L3Harris Flight Academy

How to Become a Commercial Pilot in the U.S.A.

Getting your commercial pilot license and becoming a pilot with L3Harris Flight Academy is an investment in your future. If you want to study in the U.S.A. and want to know how to become a pilot in Florida, we have the facilities and training expertise at our central Florida Flight Academy to prepare our cadets for an exciting and rewarding career as a commercial airline pilot.

Ask us a question    Programs and courses

Entry Requirements to Be an Airline Pilot

To start your journey to become a pilot in the U.S., prospective cadets need to meet entry criteria. Please visit each of our pilot training programs and courses for full entry criteria. To apply for a commercial airline pilot training program, you will need to meet the following requirements:

  • At least 17 years old in order to receive your Private Pilot Certificate
  • Proficient in reading, writing, speaking, and understanding English
  • A high school graduate or GED completer
  • Able to obtain an FAA medical certificate

All requirements     Request info

Start your journey


How to Get Your Commercial Pilot License in the U.S.A. at a Glance:

How do you become an airline pilot? You need to undergo commercial airline pilot training and exhibit the necessary skills to succeed. At a glance, let’s look at they key steps to becoming a commercial pilot:

  • You will need a Commercial Pilot License and 1,500 flying hours to earn your Airline Transport Pilot Certificate and become an airline pilot
  • It takes an average of 10-22.5 months to complete your flight school training - depending on the program you choose - before going on to obtain your 1,500 flying hours
  • What does it take to become a commercial pilot? You will undertake FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) approved pilot training courses and programs
  • Our Accelerated Airline Pilot Track (AAPT) can be the most direct route to becoming a pilot. The Flight Instructor Certificate with Instrument Rating (CFI-I) means on graduation you will be guaranteed an interview to become a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) with L3Harris in Sanford
  • Alongside the qualifications and requirements to be an airline pilot, you will need passion, self-discipline, technical aptitude, problem-solving skills, teamwork, spatial awareness, and the ability to make decisions under pressure to become a successful pilot

Request info     Programs and courses

Research Pilot Schools and Commercial Airline Pilot Training Programs

As part of a global aviation business, on top of the benefits of being a pilot, cadets have access to the latest training technologies and systems to aid them during their commercial airline pilot training.

Our Florida Flight School is well equipped with over 100 aircraft and five Flight Training Devices!

If you want to learn more about how to become a pilot in Florida, we hold and attend regular events across the country where you can meet the team and get a feel for life at L3Harris Flight Academy.

Latest events     Request info

L3Harris Flight Instructors

Three Ways to Become a Pilot With L3Harris

Accelerated Airline Pilot Track (AAPT)
  • The fastest route to a pilot career - qualify in 12 months
  • Qualify to act as a First Officer with one of the airlines we work with
  • You could borrow up to 100% of the cost of airline pilot training

Full course details

International Program (PPP)
  • Our program for international students
  • Full-time course
  • Designed for those who aim to work for an airline
  • Qualify in as little as 15 months

Full course details

Private Pilot License
  • Earn your Private Pilot Certificate
  • Fly as a hobby or the starting point to a career in the skies

Full course details

All training programs

Start Your Pilot Journey With L3Harris

Now you know some of the steps involved in becoming a commercial airline pilot, what should you do next? There are three key steps!

  1. Reach out to our Admissions team. You can do that by pressing any request info button on this page
  2. Research your funding options. Training to become a commercial pilot at L3Harris Flight Academy can be funded by flight school loans and external scholarships. Our team can also assist you through this process
  3. Apply! Once you've spoken or met with the team, chosen your program and got your funding set, you're ready to apply

Request info     Funding options

Up in the sky

Pilot Jobs Available When I Graduate

Most applicants who wish to become a pilot in the U.S.A. aspire to fly for a commercial airline. Our commercial airline pilot training programs and courses are all designed to prepare you for a role as a First Officer on a passenger aircraft. 

At L3Harris Flight Academy, we help you achieve your ultimate career goal by offering all our graduates an interview to become a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) – one of the best ways of building flight hours.

We also invite representatives from our airline partners to visit the campus and interview our cadets and Flight Instructors, providing valuable opportunities to secure your future pilot career.

Airline relationships       Request info

GoJet and our students

I wanted to make flying the career for me, which led me to make this 10,000-mile journey halfway across the world to pursue the Professional Pilot Program at L3Harris Flight Academy.

Academy Testimonial Sharonjeet Dhillon Sharonjeet Dhillon L3Harris graduate
See all our pilot success stories

Commercial Airline Pilot Training FAQs

What are the different pilot license types?

Deciding what type of pilot you want to be will help you get on track to obtain the right certification for your future career. There are four main types of pilot licenses:

  1. Student Pilot Certificate - You need a Student Pilot Certificate to fly alone in any aircraft which is essential to begin your training as a pilot.
  2. Private Pilot License - A Private Pilot License will teach you the basic flight maneuvers enabling you to fly a small aircraft for non-commercial purposes. This certification is suitable for cadets looking to become a private pilot.
  3. Commercial Pilot License - A CPL provides you with advanced knowledge and skills of flying including pre-flight prep, procedures, FAA regulations, aircraft control, performance and multi-engine operations. This certification is suitable for cadets looking to become a commercial pilot as it does not enable you to fly for an airline.
  4. Airline Transport Pilot License - a ATP License is the highest level of pilot certificate and is required if you want to become a pilot for an airline in the US. This certification is suitable for cadets looking to become an airline pilot.

Request info

How long do our flight training programs take?

How long it takes to become a commercial pilot is dependent on the pilot training program you choose to complete.

Request info

How much can I expect to earn as a pilot?

As a commercial airline pilot, you can expect to receive a salary above the average. However, your actual salary will differ depending on whether you fly for a major or regional airline.

Newly qualified pilots typically start out at a regional airline. Regional airline pilots are typically paid less than those at major airlines.

Request info

What characteristics do I need to become a pilot?

  • Excellent communication skills
  • Ability to work well in a team
  • Demonstrate leadership skills
  • Excellent spatial awareness and coordination skills
  • Ability to remain calm under pressure (emotional stability)
  • Self-confidence
  • Desire to learn
  • Decisiveness & quick-thinking skills

Request info

Do I need to have perfect vision to become a commercial airline pilot?

No, you do not need to have perfect vision to become an airline pilot. As long as your vision is not impaired with 20/20 glasses or contact lenses and successfully obtains an FAA-approved first-class medical certificate, you are eligible to fly as a commercial airline pilot.

You can be colorblind and still become a pilot depending on the severity and what colors you can and cannot recognize. Your color vision will be assessed as part of your first-class medical exam which will determine whether you have the requirements to operate a commercial aircraft.

Request info

Do I need a degree to become a commercial pilot?

What do you need to become a commercial pilot? You do not need a degree to become a commercial airline pilot. 

Whilst it is not compulsory to have a university degree before training to become a pilot it could open up more opportunities to work in the aviation industry.

Request info

What would my day look like as a pilot?

As a commercial airline pilot working from a regional or major airline you can expect to work weekdays, evenings, weekends, and holidays. Commercial pilots are responsible for navigating and flying passengers and cargo planes from A to B safely and efficiently.

You will be responsible for:

  • Performing pre-and-post-flight aircraft inspections
  • Planning and selecting safe flight routes with First Officers
  • Identifying and problem-solving risks that may occur
  • Keeping accurate records for compliance reasons
  • Communicating with air traffic control regarding the flight plan, air traffic, weather and other external factors which may impact the flight
  • Monitoring aircraft engines, fuel levels, and aircraft systems
  • Flying the aircraft using visual flight rules and instruments

Request info

How to apply to flight school?

Once you are ready to apply you can submit the full application form online. 

Once through selection, it will be time to move into your accommodation and begin your course or program. Our Student Services Team can assist with orientation, housing, transportation, and student affairs. We also coordinate extra-curricular activities to help you and your fellow student cadets have fun and get to know one another.

Request info

Request Info Today!

Please complete the form below to contact our team for more information on our Flight Academy.

Your privacy

Your right to privacy is important to us. The personal information that you submit in this form will be used to provide you with information relating to L3Harris that may be of interest to you. Please read our Privacy Policy for more information.