How About a Career as a Commercial Pilot?


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Being a commercial pilot is not as hard as you might think, and the demand for pilot’s due to the growth of regional airlines and corporate aviation travel is making this a great aviation opportunity. And the demand for aviation education focused flight instructors is about to get very good.

Until I visited my local airport and just started hanging around, I never knew that this was something I could do someday. And even more important was that by working at something that was fun I actually enjoyed studying and looked forward to every day.

To me there is something really special about learning to fly and being a student pilot was the most special time of my life. What I was looking for was a new mountain to climb and something that would make me feel good about my life, and I found it in aviation training. So much so that instead of going to an airline career as a pilot, my goal was to be a flight instructor and help other people change their lives and reach new goals.

When I first thought about a career in aviation the price really scared me away as a flight education was expensive, at least to me. However with the student loans that are available and the fact that flying lessons were just so much fun it all started to make sense.

In order to look into the idea of being a commercial pilot there are some things you will need to research however there are over 1200 flight schools that can help you. So what’s the first step? Well the first step is to learn some terms.

Student Pilot

A pilot that is learning how to fly, at the stage in your aviation training you fly with a flight instructor until you are skilled enough to fly on your own. Usually in 15-20 hours. After about 65 hours then you become a Private Pilot.

Private Pilot

This means that you can fly with passengers and go places. The great thing about being a private pilot is that “the world will become a smaller place” as my first flight instructor told me. To become a Private pilot it will cost anywhere from $4500 to $9000.

Instrument Rating

The instrument rating will allow you to fly in the clouds and when visibility is not that good. The instrument rating will cost about $4000 to $5000.

Commercial Pilot

This takes the most time and cost the most money. You will need some specialized training and it will cost about $10,000, however there are many ways to reduce this cost to make it much more affordable. In fact a great deal more. What now? Now that you are a Commercial Pilot you will need to build some experience and most people do this by becoming a Flight Instructor and teaching others how to fly. Not only will you make money while you learn more, but you will have so much fun.

Commercial pilots start at about $18,000 per year then rapidly rise to $60,000 and then up to $100,000. This depends on many factors. Notice I keep saying “it depends” – there are many options and variables on the road to being an airline pilot. In fact I tell people at my Learn to Fly seminars that the hardest part of learning to fly is trying to figure out how the process works!

Visit your local airport and flight school to learn more, it truly a career that will make a difference in your life.

About the Author
Gary Bradshaw is a Commercial Pilot, Flight Instructor that has earned the FAA’s “Gold Seal” for flight training success. He speaks around the country at flight schools on flight training. In his spare time he runs one of the largest aviation websites on the internet at


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