America require 1500 hours for the ATP license that will allow you to fly as a first officer in the airline.
What is the minimum amount of flight hours to get a job flying?
The minimum amount of flight hours to get your commercial license is 150 hours. The entry-level jobs will generally be paid little and require you to build hours to get better flying jobs. Once you have 500 hours you could start looking at progressing into IFR or twin aircraft. The demand and progression as a pilot depend on the job industry.
Do you need a degree to become a pilot?
No, you do not need a degree to get a flying job, most airlines will consider it highly, and some American Airlines will even reduce the hours required with a higher education degree.
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