REF: EB/SH/11/18                                                 

Build your Career - Becoming a Pilot FAQ’s

Even if you just started to dream about becoming an airline pilot, you will learn very quickly that it requires patience and perseverance. To reach your dream you should know what does it take to become a pilot, and how does someone start their journey. EB has compiled FAQ’s to answer some questions towards a career in aviation.

How much does it cost to become a pilot?

The journey to becoming a pilot is expensive - the overall training and licensing can cost anywhere between $40,000 to $60,000 including PPL, CPL, Multi engine Rating, Instrument Rating, Night Rating.

For those undertaking University degree program coupled with Flight training, the cost is about $150,000.

What qualifications do I need to become a pilot?

No actual flying experience is needed when you first enroll into flight schools, but you are required to have a good understanding of mathematics, physics, and Geography. (GCSE O Levels minimum C in the subjects)

Postgraduate qualifications are optional, but having a degree in physics or mathematics is an asset.

Different types of licenses:

a) Sport Pilot
b) Recreational Pilot
c) Private Pilot License
d) Commercial Pilot License
e) Flight Instructor
f) Airline Transport Pilot.
Do I need a degree?

Typically, cadet selection programs do not ask for a degree in order to apply. However, a degree may still be of benefit, as it means you’re going into the application stage a little older, with a little more experience behind you, and if for any reason you’re no longer able to pursue a flying career, you can still use the valuable skills gained in a degree to seek other employment.

How can I train to become a pilot?

  1. Aviation College or University: The obvious benefit of attending a college or university with an aviation program is to earn a four-year degree while learning to fly. Coursework consists of aviation-related classes geared toward career pilots, and the quality of training is high. Universities might provide students with professional experience and the most up-to-date technology and equipment in the country.
  2. Aviation Academy: Aviation academies offer a way for students to gain the required pilot certificates and knowledge in a short amount of time. These programs often train people to be airline pilots in a year or two with condensed coursework and intense airline-oriented training.

What are the medical requirements for pilots?

Taking the Class One and Two Medical Examination is the first official step in becoming a pilot, so it is important to attend the exam in your top physical and mental condition. You will go through a series of tests for your hearing, eyesight, coordination, and overall health. The initial check is thorough - includes colour blindness test, Heart, Blood, Eyesight, Hearing tests. Medical license has to be renewed annually for pilots under the age of 40, and bi-annually for pilot aged 40 and above.

What are the Soft Skills needed?

In addition to the ability to fly aircraft, pilots also need particular soft skills—or personal qualities. You must have excellent communication and problem solving skills and be detail oriented. The ability to work as part of a team is vital since pilots must not only work with one another, but also with air traffic controllers and flight dispatchers.

Can I handle the lifestyle?

Being a pilot is an exciting and unique lifestyle. Like any job there is a learning curve and challenges to overcome- for pilots this may include irregular sleep and less family time.

If flying is not exactly what you're looking for, you'll find plenty of alternatives in the Aviation industry that might suit you better. These include Air Traffic Controller, Aircraft Engineering and Airport jobs such as Airport Operation. You can also consider training other pilots with the help of simulators as a Pilot Instructor. The choice is yours!

I’ve heard about a pilot shortage – is it true?

It’s true that Boeing’s Pilot and Technician Outlook projects that between 2015 and 2033, the world’s aviation system will require 533,000 new commercial airline pilots, but the truth of this is that almost half of these pilots will be required in the Asia Pacific region.

However, it’s likely that the Gulf carriers and other fast-expanding airlines will look to recruit mainly Captains; further down the career ladder, there will still be plenty of competition. If there is to be a shortage of trained pilots, it will likely be felt by the regional airlines as experienced staff is snapped up by the bigger and more prestigious carriers.

There is also a high demand for pilots in Tanzania.

How do I advance in my Career?

Once hired by an airline, the only way to earn seniority and an eventual promotion to captain is to put in the time. Because airlines naturally want their most experienced pilots to be the ones captaining their jets, expect to spend several years as a first officer. Once you are promoted to captain, be prepared to put in more time before earning the most preferred schedules. Expect to earn seniority by flying at night and on weekends.

What is the Salary for Pilots?

A pilot might report making $25,000 per year or $225,000 per year. But in general, newly trained, inexperienced pilots might make between $30,000-$50,000 per year, while an experienced pilot who has climbed his way up from first officer at a regional airline to first officer at a major airline and then finally, a captain at a major airline over a period of ten years will probably earn $100,000 or more.

Local (Tanzanian Salary) in General Aviation a newly trained pilot would earn between Tshs 2 million to Tshs 5 million. The salary in airlines would range between Tshs 5 million to Tshs 11 million depending on experience and hours of flying.

Can I get scholarship or sponsorship for my training?

Due to shortage of Pilots in Tanzania, the Government through its agency TCAA - Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority at times offers scholarships to groups of potential candidates to undergo Pilot training. These opportunities are advertised in the Newspapers; however there is no specific time frame or period as to when the next scholarship opportunity will open.

How can Education Board of Africa Federation Help?

  • EB can provide the student with a loan under the INCENTIVISED LOAN Scheme. USD $10,000 per annum, maximum for 2 years.
  • The course may include Private Pilot License, but must include Commercial Pilot License.
  • The applicant must have completed ‘O Levels’ with Geography, Physics & Math as their core subjects, including a ‘pass’ in all the three subjects.

For any questions or queries, please email us at
Education Board takes this opportunity to sincerely appreciate Captain Rizwan Remtulla, Captain Hasnain Rajani and Captain Altaf Alidina for providing us with necessary information in the aviation field.
EB Secretariat

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