I’ve Finished Flight School: Now What?

pilot and student in plane
February 3, 2021
I’ve Finished Flight School: Now What?
American Airlines Banner

Over the next 20 years, Boeing predicts that the global airline industry will need 763,000 new pilots.

While COVID-19 pandemic may have created a temporary oversupply of qualified people in these positions, tens of thousands of pilots will reach retirement age over the next decade.

Because of this, there is an ongoing, long-term need for flight school graduates in this industry.

This does not mean every pilot will become the next employee of a major commercial airline. There are multiple paths available to pilots.

Every pilot will find a different experience when figuring out what they want their career to look like. There are various types of pilots, and as such, your experience finding a pilot training for your specific career goals will vary.

This is one of the many benefits of a career in this field. There are different sectors inside the industry, each with their own opportunities. All things considered, there are seemingly endless chances for furthering your career.

Keep reading to learn more about the aviation industry. You will discover the possible career paths for a professional pilot, as well as their potential earnings.


The Benefits of Flight School

In flight school, you will be able to learn from other pilots. This hands-on experience provides an excellent opportunity to bring your education to life and ask questions first-hand.

Typically, the first step in the process of graduating from flight school is to enroll in an accredited program. To complete your training, you will need many hours of flight experience to obtain your appropriate certifications and ratings.

There are general steps that remain the same for most becoming a professional pilot. Between each of these steps, you need many hours of experience before moving up to the next step.

First, an aspiring pilot would typically get a student pilot certificate to start out.

From there, you must get an FAA medical certificate. This will vary for which industry you want to go in. The FAA has three classes from Third Class for Private Pilots to First Class for Airline Pilots.

These medical evaluations ensure you are healthy enough to fly. They take multiple hours and include eyesight, hearing, lung function, and heart rhythm tests.

Once you have passed the medical exam, written exam, and at least 40 hours of flight time, you can obtain your private pilot certificate. This is where you will learn the basics of flying a single-engine plane.

Next up, you will get your instrument rating. This allows you to fly even when there is low visibility. You can also get multi-engine ratings, enabling you to fly larger aircraft.

However, a traditional education may come in handy as well. You will typically need a bachelor’s degree to be more competitive with major airlines down the road. Spartan College offers a Bachelor of Science in Technology Management (BSTM) that takes your training into account for the total completion time. 

That being said, undergraduate degrees in other fields can prove helpful. Degrees in math, science, and even communication fields can be beneficial to a pilot’s training but are not necessary. It’s the flight training that matters the most — which is where Spartan comes in.

If you want to knock it out at the same time, you can complete a bachelor’s degree and flight school training—both within one program.  Spartan College technology management degree is designed for students who wish to strengthen their business and management acumen within technical industries in a convenient and quick format. 

While in flight school, you will study and train to achieve ratings and certificates. These are all regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

They all fall under different categories and classes, depending on the type of aircraft. The certifications you obtain will depend on your end goals, as well as the school’s program. 

Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology aviation flight training program and instruction are comprehensive, giving students the opportunity to learn the topics and skills necessary to be a safe and qualified pilot. Training to become a pilot at Spartan College will give you skills and experience necessary to earn multiple Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) part 141 pilot certifications.


What Do I Do After Flight School?

Now that you know how to start the process, what happens after flight school is probably top of mind.

Moving forward, after you finish your flight training, you can obtain your commercial pilot certificate. You will need to have at least 250 hours of flight time under your belt to do this.

You may choose to become a certified flight instructor (CFI) upon finishing flight school. There are separate certifications to correspond with each type of teaching. You may become a multi-engine, single-engine, or instrument flight instructor.

Teaching provides a good option for building your flight time while getting paid for your time. This is crucial, as you will need 750-1250 more hours to move onto the next step.

There’s more good news: Spartan College often recruits CFIs directly from our flight program graduates. So, it is possible that you may be able to log hours as a CFI while being paid to teach. That’s what we call a win-win!

Finally, you can achieve your airline transport pilot (ATP) certificate. This requires a minimum of 1,500 hours of flight time, however, if you attend a part 141 school, like Spartan College of Aeronautics & Technology, all you need is 1,250 hours to qualify for a restricted ATP. This certification is not part of the Spartan program curriculum; however, since you attended Spartan’s 141 approved program, your overall hours to eventually qualify to earn your ATP are reduced.


Thinking Long-Term

Moving forward, you may look to obtain a full-time job working with a corporate charter or cargo planes. This would come once you have earned all of the afore mentioned certifications and ratings. You would also need at least 1,500 flight hours.

You may also consider moving toward commercial airlines. These careers can often provide more opportunities and according to the Bureau of Labor statistics a higher earning potential compared to other commercial pilot or certified flight instructor positions.

Typically, to achieve a career in a major national airline, you would begin at the regional level. These are smaller planes that are usually contracted to service to the hub airports for larger airlines.

You would begin your tenure at the regional airline as a First Officer sitting on the right-hand side of the cockpit, supporting the captain.

After a few years, depending on the airline and their requirements, you could move up to captain (sitting on the left-hand side of the cockpit). 

You may choose to continue working for a regional airline and develop seniority. These positions of leadership have a lot of bearing in the aviation industry. You would be awarded for your dedication, plus more control over the route and planes you may fly.

On the other hand, some choose to move to major airlines where you can fly larger aircraft on longer routes. You may also have the opportunity to fly to more unique or exotic destinations.

If you find yourself getting a job with a major airline after gaining experience within the industry, the seniority totem pole repeats again. You would first start off as a first officer. After a few years of experience and more logged flying hours you could become a captain. There are some nuances to keep in mind. For example, pilots can become certified as a captain for a 737 but not a 747, which is why constant training is so important.


What is the Structure Like for a Pilot Salary?

There is certainly a large investment of time and money to join the ranks of pilots in the airline industry. Salaries at each step can vary. This is due to the airline, type of aircraft you would be flying, and your experience level.


Where Do I Start?

If you are interested in furthering your training but have not yet attended flight school, consider a few factors.

The flight school you select should meet strict FAA qualifications. This includes FAA approved Part 141 flight school. Good news is that Spartan College meets these requirements.

Plus, you may not be learning the necessary skills and experience that will be required to be a successful pilot. Attending flight school is a serious investment, so be sure to select a reputable, accredited program to make the most of your education.

Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology can provide you with these opportunities.

As an accredited aviation institution established in 1928, we have trained over 100,000 pilots and technicians. We foster career-oriented programs to help you get the training you need.

Spartan has made it our mission to put students first. We always uphold the core values of innovation, respect, integrity, safety, and excellence. 

Spartan College has trained students all across the country, as well as 62 other nations world-wide.

Our programs are geared to not only instruct students in the traditional sense of the word but requires hands-on education as well. This ensures students get the most out of our program.

Spartan’s flight school is one of three locations across Tulsa, OK, with more than 247,000 square feet of facilities for training, classrooms, and administration.


How Does Flight School Work?

For potential pilots considering flight school, Spartan’s Associate of Applied Science program may be the best path. It is a 17-month comprehensive program. It will equip you with the skills and experience you need to get your FAA part 141 pilot certifications.

You begin in-flight training after your first few weeks. Spartan also maintains a desirable student-to-instructor ratio so that you can have up to four lessons per week.

There are scholarships available to those who qualify. Furthermore, Spartan’s flight school continues to add new aircraft to its fleet — including those with advanced avionics systems. We operate a flight training program located on a dual-runway, tower-controlled airport in Tulsa. Spartan College also has two flight simulators, including a full-motion advanced aviation training device.


What Are the Options for Furthering Your Training?

If you decide to continue your education after graduating from the FAA part 141 program, you can do this with Spartan easily.

You may decide to embark on the journey of obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Technology Management. After completing this program, graduates who continue to fly while in the bachelor program may have obtained more than 1,200 additional flight hours. They would then be qualified for their restricted Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certification from the FAA.

You may also apply to work as a certified flight instructor. Teaching helps to sharpen your own skills and can allow you to earn money while building up your flight hours.


Start on Your Journey to Becoming a Professional Pilot

Seniority in the aviation field is of the utmost importance. There are many paths you may embark on to achieve this. But they all start with a good flight school.

The Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology can help you get your training in this industry.

Contact Spartan today to request more information. One of their admission representatives will contact you to discuss your options.




Interested in Learning More?
If you would like to learn more about Spartan College and our program offerings, fill out the form below to request information, and we will have one of our admissions representatives contact you.

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