There is a global shortage of pilots - here's how you can become one

The world is currently facing a pilot shortage, and with millions of people flying everyday there is an ever-increasing need to fill vacancies.

In 2016, Boeing made a forecast that the aviation industry will be need 679,000 new pilots from then until 2035.

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Although high training costs are a factor in the current shortage, there are other variables which weigh in on the global need for more airline pilots, including region, type of operation, and pilot experience.

With travel by plane being an essential for many work trips and holiday destinations, the need for pilots to meet the continuing demand of travellers will always be there.

So if your childhood dream was to be a pilot, or if you're looking for a career change, this dream job could still come to fruition.

Find out the steps to follow in order to become a pilot below.

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Entry requirements

First of all, you'll need to take a course to get an Airline Transport Pilot's Licence (ATPL) or 'frozen ATPL'.

This will take at least 18 months to get this on a full-time course; part-time or modular courses will take longer.

You could also take a degree in aviation which includes pilot training. Visit UCAS to gain more information on degree courses and entry requirements.

Before you take a pilot training course, you'll need to pass the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Class 1 Medical.

To get onto a course, you'll also need:

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GCSEs at grade 4 (C) or above, or equivalentA levels in subjects like Maths, English, Science and a second languageTo pass a background and security check

(You may be able to get into this role by taking a higher level apprenticeship in professional aviation pilot practice.)

You will start by training as a co-pilot, and when you've completed at least 1,500 flying hours you can apply for an 'unfrozen' or full ATPL and qualify as an airline captain.

This will usually take 3 to 5 years after you get your full ATPL. You must be at least 21 years old to have a full ATPL.

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The Honourable Company of Air Pilots has a test for people with little or no flying experience. This could help you decide whether you're suited to this career before you take the next step.

One of the first steps is to get an Airline Transport Pilot's Licence (Photo: Shutterstock)

Costs and salary

ATPL training usually costs between £60,000 and £90,000, but some passenger airlines have pilot training schemes where you can train with the company to get your licence.

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The starter salary for pilots is usually around £20,000 to £30,000, £38,000 to £90,000 for experienced co-pilots, and experienced captains can earn around £140,000.

Benefits like bonuses or health insurance are often also included.


According to the National Careers Service, the skills required to be a pilot include:

excellent hand-to-eye coordinationexcellent communication skillsleadership skillsproblem-solving skillsthe ability to remain calm and focused under pressure

Current jobs

Boeing 737 Pilot (Captain), Ryanair, London Stansted

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Ryanair are currently hiring Direct Entry Captains on Ryanair Direct Employment Contracts to be based at London Stansted.

Basic pay of £74,000 + £6000 allowance. Total comp of £135,600. 5/4 Roster. Career Progression

Pilot Apprentice, and Jet2 Holidays, Leeds Bradford Airport

The Pilot Apprenticeship scheme has continued to grow over several years, providing fantastic career opportunities for pilots entering the world of commercial aviation.

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Salary: Competitive + benefits package with opportunities for progression in a growing business.

Rated and Non Rated EJet First Officers, Stobart Air, London Southend Airport

Stobart Air are recruiting for a permanent role based at London Southend.

Starting basic salary: £38, 860 (increasing with service) + Flight Duty Pay

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