5 Types of Pilot Certifications that You May Opt For

If you are passionate about flying, you can choose to be a pilot as your career option. Becoming a pilot may take some time to take off. But if you are determined enough to learn to fly, the runaway remains clear. Wondering how long does it take to get a pilot license? There are various steps to follow.

If you want to become a pilot, you can opt for different certifications and get your license. Many flying schools host various certifications for pilot training. The USA remains the first choice of young students who want to build their careers in aviation. It is because the USA offers different certifications and courses. 

Do you want to explore the types of pilot certifications before you enroll in the flying school? Here are the requirements for different certification courses.  

Student Pilot Certificate 

If you want to become a student pilot, you have to get instructions from a certified instructor and pass the FAA Student Pilot knowledge test. The essentials or requirements for such a certificate include fluency in English, 16+ years of age, a third-class FAA medical certificate, a valid driver’s license, and passing the knowledge test. Besides this, you also need approval from an FAA-designated pilot examiner or FAA inspector. 

The basic skills you need to master to become a student pilot include safe take-offs and landings, maintaining positive control of the aircraft, and demonstrating consistently good judgment and safety. 

Sport Pilot Certificate 

To be certified as a sports pilot, you need to have a student pilot certificate and log 20 hours of flight time before it. This certification will allow you to fly a light-sport aircraft plane with no more than 2 seats, fixed pitch or ground adjustable propeller, fixed landing gear, etc. 

Flying as a sports pilot comes with restrictions. You cannot fly in controlled airspace, after dark, above 10,000 passengers, with passengers, and invisibility less than 3 miles. 

Recreational Pilot Certificate 

A recreational pilot certificate has more restrictions than a private pilot certificate. You must be at least 17 years old and have a sports or student pilot certificate. You will also need to log 30 hours of flight time. 

The restrictions include not flying more than 50 nautical miles from the airport where their training occurred. You cannot fly at night, nor can you fly in airspace where communication with air traffic control is required, etc. 

The trade-off for the restrictions is that you can get in the air quicker than a private pilot certificate. It is the reason why many individuals choose this certification over PPL. 

Private Pilot Certificate 

To become a private pilot certificate, you need to complete your student pilot certificate. Once you have that, the license for private piloting requires your valid driver’s license, a minimum of 35 varied flight hours, including night training, passing FAA knowledge and practical tests, and a third-class FAA medical certificate. 

There are many perks of this certificate. If you have a private pilot license, you can fly passengers and most planes. But you cannot be hired or paid for flying. 

Commercial Pilot Certificate 

A commercial pilot earns handsomely, flies passengers worldwide, and goes through extensive training before their certification. To be eligible to become one, you have to be 18 years or older. You also need a second-class FAA medical certificate and a private pilot certificate. The certification requires fluency in English, and you have to pass the training and log hours for single-multi engine land class rating requirements. 

While you are paid for flying, this license does not allow you to fly passengers for hire. You may fly for cargo, crop dusting, aerial photography, and other vocations. 


We hope that the above-listed details give you enough idea about pilot certifications in the USA. Choose the best one according to your goal. 

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