Career in Commercial Pilot: Job Opportunities, Job Profiles, Top-Ranked Institutions, Salary, and Eligibility Criteria

The human heart has always craved, yearned and longed to fly high and deep in the sky like birds to breathe its liberating air. Well, human civilization has to wait till the 20th century, when the Wright brothers with their invention of the aircraft gave human civilization those wings to rove the sky. And in 21 century with the emergence of globalization, the airline industry has grown to an unprecedented level. Today, it is a multi-billion dollar industry. Around the world air routes have expanded, as it is one of the favorite modes of communication of people.

Career & Job

There is a huge career opportunity for candidates who have always harbored a dream to fly. Now, they can fly and earn handsomely as well. Besidesthe love, for flying a candidate should also have a well-cultivated mind for taking up this challenging job as a commercial pilot. A candidate should have patience, discipline, balance, a highly alert mind, sharp eye and dedication towards the job. This is a challenging job which demands hard work, problem-solving skills, and cool calculative mind to face any crisis situation.

Ways to Become a Commercial Pilot

There are two ways by which a candidate can become a commercial pilot -

1- A candidate can join any private commercial pilot training center which is approved by the DGCA (Directorate General of Civil Aviation). In India there are 43 private pilot training centers or Flying Clubs.

2- A candidate can become a commercial pilot by joining the flying branch of NDA or CDS. For this, a candidate is required to qualify the competitive entrance exam on an all India level. The exams are conducted by UPSC (Union Public Service Commission).

Stages of Becoming a Commercial Pilot

A candidate should, first of all, obtain the PPL (Private Pilot License) and thereafter he can easily get the CPL (Commercial Pilot License).

The process of licensing is not an easy one. A candidate is required to pass the rigorous physical as well as written test to get the license.

What is PPL?

A Private Pilot License authorizes a pilot to fly only privately hold aircraft. He or she is not authorized to draw a salary for the service. The DGCA has specified certain conditions which an applicant is required to qualify in order to get the license.

What is CPL?

A Commercial Pilot License authorizes a pilot to fly aircraft or airplanes. He or she is authorized to demand remuneration for delivering his or her service. The DGCA has specified certain conditions which an applicant is required to qualify in order to get the license. The specified conditions are in consonance with the International Civil Aviation organization.

Available Application Forms

Eligibility for Commercial Pilot

  • A candidate should have done the 12th class in Science stream with Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics and English subjects.
  • A candidate should have scored a minimum aggregate of 50% marks to become eligible for CPL.
  • The minimum age limit for CPL is 17 years and the maximum age limit is 60 to 65 years.
  • A candidate is required to pass the class 2 medical test to become eligible for CPL.

In addition, a candidate is required to pass an entrance test in order to get admission in the PPL and CPL courses. The questions in the entrance exam are from following subjects -

  1. English
  2. Mathematics
  3. General knowledge
  4. Physics
  5. Chemistry

Commercial Pilot Application Process

Test details for PPL (Private Pilot License)

Test type



  • 60 hours of minimum flying experience.
  • 20 hours of dual flying experience.


Subjective knowledge of-

  • Navigation
  • Aircraft and Engine
  • Seamanship
  • Aviation meteorology
  • Air regulation

Test details for CPL (Commercial Pilot License)

Test Type


Physical test

  • 250 hours of flying experience including
  • 60 hours of PPL experience
  • Medical test

Mental test

Subjective knowledge of

  • Flight planning
  • Cockpit Resource Management
  • Airframes and engines
  • Air regulation
  • Aviation meteorology
  • Air navigation

In addition, a candidate is also required to pass the flying test, to be done under special conditions. He or she is required to pass the solo flying test, Cross Country flying test and height flying test.

Other Details

Some of the Government colleges for commercial pilot:

  • Rajiv Gandhi Academy for Aviation Technology Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
  • Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Uran Akademi, Raebareli, Uttar Pradesh.
  • Air Force Technical College Bangalore.
  • All India Institute Of Aeronautics Ludhiana, Punjab.
  • Andhra Pradesh Aviation Academy, Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh.