How To Become A Commercial Pilot

A commercial pilot license is a qualification every pilot must earn before being allowed to fly a commercial aircraft for compensation or hire. A commercial pilot license opens up the door to a variety of employment opportunities, including flying cargo airplanes, aerial photography, corporate pilot, pipeline patrol, agricultural pilot, banner towing, rescue operations, and firefighting, to mention a few.

There are several steps to becoming a commercial pilot, with adherence to FAA regulations as stipulated in the Commercial Pilot ACS. At UND Aerospace Foundation, we offer a comprehensive commercial flight training program that will provide you with the necessary training and experience needed to obtain a commercial pilot license.

Below are the five steps you need to know:

become a commercial pilot

Know The Requirements To Become A Commercial Pilot

Due to the unique nature of commercial flying, certain requirements must be met before you start your training. These include:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Hold at least a Private Pilot Certificate
  • Be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language.

Obtain A 1st or 2nd Class Medical Certificate

Before you begin your aviation journey, you will need to obtain a 1st or 2nd Class Medical Certificate. This certificate ensures that an individual meets all the physical and mental standards required to fly a commercial aircraft and is issued by a qualified Aviation Medical Examiner (AME).

Gain The Necessary Flight Experience

To obtain a commercial pilot license, you will need to display the necessary flight experience, learn new maneuvers, acquire instrument training, and refine your skills as a safe and proficient aviator. Commercial flight training is more complex and rigorous than private pilot training and requires higher commitment and focus.

According to FAA regulations, you need to log at least 120 hours of flight time for a commercial pilot certificate under Part 141 training. During training with the UND Aerospace Foundation, this time is built in conjunction with your instrument rating.

Following completion of the commercial pilot, single-engine land certificate with instrument rating, students can expect to complete their multi-engine land rating. This additional rating will allow a pilot to fly for hire in aircraft with more than one engine and is an essential prerequisite to an airline transport pilot certificate.  

Pass The FAA Written Exam

The next step is passing the FAA Knowledge Exam. This test covers all aspects of becoming a commercial pilot, including in-depth knowledge of ATC procedures, cockpit resource management, weather systems, aviation physiology, aeronautical decision making, etc.

Taking the test earlier on during your training will help you familiarize yourself with various aspects of commercial flying. You need to have a 70% score or higher to pass the test.

Pass The Final Checkride

The final step is taking the FAA practical test or final checkride. This is a graded test where an FAA-designated examiner will assess your skills and knowledge as a pilot. The test consists of both oral and practical components.

At UND Aerospace Foundation, we have been granted examining authority by the FAA, meaning our in-house staff can administer your certificate-granting exams. This means our students don’t need to enlist the services of an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE), which can significantly reduce the financial and logistical burden of obtaining your commercial pilot license.

How Long Does it Take to Become A Commercial Pilot?

This can vary depending on several factors. Prior flight experience, level of preparation, weather conditions, and student availability can all affect how long it will take you to get your license.

The UND Aerospace Foundation fast-track program allows motivated students to complete their commercial pilot training in 5 months, including instrument rating. The training could take longer for students with reduced or limited availability.

Why Join UND Aerospace Foundation?

At UND Aerospace Foundation Phoenix, we have a reputation for producing world-class pilots, built on over two decades of continuous success in meeting and exceeding industry standards in collegiate aviation education. Our graduates are highly sought after by aerospace companies and major airlines across the globe for their unmatched qualifications and experience.

Whether you’re looking to get into aviation careerwise or want to fly for fun, you can trust UND Aerospace Foundation to provide you with unparalleled flight training. All our courses are taught by highly-qualified flight instructors, offering an unmatched combination of professional skill, technical expertise, and teaching experience.

This, combined with our state-of-the-art facilities, modern fleet of aircraft, and high safety standards, has enabled us to become one of the best flight schools in the country.


for more information to get your pilot career started.