L3Harris Flight Academy

Requirements & qualifications to become a pilot

Becoming a pilot is a life-changing career. One that sees you take to the skies in an office above the clouds; you’ll get to travel the world whilst making life-long friends and experiencing different countries and cultures.

Our commercial pilot training programs

At L3Harris Flight Academy, we have a host of pilot training programs that will help you on your journey to becoming a commercial airline pilot.

Professional Pilot Program - This program is ideal for cadets looking to pursue a career as a Flight Instructor or as an airline pilot. Upon completion, you will graduate with a Private Pilot Certificate, Commercial Single and Multi-Engine Certificate, Instrument Rating and Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) Certificate. Graduates will be guaranteed an interview to become a Flight Instructor and have access to pilot pathways with our 10 affiliate airlines.

  • Cost: $83,995
  • Duration: 56 weeks
  • Location: Sanford, Florida

Accelerated Airline Pilot Track - This program has been designed for cadets whose goal is to pursue a career in aviation, training them to become Certified Flight Instructors or commercial pilots in as little as 12 months. Upon completion, you will graduate with a Private Pilot Certificate, Commercial Single-Engine Certificate, Instrument Rating and Flight Instructor (CFI) Certificate and Flight Instructor Rating. Graduates will be guaranteed an interview to become a Flight Instructor and have access to pilot pathways with our 10 affiliate airlines.

  • Cost: $83,995
  • Duration: 12 months
  • Location: Sanford, Florida

Commercial Pilot Track - This program is suited to individuals who have no interest in becoming a Certified Flight Instructor but aspire to be a commercial pilot for a regional or major airline.

  • Cost: $66,995
  • Duration: 10 months
  • Location:  Sanford, Florida

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What are the career prospects as a commercial pilot?

With the demand for commercial pilots expected to increase by up to 13% in the ten-year period from 2020 to 2030, there are great career opportunities for commercial pilots. More than 14,500 new jobs are expected to be created for this profession with an average salary of $130,440 in 2020.

​​As a commercial airline pilot, you’ll act as pilot-in-command (PIC) and be responsible for carrying passengers or cargo.

To kick start your journey to securing your Commercial Pilot License (CPL) and ultimately, your career to becoming a commercial pilot, you’ll need to meet all the requirements and have the relevant qualifications to start your training.

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What qualifications do you need to become a pilot?

To become a commercial pilot, there are some qualifications and certificates you need to complete before you begin your pilot training. Among the certificates is a medical certificate, an Instrument Rating and a Multi-Engine Rating Certificate.

The medical certificate is used to confirm your physical qualification as a pilot. It proves that you meet health and fitness conditions and are fit to perform the flight. As these requirements should naturally always be met, you must take the medical tests at intervals of six months to a year during your career as a pilot. In order to prove your qualification a photocopy of an FAA Medical Certificate is sufficient.

Instrument Rating is another certificate you need in order to become a pilot. It confirms that you are capable and qualified to safely maneuver the aircraft through the skies, even in very low visibility conditions. If you do not already have it, you can obtain this certificate through our Instrument Rating training.

Commercial pilots also require a Multi-Engine Rating Certificate. This authorises you to fly larger aircrafts, as it verifies that you are proficient in flying a multi-engine aircraft.

There are other additional requirements you need to meet before you can become a commercial pilot:

  • Age - Applicants must be at least 17 years and 6 months old at the start of the program
  • Selection - Cadets must complete a Wonderlic assessment and meet or exceed the minimum score requirement of 17

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What degree do you need to be a commercial pilot?

What education is needed to become an airline pilot and whether a pilot requires a degree in most cases depends on the airline. However, if you want to fly for one of the major airlines in the US, it is important to know that, according to flight sector experts, they usually require a bachelor's degree.

However, the degree is also reflected in the salary, as the major airlines pay considerably higher rates than regional airlines. In recent years, one of the factors impacting positively on pilot salaries has been the pilot shortage in the US.

Interests, abilities and skills needed to become a pilot

Needless to say, qualifications are not the only important factor when it comes to becoming a pilot. You may also ask yourself what skills does a pilot need? We have summarised the most important ones for you below:  

  • 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

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I worked as an Instructor at L3Harris for two years. That time was invaluable to me as a professional aviator. Working on both the training side and on the standards side, I can say that L3Harris Flight Academy is top notch!

academy-us-sanford-testimonial-david-golladay-avatar David Golladay Pilot | Former L3Harris Flight Academy CFI
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