Apr 172012

Think of becoming a professional pilot as building a portfolio of your skills.  You can attain these different skills in a variety of ways and some skills may be required by certain employers, while other skills may not be necessary (and may even be unwanted) by others.  However, there are fundamental skills that you will need across the board (for any employer).

The basic skills you will need for a career as a pilot with any employer are:

Basic Skill #1: Learning to Fly

To be a pilot, you obviously need to learn to fly.  Here are the first few steps you need to take:

Step 1: Research The Types Of Pilot Certificates

Step 2: Get A Medical Certificate

Step 3. Choose Your Flight School

Basic Skill #2. In most instances, you will need a college degree

If you already have a college degree, try to think of a way to use it to your advantage?  For instance, do you have a technical degree, such as in physics, math, or engineering?  Look for opportunities with aircraft manufacturers, such as maintenance test pilot, demonstration pilot, or even test pilot.

If you don’t yet have a college degree, there are ways for you to get both a college degree and your flight certificates and ratings at the same time.  However, be careful if you’re thinking of applying to aviation universities that offer a “professional pilot” degree because this type of degree will only be good for getting pilot jobs.  If you ever loose your medical or want to change careers (you get furloughed, or decide a flying career is not for you), you won’t have anything to fall back on.

It’s better to obtain a degree in something other than flying – it can still be related to aviation, just don’t make it a “pilot” degree.  For instance, an aviation management degree, aviation safety degree, human factors degree, are examples of degrees that will give you skills you can place into your portfolio and will accomplish a few things:

1. Will make you a better pilot

2. Will open up more opportunities for you than someone who is “only a pilot”

3. Will serve as a backup in the unfortunate event that you decide not to fly as a career, but will still allow you to work in the aviation industry

The above two sets of skills are the minimum you need.  However, in order to be competitive, you should try to attain the following skills as well:

a. A college degree outside of aviation

b. Negotiation skills

c. Interviewing skills

d. Organizational skills

e. Computer skills

f. Any other skill that you have an affinity for

Some of the best pilots I know have law degrees, management degrees, and advanced engineering degrees.  This not only allows them the opportunity to be pilots, but also opens doors into management positions or offers them the opportunity to have side business when they are not flying.

Even if you don’t get a “degree” in something else, you can take classes, seminars, or courses in order to continue to fill up your portfolio with skills that will set you above the average pilot candidate.

 Posted by at 12:00 AM
Apr 102012

Before knowing the “how”, you must first know the “why”…..


Reason 1:  I want to be a commercial / professional pilot

In the United States, there are two paths to becoming a professional pilot – civilian or military.

Military Pilots

While this website does not yet have much info on the military pilot career path, here are some questions to think about:

F18 Hornet (photo courtesy of Wikepedia)




Do you want to be a fighter pilot and fly airplanes like this




C5 Galaxy (photo courtesy of Wikepedia


Or do you want to be a transport pilot and fly these babies






Helicopters?  Or Fixed Wings?

You also have to decide what branch of the military you want – Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, etc.

So many questions….the key is to do your research.  If you have a specific question, feel free to leave a comment below or email me, and I will look the answer up for you.

Civilian Pilots

If you’re not crazy about taking orders from anyone and the military is not for you, you can still have an awesome career as a pilot.  There are plenty of opportunities for pilots in these types of jobs:

Airline pilots

Corporate pilots

Cargo pilots

and lots more…..

To find out more about how to become a professional pilot without joining the military, Check out the following articles:


Reason #2: I want to fly just for the fun of it

If you want to fly for fun, but don’t want to make a career out of it, follow these steps and you’ll be off the ground before you know it!


 Posted by at 6:30 AM