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How do I get Airline Pilot Training?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 17, 2024
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You can receive airline pilot training at a number of different facilities and through a few different basic career paths that can qualify you for operation of an airplane. Most paths toward qualified operation of an aircraft go through either some form of commercial or private airline pilot training or military training. Commercial training is typically more expensive, but may only require one or two years to complete and will allow you to begin logging hours as a commercial pilot. Military training, on the other hand, is typically free as it is provided by the military, but usually requires a greater commitment of time through military service.

Airline pilot training is a program that allows someone to learn how to properly operate and pilot an aircraft. This type of training can take a number of basic forms, though it usually includes a good amount of ground training through classes and work in simulators, as well as hundreds of hours of training in the air. The end result of airline pilot training is that a person is properly qualified and trained to operate a commercial airplane and can look for work in the airline industry.

One of the most common forms of airline pilot training is commercial or private training through some type of school. This can be obtained through a college or university that offers a program in aviation, though there are also flight schools that specifically focus on providing training for future pilots. Commercial pilot training usually only takes a year or two, though longer programs can be available, and begins with ground training in various aspects of aviation and simulations, before moving on to flight training. This flight training can be very expensive, however, and so the financial investment for private airline pilot training can greatly outweigh the time commitment.

The other common way to receive airline pilot training is through a branch of the military, such as the US Air Force. This training is usually very focused and disciplined, resulting in less time required for thorough training, and is paid for by the military. After completing the training, however, most people have to commit a certain number of years to serving in the military in exchange for the training they have received. This makes military airline pilot training a lengthy overall time investment, though it does not carry the financial strain that private training often involves. Further training will typically take place once someone is hired by a particular airline company, and this training will involve standards and practices for that company, rather than general aviation training.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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