I'm trying to understand the pilot training process and how long it takes and what is the future?

Hello everyone, hope all is well.

I want to share my understanding of how things work for a proper training and if I’m mistaken please correct me. :slight_smile: I spoke to many people and done a lot of research online and ended up by the following.

First of all you will need a budget of 60K to get your training done. This is without rent,food…ect expenses. Just the price to get the commercial multi engines.

The training can be done in a period of 10-12 months if you are a serious full time student.
It starts with a Private Pilot License (PPL) FAA requires a minimum of 40 hours flight before you can apply.

then IR, Instrument Rating which will allow you to fly with instruments instead of visual.

then Multi-engine commercial License, which will allow you to fly a multi engines airplane.

Once you have all of that you end the 1st part of your training and will end up with around 245 hours.

Then you will need to pay an extra 10-20k to get certified instructor so you can build up your hours and reach the 1500 hours required by the FAA after the buffalo crash. Most of regionals will not look at you until you have at 1500 flight hours…

You have to ge your CFI, CFII and MEI and fly for your school to build your hours from 250hours to reach 1500 hours so it is about 1250 hours. I just don’t know how long it takes to do them. I know it depends the flight school that you work for and the weather and how many students they have.

Personally, I’m thinking to go to Wayman flight school in OpaLocka Airport Miami FL… weather is good and it looks like they have a good amount of students to get the missing 1250 hours within one year (hopefully).

Once you have your PPL,IR, Multi-engine, CFI,CFII and MEII and your 1500 hours… you can apply for regional companies to get hired as a First Officer… You will then get a chance to get your ATP (ATPL)… I think the salary will be low around 40-60k a year here in the US but you can build your hours quickly within one or two years. the first year will be a lot of waiting time to replace sick pilots or things like that. They make you wait…

Hopefully after 2-3 years you will have around 2000-2800 jet hours and can go fly for a major or somewhere else.

PS; I’m not sure if it is true that Regional Airlines are hiring a lot here in the US and there is a lack of pilots. Many people saying that there is a lack of remuneration of the pilots. They don’t pay them well that’s why.

Again the information here my not be the correct ones since this is coming from my understand from aviation blogs, friends, schools ,articles …ect

If you guys have more information, please share it so we can all understand or confirm what is the process of becoming a pilot and the steps and what is the future when you get graduated with 250 hours…

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For my part, I’m hoping to start the training in the summer 2018 and finish it by summer 2019 then CFI, CFII and MEI within 4-6 months then hopefully get hired as a flight instructor and get the 1250hours within a year.

we are talking about 1 year training (PPL,IR,CPL)
and 4-6 month training to become CFI,CFII and MEI (maybe less)
and 1 full year as instructor flying to get the 1250 hours.

So total of 2 years and half to become a pilot and instructor with around 1500 hours… then will start looking for a job for a regional hoping to get paid at least 40-50k so not to be miserable.

Is it doable?

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It’s definitely doable and you seem to have a pretty good grasp of the process (based I suppose on Wayman’s information). A couple of clarifications however. First while you can apply to take the Private checkride at 40hrs the national average is more like 60. Next it’s not that the Regionals won’t look at you until you have 1500hrs it’s that there’s nothing they can really do with you (due to the 1500hr rule). In fact at ATP most instructors get conditional offers of employment at around 500hrs. Also you don’t have to instruct to build the time, that’s just the most common method. While it’s great to have a goal of 1yr to build the 1250hrs that’s a lot of instructing. I have no idea how busy Wayman is or not but that maybe an overly optimistic view and I would figure on 1.5yrs at least. Btw, I don’t no many entry level positions that pay $40-60k so I’m not sure I’d call that low. That’s actually double or triple what it was.

I’d never heard of Wayman’s but have you looked at ATP. For $65,995 you could complete your training in 9mos (including all 3 CFI’s), have a guaranteed instructor position, get a conditional offer of employment at approx. 500hrs AND be eligible for Tuition Reimbursement.

Obviously the choice is your but you do have a choice.


Hi Adam,
Thank you for getting back to me. I went to ATP on Long Island in NY and liked the school and people. My concerns with them is the following and you might help me clear out some…

I think 9 month program is very fast and you have to learn a lot of things withing a short period of time… compare to a regular flight school. now it’s just an impression, of course i’m not judging.

the second concern is when they say guaranteed flight instructor. Is it really guaranteed or there is conditional part of it? because most of us as pilots we want to become instructors and get our 1500 hours so I imagine that you pay 65k with them and they don’t take you as an Instructor…

For the pre offer part at 500 hours. It didn’t exist a few years ago. they use to guarantee an interview with a regional but nothing else. Is the offer guaranteed of it is just an interview then they will see if they have needs… from your own experience what is the conditions? from what I can see is the 1500 hours… I know it’s called frozen ATP until you pass the ATP exam…

I appreciate the time and efforts that you put to help future pilots :slight_smile:
Thank you again.

Also which ATP flight school do you recommend? I live in NY and they have one school in Long Island by I’ve been around for 10 years and the weather is lousy. summer is very fast then we have cold, bad weather, blizzards and when there is snow… … Long Island is miserable so If I decide to go to ATP it will be down south Miami or California… not NY for sure… :slight_smile:

The program is accelerated and it is very fast and there’s a very good reason for that. ATP was created by airline pilots to train airline pilot. If you think trying to get your licenses and ratings in 9mos is fast try learning to fly a jet in 6 weeks! The idea is to get your used to the pace you WILL encounter when you get to an airline. For the people who say “I’m not sure I can keep up” the obvious answer than becomes what makes you think you’ll survive at an airline?

Yes it really is a guarantee. The conditional part is that you have to do well in training (no more than 2 checkride busts).

No flight school will/can guarantee you a job (does Harvard guarantee you’ll be a lawyer?). They can’t. The reality is that not everyone can (or should) be an airline pilot. That said in today’s environment if you successfully complete your training and build the 1500hrs required you will get hired by a Regional (they’re all pretty desperate). Btw, we have no frozen ATP here in the US.


ATP strives to provide consistent training throughout it’s locations. Pick one you like and go there. The quality will be comparable.


Will check ATP… thank you for all information, you rock! last question please. what is the salary for a first officer 1st year with regional? I know they are looking for pilots but still not willing to pay… :slight_smile:

As you said (and I confirmed), first year pay at most Regionals is around $40k however many are offering signing bonuses, Tuition Reimbursements and other incentives which can bring that first year up to $60k+. Again I don’t know many entry level careers that pay as well.


Adam’s first year regional pay estimates are accurate. If you want to see
for yourself, go to airlinepilotcentral.com.


Hey Adam, I thought 1st year with regionals was only about 30k last time I read on ATP site, is that adding a tuition bonus starting at 40k because that’s a lot more than I thought and pretty good starting pay?


Check out the pay rates on www.airlinepilotcentral.com. As Tory said, they are pretty accurate.


Ya I did Tory have me that link a few days ago, lots of cargo airlines hiring, I’ll have to check out regionals too tx

Hello Adam I am currently in high school and want to know what steps to take in order to become a pilot…my goals are to:
-Get a Bachelor Degree in any subject other than aviation so that if being a pilot doesn’t work out I will have a plan B( also most major airlines require a bachelor degree in any subject)
-Go to flight school( by the way…know that I know u need a PPL to get a CPl and you need that to get an atp…then what is CFI CFII and MEI? I really don’t know.)
-And then after all of the flight instructing work for a regional to gain more flight time to apply for a major.
I basically want to do the same thing as Boeing777 but I have some questions.
-what is CFI,CFII and MEI
-Is European or US flight training or flight schools better, which one takes longer?
-Do pilots working for major airlines get paid more in US or Europe?
-Which flight school do you recommend is the best? Well…I don’t even know if I should go to Europe or us…I guess the questions above would have to be answered first.

Hi again Adam. I have 1 more questions to ask:

  • I thought when you complete your PPL IR and CPL/MPL then go on to getting your CFI,CFII and MEI you then take your written atp exam and get your 1500 hrs to then do the atp skill test…how does it really work in the US and in Europe can you explain or possibly send me a link…well I did look up US and Europe Airline transport Pilot Certificate requirements but could never understand it so can you please explain?
    During the time of flight school when to you really get your atp?


It would be very beneficial to know what country you are residing in and where you are a citizen of.

CFI is certified flight instructor, MEI is multi-engine instructor and II is instrument instructor. Basically, these are the licenses that you will need to be able to offer your services as a flight instructor to build flight time.

If you do not have european citizenship, it will be very difficult to get a job over there. The same thing applies with getting a job in the US if you are not a US citizen or permanent legal resident.

The training standards in europe and the US are vastly different and do not carry over from one region to another, you will have to pick which route you want to go down and then stick with that.

As to pay, I am really not familiar with the pay standards in Europe, but my understanding is that US major airline pilots are some of the best paid pilots in the world.
If your path leads you towards working in the US, you really do not need to worry about getting your ATP license as your first airline will provide that training for you.


Thanks, I forgot to mention I can go both in the US and in Europe. Also how does the process work from the beginning? Is it just like boeing777 said? Well except I want to get a bachelor degree first since most major airlines require it.

Do your also know which route is easier US or Europe? Where do you recommend I go study. Since I can go both places.

The US is far easier and much less expensive to train in. I would speculate that the job prospects are also better.

The process is laid out very nicely on ATP’s website, look for the timeline to get an idea of how the program will flow.

Thx. This info is very useful :slight_smile: