How to Become a Pilot in Texas-10 Best Steps

This article is aimed at showing you how to become a pilot in Texas. To become a pilot in Texas, you need training and different levels of certification before you can be able to apply to work in an airline.

Below you’ll find the requirements of the Federal Aviation Administration regarding becoming a pilot in an airline and information about taking up a career as a pilot. 

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Who Is A Pilot and What Does A Pilot Do?

An Aviator, an airline pilot is someone who is trained to fly an aircraft and transports passengers and cargo from one destination to the other.

There are also other crew members like the engineers and navigators involved in the flight of an aircraft. There are other crew members like flight attendants, drone operators and ground crew members.

During a flight, the captain, who is the pilot in command, and the second in command who is called the first officer, stay in the cockpit and work together to make sure there is a safe flight; takeoff and landing. 

Career Paths in The Aviation Industry

There are different career paths to take with a Pilot Degree. A Pilot Degree doesn’t just keep you locked up in the cockpit, professionals in aviation can play several roles, and below are paths in the aviation industry a pilot can take.

1. An Airline Pilot 

An airline pilot can fly private or commercial airlines. Airline pilots usually travel long distances, regionally, nationally and globally as well, having to stop between flights in different countries and they  have irregular schedule. 

2. Commercial Pilot

Just like an airline pilot, a commercial pilot doesn’t need too many certifications to fly.

A commercial pilot is specialized in transporting mail, charter flights, passengers, rescue operations et cetera.

3. A Flight Engineer

A Flight Engineer is an important member of the airplane crew. He makes sure the airline is working properly and ever is in order.

He aids the pilot during emergencies in aircraft, ensuring the safety of lives and everything else during a flight. 

4. A First Officer

The first officer is an assistant who sits in the cockpit with the captain on a flight. He handles the radio communications, and navigation during a flight.

The first officer is the second in command, while the captain is the first in command.

5. A Flight Instructor

A flight instructor is a trainer, who puts training students through a series of training on how to fly airplanes and the basics of airplane operations. 

How to Become a Pilot in Texas: The Steps

Below are the steps and requirements for getting licensed to become a commercial pilot. 

1. Be Of Age and Be Able To Understand English

In order to apply to get a license to become an aviator, a prospective pilot must be 18 or above 18 years of age. He must be able to understand, read, write and speak the English language well. 

2. Get a Federal Aviation Administration-approved Bachelors Degree

A prospective pilot would need an FAA-approved bachelor’s degree because most airlines ask for such bachelor’s degrees when one applies for jobs as a pilot.

With this in mind, someone aspiring to become an airline pilot should attend a Federal Aviation Administration-approved institution and go through courses to earn this approved degree and training.

A certification from the FFA gives the administration confidence that the pilots have the needed requirements to protect lives when flying because they’ve gone through the needed training.

3. Get a Private Pilot License 

For a prospective pilot to get a pilot’s license, he/she would need to have basic knowledge about flight methods, learn how to navigate, maneuver aircraft, get trained for emergency flight planning, and also get to learn how to fly small aircraft by themselves without help. 

4. Learn to Make Use Of Sophisticated Equipment

A pilot knows how to use certain instruments for flying an aircraft. After getting a basic certificate that qualifies a person to become an aircraft pilot, learning how to use these instruments is essential because aircraft pilots need to use these instruments to guide an aircraft through different altitudes and weather to achieve a safe trip.

5. Get a Commercial Pilot License

In order to have access to transport people and goods as an aircraft pilot, one needs a commercial pilot license to do so.

As long as a pilot has this license, he/she can take up various flying jobs like transporting people from destination to order, delivering cargo and search and rescue trips.

An aspiring pilot would need to get ratings for the different kinds of planes they would love to fly. Because different airplanes have different engines, and a pilot should know how to use these different engines if he wants to fly a specific airplane.

6. Obtain a Flight Instructor Certificate

For a pilot to become a first officer, he/she would need to gain a certain amount of flight hours. Most pilots take up the initiative to become flight instructors so they would gain more flight hours to be able to qualify to become the first officers in order to become airline pilots.

7. Gain More Rating

Sometimes, a pilot would be needed to fly bigger airplanes in the case of a smaller airplane developing faults.

For a pilot to fly a passenger airplane, he/she is needed to have ratings in addition to what he or already has. A pilot has to prove his ability to handle planes with multiple engines. 

8. Get Experience and Flight Hours

An airline pilot needs to log a reasonable amount of flight hours in the air to be able to fly passengers and cargo and carry out other flight duties.

You can achieve this required number of flight hours through working as a commercial pilot, a flight instructor, and also through training classes.

The standard minimum flight hours by the Federal Aviation Administration is 1.500. 

9. Get an Airline Transport Pilot Certification

The highest license the Federal Aviation Administration gives is the Airline Transport Pilot Certificate. A pilot would need more than the minimum required flight hours of 1,500 hours of flight experience.

A pilot would also need to pass some medical examinations to be qualified to earn an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Certificate.

A first-class medical exam is needed for a pilot and a second-class medical exam in order to become second in command. 

10. Interview 

An aspiring airline pilot would need to go through an interview to become an airline pilot. As long as he/she has met all the of the Federal Aviation Administration, the pilot can apply to work in top airlines.

An aspiring airline pilot would have to work as a first officer at least for a period of two years, before becoming a captain in an airline.


What is a Discovery Flight?

A discovery flight is a flight a prospective pilot would take with the aim of getting familiar with the airplane.

This flight would be a flight of about 40 minutes, with the Instructor sitting with the aspiring pilot in the airplane while the aspiring pilot sits in the left seat and fly the airplane for a majority of the whole duration of the flight. 

How Much Does An Airplane Pilot Make in Texas?

The size of the airplane company, the type of airplane, the rank of the pilot, and the number of hours flown (maximum of 1,000 hours a year) all determine the salary of an airline pilot.

The average salary of a pilot in Texas is $56,780 per year. 

Top 5 Companies For Pilots in Texas and Their Salaries For Pilots Per Year:

1. Strategic Technology Institute, Inc. (STI)

  • Salary of $329,265 per year

2. American Queen Voyages

  • Salary of $204,647 per year

3. Northrop Grumman

  • Salary of $170,878 per year 

4. Tradewind Aviation

  • Salary of $163,718 per year

5. American Airlines

  • Salary of $157,721 per year

Asides from the salary of a pilot, there are common benefits an airline pilot enjoys:

1. 401(k)

2. 401(k) matching

3. Buddy passes 

4. Paid Housing

5. Vision Insurance

6. Dental Insurance

7. Life Insurance

8. Disability Insurance 

9. Housing Stipend

10. Paid time off

11. Health Insurance

12. Retirement Insurance

What Is The Cost of Flight Schools in Texas?

Check this out to find out the cost of flight schools in Texas.

Is Being a Pilot Worth It?

Yes, it is. Being a pilot is rewarding. Careers in aviation have different financial benefits and exciting work environments.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the work schedules and the growing need of finding replacements for retiring pilots have watered the need for new pilots in this line of occupation. 

People in the airline industry earn above the average salaries in Texas, making this occupation worth it. As tasking as this job is, which needs concentration and patience, people who work in the aviation industry find it an interesting and exciting one.

Even as an aspiring pilot in training, you enjoy the fulfillment and satisfaction of being in the skies, as you strive to log the required flight hours so you can earn the appropriate certification to become a pilot. 

Another advantage of being a pilot, depending on the airline, is the discounts a pilot gets on flights which can be extended to his family and friends as well. 

How Do I Know If Being a Pilot is Right For Me? 

There are advantages and equally disadvantages to working in the aviation industry, just like every other occupation has its own advantages and disadvantages.

this, you have the liberty to decide if you want to take up the occupation or not. Below are factors to consider to decide if this is an occupation you can take up: 

  • 1. Can you work under pressure? 

To be a being has a lot to it. This job would need a pilot to have a lot of concentration, smart and fast decision-making skills and he must be a very patient person to be able to carry out his job efficiently.

He is responsible for the safety of everyone on board. Being a pilot means working for long hours and having to combat sleep when working.

Are you ready to put up with these? This is something to ask yourself and prepare yourself for this.

  • 2. Can you put up with an irregular schedule?

Pilots don’t have specific work schedules because this job is unpredictable. They spend nights and nights away from home and most times don’t be with family during important family times and occasions because of how tasking and unpredictable the aviation job is.

  • 3. Do you love constant and continuous training and learning?

As a pilot, learning never stops. The aviation industry goes through evolution and this would need the pilots to always be ready and open to learning new things in order to advance their careers. 

How Long Would It Take To Become A Pilot In Texas? 

Generally, it would take 3 to 4 years to become a pilot in Texas. But this would depend on several factors like ratings and certification you need.

Each of the certifications requires a specific number of logged flight hours, so this would affect the duration of becoming a certified pilot, ready to take up aviation duties. Do you have suggestions on our steps on how to become a pilot in Texas? Please leave a comment below.

How much does it cost to get my private pilot’s license?

The cost varies since it includes aircraft rental, instructor time, training, supplies, and exams.

The cost increases if you fly more than the minimum 40 hours towards earning your license. The cost can also increase depending on the aircraft you train in and the books, materials & supplies you purchase while training.

Very few people obtain their licenses in the minimum required flight time, though.

Recent price increases in fuel and other requirements have also affected the overall costs.

Currently, the recent average is about 70 hours of flight time with about 15 hours of ground time.

Adding in books, accessories and outside testing requirements gives an average cost of about $11,200.

The best way to stay on the low side of the average is to study a lot so you’re prepared, fly as regularly as your schedule allows, and pay attention to the instructors!

How long will it take me to get my private pilot’s license?

The FAA requires a private pilot candidate to have a minimum of 40 hours.

How long it takes you to get there is up to your schedule allowance for training.

You can fly as many times a week as your schedule and pocketbook allow.

What do I have to do to earn my private pilot certificate?

The FAA requires 40 hours of flight training. It is split into 20 hours of dual(instruction) and 10 hours of solo training; the other 10 hours can be fulfilled with either dual or solo flying.

The 20 hours of instruction include 3 hours of cross-country training. 3 hours of instrument training. 3 hours of night flying to include: one-night cross country over 100 miles total and 10 takeoff and landings.

3 hours of training within 60 days of your FAA practical.

The 10 hours of solo flying include 5 hours of cross country flying to include: one cross country over 150 miles with 3 landings at different fields. 3 full stop landings at a towered airport.

How much will it cost to earn an instrument rating?

A reasonable estimate range is $15,000 to $18,000, which includes aircraft, all training, supplies, exams, and costs of building Cross Country PIC time in our aircraft.

The minimum hours required is 40 hours of dual instrument training. 

The FAA also requires an instrument candidate to have 50 hours of PIC cross-country time.

You may acquire most of that time during your instrument cross-country training but will probably have to do some extra cross-country flights.

The cost can increase if the student flies more than the required 40 instrument hours and 50 cross-country hours.

What requirements are there for an instrument rating?

For Part 61: in addition to a Private Pilot Certificate & 50 hours of cross country time as PIC, the FAA requires: 40 hours of instrument training: and 15 hours must be instruction from an Instrument Instructor One cross country of 250 NM along airways must include three different approaches at different airports

Are there financing options available?

Texas State Aviation does not offer direct financing for students.

However, there are other options. You can go through either Pilot Finance or Sallie Mae (see our ‘Links’ page) to obtain loans for pilot training.

I have a JAA/UK/EASA Pilot’s License how do I obtain the FAA PPL?

You’ll need to contact the FAA Flight Standards District Office for the area you’ll be in.

That would be the San Antonio FSDO around here. There’s also a nice walk-through of the process at here.

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