It’s a career with the best office in the world, but gathering information on how to become a pilot can seem a bit daunting. Luckily, we’ve put together a quick overview of the main facts you need to know.

There are actually several routes to the flight deck, which is why it can be complicated when you first begin to research this career. Most professions have one training pathway, but commercial flying offers several. Each of these pathways is slightly different, but all result in a professional qualification which enables you to apply for your first airline job.

Pre-entry qualifications

In order to become an airline pilot, you will have to complete high levels of academic and practical training. So, it’s perhaps surprising that you are not usually required to have a degree, or particular A level subjects, before beginning. Studying relevant A Level subjects and a degree can bring many benefits however; you are likely to be more mature, have useful background knowledge and know how to study efficiently. Airways Aviation, like most pilot training organisations, requires students to have five GCSEs (or equivalent qualifications) Grade C or above, including Maths and English, as well as an English Language Proficiency qualification (if you’re an international student).


Many training organisations will assess your potential before you enrol on a course. This step is vital, if a little nerve racking, as you need to know that you have the potential to succeed before you invest in any training. At Airways Aviation, we invite applicants to a selection day at London Oxford Airport, or any of our approved Assessment Centre across Asia and middle east, which gives you a chance to see our facilities, meet the team, ask all your questions and take a formal assessment to determine your suitability for the career.

This assessment involves computer based tests plus an interview. You will need to demonstrate technical skills and an aptitude for flying of course, but also the non-technical skills the job demands, such as communication, resilience and decision-making. Successful completion of these tests earns you a place on one of our pilot training courses.


Before you embark on any of our airline pilot training courses we also ask that you obtain an initial Class 1 medical from the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority). A Class 1 medical is conducted by an approved AME (Aeromedical Examiner) and takes around four hours. You’ll have a very thorough physical check-up which will include testing your heart, lungs, blood, eyesight, blood and hearing. Your Class 1 medical will need to be renewed yearly for as long as you are flying commercially, but renewals are less costly than the initial medical and usually take approximately an hour.

Pilot training

At Airways Aviation, we offer two EASA airline pilot training programmes: modular and integrated. Both result in a ‘frozen’ Airline Transport Pilot Licence (fATPL) which is the qualification you’ll need in order to apply for your first flying job. The other option for professional qualification is an MPL (Multi-crew Pilot Licence). This qualification is less common and is specific to an airline and aircraft type.

Our integrated course is called the Elite Pathways Programme (EPP) and is designed to take you from no aviation experience (ab-initio) to fATPL holder in the shortest time possible. Created in consultation with leading airlines, this full-time programme covers the rigorous technical requirements of pilot training plus comprehensive personal and professional development at every stage of the process and will equip you to become a highly skilled, knowledgeable and employable pilot.

If you need a more flexible approach to career training, our Modular Pilot Training Programme is ideal. Modular training with Airways Aviation can be conducted in stages, full or part time, allowing your studies to fit in with existing commitments. This programme allows you to ‘earn as you learn’ and includes the same high level of training and professional development as our integrated students.

Employment Support

Once you have obtained your commercial pilot qualification, you are ready to apply for your dream job in the right-hand seat. As an Airways Aviation graduate, you’ll receive ongoing support and training to ensure you’re fully prepared for airline recruitment success. Read some of our graduates’ Success Stories here.

Are you ready to begin your pilot training? Get in touch with our admissions team.

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