Before you begin your hunt for a job as a commercial pilot, you need to make sure your qualifications are up to snuff. This is going to be particularly important in a tight job market where competition can be intense.
Before you transport goods or people, you’re going to need a commercial pilot’s license. To get started, you should complete training at an FAA-approved flight school. There are more than 600 of these schools through the country. You can even find some at a college or university which is good because most airlines require you to have at least a couple of years of college. Before you can complete the licensing requirements, you must get sufficient flight time. Some of that time will be secured through the school. Many people get the rest by going into the air force or through other types of flight programs. You’ll need at last 250 hours of flight time.
In addition to completing the flight requirements, you will also need to pass a physical and complete a written test over the basic things you need to know, such as regulations, safe flight rules, and navigation. You’ll also have to fly with an examiner from the FAA. In many ways, this is just a more complex version of getting your driver’s license.
Now if you are hoping to become a captain, you’ll probably have to wait until you get a lot more flight experience under your belt. You need to have an airline transport pilot’s license which means you need at least 1,500 flying hours.
Regardless of the license you earn, you will have to pass periodic examinations if you hope to keep that license and your position at the airline. Of course, you’ll have to get that airline job first.
Securing Aviation Jobs
If you are interested in landing a position at an airline or starting any other type of aviation careers, you need to consider the current employment situation. Most of the people who work in aviation in this capacity are working for airlines. Your other option is to find a position as a flight instructor or as a cargo flyer.
The most jobs in aviation are going to be available in large metropolitan areas because these are home to the largest airports with the most flights. However, if you are just trying to get your foot in the door you may be better off pursuing positions in smaller cities and more local airports. That way you can get some experience flying which can give you an advantage against the competition.
Jobs in aviation are going to grow at about the same rate as most industries thanks to an increase in retirees from the field. Many pilots are going to be retiring in the upcoming years. After all, as pilots age they may no longer be able to pass the tests needed to hold onto their licenses. Unfortunately, the down turn in the economy and the recent increases in oil prices have made travel more of a luxury for most Americans and that has hurt the airline industry. As a result, flights are being cut right and left which means fewer pilots are going to be needed.
That means the market is going to be highly competitive and you need to have easy access to available positions almost as soon as they hit the market. The best idea is to find aviation jobs online. While you can go through more generic jobs sites and hope to run across some pilot positions, you are better off focusing on aviation-specific job search web sites. That way you’ll be able to find a good amount of positions open around the United States. You won’t have to weed through unrelated positions and waste a lot of your valuable time.
Getting the Job You Want
Because you want an aviation job, you need to be prepared to submit a resume clearly outlining your credentials. Be sure to include the date of your licensing and how you obtained your flight experience, including your work at the flight school. Be prepared to show proof of your commercial pilot’s license in case you are called in for an interview. It would also be helpful to receive recommendations in writing from past evaluators who have flown with you in the past.
Airlines will also expect you to pass some examinations for them as well. Most will conduct a series of physical and psychological tests to make sure you are going to be able to deal with the stress of flying planes over long distances. You will also have to complete drug testing. All of this will be done before you can be considered a full-fledged member of the piloting staff.