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FAA Requirements

Criteria for Your Future Career

If you are planning to fly as a career, there are certain training and certification requirements you must meet. First, you cannot begin getting paid as a pilot until you earn your commercial pilot certificate. However, a commercial pilot certificate is NOT the same thing as an air transport pilot license which is required to become an airline or charter pilot.

To obtain an ATP certificate, you must:

  • Be of good moral character
  • Be 23 years old
  • Hold a commercial pilot certificate and an instrument rating
  • Pass the ATP written and practical tests
  • Meet the minimum flight hour requirements

Minimum hour requirement

The FAA’s current requirement for an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Certificate is roughly 1500 hours, which includes 500 hours of cross-country time, 100 hours of night time, 50 hours in the class of airplane for the rating, 75 hours of instrument time and 250 hours of time as pilot in command. 

However, if you flew in the military or complete a college flight program, you may qualify for a Restricted ATP Certificate (R-ATP). Restricted ATP hours are as follows:

  • Graduates of an approved 4-year university aviation program only need 1000 hours of flight time, 60 credit hours of aviation coursework and a commercial pilot license from a Part 141 program. Sterling is an FAA approved Part 141 flight school, and our partnerships with Liberty University and Purdue University meet R-ATP requirements.
  • Graduates of an approved 2-year university aviation program need 1250 hours of flight time, 30 credit hours of aviation coursework, and a commercial pilot license from a part 141 program
  • Military pilots only need 750 hours of total flight time and 200 hours of cross-country time to qualify for R-ATP.

Ready to Soar?

Ready to be a Professional Pilot? Want to experience our Redbird FMX Simulator, or join our ranks via your university’s aviation program? Let’s get you in the air.

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