If you are an aviation enthusiast, you might probably have the vision of becoming a professional pilot and conquering the sky. Well, becoming a pilot is a dream of almost every aviation lover.

But, do you know what it takes to become a professional airline pilot?

There are various pilot training courses offered by flight schools such as Private Pilot, Commercial Pilot, Recreational Pilot, Military Pilot, Airline Cadet Pilot Program, Accelerated Flight Training, and much more.

You might have heard about Professional Pilot Program, Accelerated Pilot Program, Airline Cadet Program, and the Zero to Hero Program offered by various flight schools around the world. These programs are designed to produce proficient airline pilots in a short period of time.

With professional pilot programs, students can become airline pilots with zero experience in a systematic, and expedited way. This blog will answer the question ‘How to become an airline pilot with no experience?’ in detail. 

So, let’s get started with an introduction to the Professional or Accelerated Pilot Program.

What’s the quickest way to become a pilot?

Flight training schools around the world offer a faster way to become an airline pilot. The expedited flight training programs are known by different names like Accelerated Flight Training, Professional Pilot, or Zero to Hero Program. Besides, there is also an Airline Cadet Pilot program.

All these programs offer the quickest way to become a professional airline pilot. The Airline Cadet Pilot program is one of the best training that is offered by a pilot training organization in collaboration with an airline. After completion of the cadet pilot program (also known as the Airline Career Pilot Program), fresh pilots are offered an employment opportunity in the same airline.

Let’s take the example of United Airlines which is one of the major carriers in the United States. The airline offers Aviate program, a direct route to a pilot job with United, that allows students to become pilots quicker. 

United Aviate Program (How to become an Airline Pilot with no experience?)

With the United Aviate program, trainees as a beginner can see themselves transitioning to a position as a First Officer for United Airlines in a short period of time. You can go through this detailed article to find out the information on becoming a United Airlines pilot.

Another relevant example of the Airline Cadet Program is the Qatar Airways Cadet Pilot Program. The national flag carrier of Qatar offers Cadet Pilot Program to competent students who will go through intensive training at Qatar Airways training facility and then receive a hands-on role in Qatar’s flagship airline.

Those students who successfully complete the Qatar Airways Cadet Pilot Programme will receive Multi-Crew Pilot License (MPL) and a Bachelor’s Degree in aviation. The Cadet Pilot training includes 18 months of foundation course for Maths, Science, and English if required. After that, trainees will go through 20 months of intensive pilot training that includes theory and practical classes at Qatar Aeronautical College (QAC).

Qatar Airways Cadet Pilot Program (How to become an Airline Pilot with no experience?)

With the completion of the overall training, the cadet pilots will be offered opportunities to be trained as Second Officers on Qatar Airways’s fleet. Working as a Second Officer, cadets will gain ample experience and technical training to be promoted as First Officer. Read this detailed guide to exploring Qatar Airways Cadet Pilot Program.

Likewise, various other reputed airlines all over the world feature their own cadet pilot program. 

Other programs including Zero to Hero, Accelerated Flight Training, and Professional Pilot Program allow trainee students to become competent airline pilots in a systematic way. Such students are highly likely to be recruited by commercial airline companies.

Accelerated Flight Training programs, Fast Track Airline Pilot Programs, or Zero to Hero Programs are offered by flight training schools for fast-track, and airline-oriented training.

Students can complete the Accelerated Flight training in less than a year with zero experience, and start flying as an airline pilot in two years. During the fast-track training, they will receive Commercial Pilot License (CPL) certification, Certified Flight Instructor (CFI), and Certified Flight Instructor–Instrument (CFII).

ATP Flight School (one of the prominent flight training schools in the United States) offers an Airline Career Pilot program that allows you to become an airline pilot in no more than 2 years.

ATP has partnered with more than 37 airlines offering a direct path to the reputed airlines. Students taking Airline Career Pilot Program at this school receive CPL, CFI, CFII, Total Immersion Flight Training, and 100+ hour Multi-engine in the period of seven months.

Let’s take an example of how you can become a professional pilot for American Airlines with zero experience by enrolling in the ATP’s Airline Career Pilot Program.

ATP Flight School (How to become an Airline Pilot with no experience?)

Become an Airline Pilot with no experience (Steps)

Following are the steps that you will go through to become an American Airlines First Officer from zero experience.

Step #1: Enrol in ATP’s Airline Career Pilot Program

Students with zero experience can initiate Airline Career Pilot Program, and earn an FAA commercial muti-engine certificate along with Instrument Rating. It is the most proven way to earn the certification in a short period of time which takes just 7 months to complete.

Step #2: Earn Experience working as a Flight Instructor

Those students successfully completing the ATP’s Airline Career Pilot Program can work at the ATP Flight Schools as flight instructors. With this opportunity, they can earn up to 1,500 hours of flying experience.

Step #3: Join Envoy Cadet Program

After gaining 1,500 hours of flight experience, pilots get an opportunity to interview with Envoy Air for participation in the Pilot Cadet Program. Once the interview is passed, pilots will be selected for the Cadet Program as an instructor. (Future interviews are not required by Envoy Air or American Airlines).

Step #4: Become a Regional First Officer

Working as a flight instructor in Envoy Cadet Program, pilots can earn up to 1,500 hours of flight time, and complete ATP CTP (Airline Transport Pilot Certification Training Program) courses sponsored by Envoy. 

After the completion, pilots will be placed into the next available new hire class at Envoy Air. Later, they will fly as American Eagle (regional airline) First Officers.

Step #5: Become a Captain

Pilots get an opportunity to upgrade to Captain with Envoy Air after two years of successful flying period as a regional first officer. 

Step #6: Become an American Airlines Pilot

(How to become an Airline Pilot with no experience?)

Becoming a captain with Envoy Air is the gateway to becoming an American Airlines Pilot. Pilots will get an opportunity to become American Airlines pilots which is made possible with an agreement between Envoy Air, and American Airlines.

This is how you can become a competent airline pilot via Accelerated Flight Training. There are various other flight schools offering Career Pilot Programs in partnership with major airlines.

How to become an Airline pilot with no experience? (Illustration Video by ATP Flight School)

Not only flight institutes, but airlines also offer their own cadet pilot pathway programs. Some popular programs are United Aviate, Southwest Destination 225° Cadet Pathway, American Airlines Cadet Program, Frontier F9 Pilot Cadet Program, Qatar Airways Cadet Pilot Programme, and so on.

How much does it cost to become an airline pilot?

We have explored all the information on becoming an airline pilot in a quicker way. But, you must be wondering about the overall cost of the Accelerated Flight Training.

Basically, fast-track programs like Airline Cadet Program, Accelerated Flight Training, and Professional Pilot training are expensive due to the intensive training offered in a short period of time.

As we discussed Airline Career Pilot Program offered by ATP Flight School, the fast-track program costs almost $91,995 when you start with zero experience. This is a fixed cost for training materials, flight hours, and instructor fees.

If you already have Private Pilot License (PPL) certificate, the total cost for the Airline Career Program is $71,995. These costs differ according to the flight schools, and the country they are located in. We have prepared this article that covers ‘which country is best for pilot training.

Another example of the Airline Cadet Pilot Program cost is the United Aviate. This program requires students to spend almost $72,000 which includes fees for Instrument Rating, Commercial License, Certified Flight Instructor (CFI, CFII), and Multi-Engine Flight Instructor.

Conclusion on ‘How to become an airline pilot with no experience?

As we are at the end of this blog, we explored the quicker way to become an airline pilot by answering the question ‘How to become an Airline Pilot with no experience?.’ There are various programs available such as Accelerated Flight Training, Airline Cadet Pilot/Airline Career Pilot Program, Zero to Hero Program, and Professional Pilot Program.

If you have enough funding and want to become a professional airline pilot quicker, the above-discussed programs are the best ones. 

The major benefit of Accelerated Pilot Programs is that you don’t need to worry about your professional career. Reputed airlines are always likely to hire pilots completing professional training programs. Besides, airline cadet pilot programs are the direct gateway towards working for commercial airlines. 

The only negative aspect of such fast-track programs is the expensive cost which might not be a problem if you are financially strong.

FAQs on ‘How to become an airline pilot with no experience?’ 

Can I become a pilot with no experience?

Yes, you can become a pilot with no experience by enrolling in fast-track training programs such as Airline Cadet/Airline Career Pilot Program, Accelerated Flight Training, or Zero to Hero Program.

How long does it take to become an airline pilot?

It takes almost 2 years to become a professional airline pilot with accelerated flight training programs. You will spend less than a year getting all required certifications and then acquire flight hours.

Can I become a commercial pilot without a degree?

You can become a commercial pilot without a degree. The basic educational requirement for the pilot training is a High School degree passed in Maths and Physics. The majority of airlines around the world hire pilots without a degree.

What is the easiest way to become a commercial pilot?

The easiest way to become a commercial airline pilot is to take Accelerated Flight Training, Zero to Hero Programs, or Airline Career Pilot Programs.

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Suman Karki
Suman Karki is the founder of the AviaTech Channel blog and YouTube Channel. He is a passionate aviation enthusiast and holds experience working as a Ground Operations Officer for Swissport International. He is currently serving as a Flight Data Feeder for FlightAware (a US-based company for Flight Tracking). Besides, he has worked as an aviation content editor for various aviation media.



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