How Much Does It Cost To Become A Commercial Pilot?

Last Updated on December 5, 2021 by

Although it’s exciting, learning how to fly an aircraft is a huge expense. It’s a lot, often. How much will the cost of becoming an airline pilot be?

It’s hard to give an exact solution to that question.


Since a pilot is a bit of a general term. It is a term you can use if you operate small, single-engine planes. You are a pilot if use commercial jets.

Flight training differs greatly between the two types, which results in a variance in cost.

Training for flight and ground comprises the largest portion of the entire.

Other costs, like the cost of testing, are just a tiny fraction.

Let’s begin with costs that will not cost you a fortune.

How Much Does It Cost To Become A Commercial Pilot

Medical, Written, Practical Exams, and Miscellaneous Costs

The process of becoming a pilot requires medical certification.

An Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) issues the certificate after having conducted an exam for medical purposes. Medical exams range from $100 to $200, based on the course, location, doctor, and whether you require an EKG.

In the majority of cases, you’ll also have to take an aeronautical knowledge test to get your pilot’s license. The fees for the test vary between $140 and $165 according to the location.

The final step to get your license is passing the practical test, the cost of which is dependent on the license’s location and the type of plane which is used to conduct this checkride. Practical tests typically cost between $350 and $5000. However, flight instructors are charged more, ranging between $500 and more than 1000 dollars in a few locations.

When you are preparing to become a pilot, you’ll require headphones as well as books and you’ll need a bomber jacket, and an outfit or Aviator sunglasses to appear like a professional. It is recommended to set aside $500-$1,000 for the training equipment you need.

pilot shortage
Pilot CertificateCost
Student Pilot$75 – $200 (for medical certificate)
Sport Pilot$4,400
Recreational Pilot$6,500
Private Pilot$10,000
Commercial Pilot$30,000
Flight Instructor$5,000
Airline Transport Pilot$5,000
Drone Pilot$0 – $450

Student Pilot License Cost

The majority of pilots start out as student pilots.

Achieving your student pilot’s certificate is the first step to getting a higher level of certification.

For the vast majority of the time.

Pilots who enjoy recreational flying can use an official sport pilot certificate in order to obtain their pilot licenses.

What’s the price to obtain an instructor pilot certificate for students?

The FAA doesn’t charge you anything in the event that you request the certification by contacting the Flight Standards District Office (FSDO).

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However, if you request assistance from the examiner or representative, or instructor, they could charge a fee for processing the application.

What is the exact amount? The FAA does not specify a set quantity, though it must be within a reasonable range.

The only thing you’re concerned about is what you will have to pay for training in pilots. The FAA doesn’t specify any requirements for training to issue an instructor certificate.

It is still necessary to have a medical certificate, however. If you take that into consideration, the price of obtaining the student pilot’s license is around $75-$200.

Sport Pilot License Cost

The FAA has created an aviation sport pilot certification for enthusiasts in 2004. It permits the pilot the ability to pilot a Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA).

Contrary to the student pilot certificate, however, obtaining your sport pilot certificate requires flying and ground school.

Ground school is available in two varieties of instructor’s lessons or a course at home.

The average cost for instructors is $40 per hour for classroom instruction. Online classes cost between $100 to $400, with some even absolutely free.

The FAA determines the minimum time of flight for a sport pilot’s license at 20 hours. It includes at least 15 hours in double instruction as well as five hours of flight time on your own.

The average light-sport aircraft rental cost is $100 while the cost of a flight instructor is $40. So, the flight-training cost is $2,600 on the lower end.

However, 20 hours is the minimum amount required. Most pilots need approximately 30 hours of flight to be proficient. That adds another $1200.

You can also add another $500 to the practical and written tests in addition to 100 dollars for an online ground course, and the sport pilot’s license cost is around $4,400.

Recreational Pilot License Cost

According to most recent FAA civil airmen figures, there are less than 150 pilots who are recreational are operating within the US.

Why is there such a low figure?

It’s much easier to obtain the sport pilot certification when you’re looking to fly just for enjoyment.

A majority of pilots prefer private pilot certificates that grant them more advantages because it requires just a tiny amount of time, training, and money than recreational ones.

The FAA still offers the certificate for recreational use despite declining interest, but.

The cost breakdown is comparable to that of a license for sports, however with more hours and slightly higher rental rates for aircraft.

You must log at least 30 hours of flight and 15 of them must be with an instructor.

However, as you could imagine, the majority of pilots require between 10 and 15 hours over the minimum requirements, that’s about 40 hours.

A rental price for an aircraft of $125, plus 40 dollars per hour for flight instructors, which brings the total to $5,800 to train.

You’ll need an additional $700 to take a home-study class as well as medical exam and testing fees. Therefore the recreational pilot’s license cost is approximately $6500.

Private Pilot License Cost

A license for recreational pilots has a few limitations, but you are able to lift the majority with the instructor endorsement.

However, it is impossible to eliminate certain limitations, for example, flying on aircraft that have more than four seats.

A private pilot’s license (PPL) permits the pilot to control any aircraft that is used for non-commercial reasons. However, it is more complicated to obtain.

The FAA’s minimum time is between 35 and 40 hours, based on the flight school being Part 61 or Part141. The majority of pilots need 60-75 flight hours but.

In this regard, the private pilot’s license is priced at around $10,000. It can vary, however, according to the institution as well as the instructor, the aircraft, and the location, among other things.

It is also necessary to receive an appropriate grounding program, which can add anything from several hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.

The good news?

A company that offers pilot training such as gives you unlimited access to an online private ground school for pilots.

To get a taste of the cost of the ground course take note of it.

The training course online includes video tutorials, practice questions, and even an instructor endorsement.

Airline Transport Pilot License Cost

Pilots of airlines’ six-figure median annual pay provide a compelling reason to be one.

You’ll need more than a commercial pilot’s license in order to be able to fly, however.

It is required to obtain an Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) and requires 1500 hours of flight time.

So, you’re not able to get an aviation-related degree from an FAA accredited institution.

This allows you to obtain an ATPL with restricted privileges (R-ATPL) with fewer hours. This allows passengers to travel as a co-pilot for an airline until they have reached the 1,500-hour threshold.

The ATP certificate requires the completion of the FAA-approved Airline Transport Pilot Certification Training Program (ATP-CTP).

In general, typically, the cost of an ATPL training course costs $5,000. This covers training, knowledge test, and the cost of the practical test.

Drone Pilot License Cost

The recreational drones you fly require no qualification, however, you must possess a remote pilot certificate to fly commercial drones.

Incredibly, the number of drone pilots has increased rapidly since the year at the time the FAA began issuing certificates for remote pilots.

The license can be obtained in accordance with Part 107 rules whether you’re new to flying or already a certificate owner.

What is the cost?

Nada is a good option for Part 61 license holders, they need only to take the online course for free.

However, for those who are first-timers, there is the cost of the aeronautical knowledge test for $150.

You must be ready for the test, however.

You can read the FAA’s free study materials however, you could also locate online courses that have a more structured structure.

One of these resources is It offers a wide range of courses for budding drone pilots at a reasonable cost.

The total cost for a drone pilot’s license is $450 on average.

The Bottom Line

Although sometimes expensive Being a pilot isn’t always cheap, it doesn’t take a lot of money.

If you’re planning to fly to enjoy yourself, you could obtain a sport pilot’s license at a cost of a few thousand dollars. But, if your dream is to be employed by an airline, your financial commitment is a greater amount.

However, no what amount of money it costs you the excitement of flying is worth the cost.

Do you want to get the most out of your flight experience?

Begin by defining your goals. Once you’ve figured that out, it is time to explore and compare the different flight schools that can offer in terms of rental costs instructors’ fees, flight school fees, along financing choices.

The most effective method to obtain your pilot’s license might not be the most affordable. Therefore, you must strike a balance between the cost and the quality of your training.

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