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Career as Pilot

Last Updated By Dipanjana Sengupta on 07 Dec, 2022

Career as a Pilot

About Pilot

Pilots are trained professionals who steer and fly airplanes and other types of aircraft.  They remain as the backbone of the aviation industry. Pilots are responsible for flying passengers and goods from one location to another. The basic duties and responsibilities of a pilot will vary. From performing pre and post-flight aircraft assessments, controlling the flight, being responsible for managing the cockpit, keeping a sharp look at the air regulation, planning flights, inspecting the air traffic as required, etc. There are various types of Pilots such as Commercial Pilots, Helicopter pilots, Military Pilots, etc. The duties, as well as, credentials differ relying on the airplane that they are in control of flying. 

If you are wondering how to become a pilot, you are required to be at least 17 years of age and have passed class 12 with 50% marks from a recognized institute, and have science and mathematics as compulsory subjects. Some of the top institutions that offer pilot courses are IIT Roorkee, IIT Delhi, IIT Kanpur, Lovely Professional University (LPU), BITS Pilani, Amity University, IISC Bangalore, etc. The average pilot salary in India ranges from freshers level to senior level at INR 2,00,000 to INR 20,00,000 per annum. 

Here we will discuss the facets of how to become a pilot, how to become a pilot eligibility criteria, pilot salary in India, the pros, and cons of becoming a pilot, top recruiters, and other topics related to being a pilot. 

Eligibility to become Pilot

To answer the question of how to become a pilot, candidates can check out the details given below and start planning accordingly. A basic criterion is to have a 12th pass certificate from a certified and recognized institution. For better insight read the details given below.

Subject Combination – Science Stream in 10+2 

Exam – IGRUA, ATPL, Institutions Exams, etc.


  • Candidates interested in pursuing different pilot courses must have a passing certificate of 10+2 from a recognised institution.
  • It is important for candidates to be from Science stream with Physics and Mathematics as main subjects.
  • Candidates must have at least 50% in 10+2.
  • Marksheet of other qualifying examination as required by the institutions must also accompany candidates at the time of admission.

Types of Job Roles Pilot

Often, candidates find hard to decide on what type of pilots he/she wants to become. To choose a designated pilot type, candidates must understand the broad classification of pilots. There are different categories of pilots that can attract candidates with the job profile they possess. Read in detail the pilot job profiles and choose the one that suits you.

Commercial Pilots: As the name suggests, these are pilots that fly for commercial purposes. They are responsible for handling the commercial requirements of the airlines. Be it carrying passengers from one place to another or being involved in activities like aerobatics, air rallies and aeromodelling. Candidates must also know that these commercial pilots are licensed pilots and are directly and indirectly responsible for the flights they use. The commercial pilots can further be divided into three sub-categories, based on the different functions they perform. These are as follows:

a) Passenger Pilots: These pilots are responsible mainly for carrying passengers from one state/country to another state/country. Passengers along with the plane are the priorities for these passenger pilots.

b) Cargo Pilots: Cargo pilots are the ones responsible to transport goods from one place to another as assigned by the cargo agencies. These flights can easily be tracked by the cargo or the courier company and then be notified to the customer.

c) Aerosports Pilots: These pilots are involved in activities like adventure and sports activities including aerobatics, aeromodelling, ballooning, air racing, air rallies, etc.

Military Pilots: They are the considered as the backbone for the Indian Armed Forces comprising the Indian Army, Airforce and Navy. The military pilots support the Armed Forces with their air skills to engage into air-to-air combat, identifying missions and transporting army essentials and personnel. The sub-divisions are as under –

a) Airforce Pilots: Airforce pilots consist of skilled and expert airplane and helicopter pilots known for their skilled work in transporter pilots, fighter pilots and attack heli pilots. Both Airforce and Navy have Drone Pilots too. These are pilots responsible to handle Drones and its activities.

b) Army Pilots: Pilots of this section are mostly Heli Pilots with expertise in attack helicopters, mission-based helicopters, surveillance and reconnaissance.

c) Navy Pilots: Like the Airforce pilots, Navy pilots are also experts in handling both helicopters and airplanes when required by the Indian Navy. Transporting things from one military base to other is a basic function for the navy transporter pilots. The fighter pilots and attack heli pilots are responsible for the mission-based activities assigned by the officials.

Private Pilots: These are the pilots hired for corporate or personal requirements. Private jets and helicopters are flown by these private pilots. A private Pilot License is issued to these pilots under the guidance and regulations of the Ministry of Civil Aviation. Private pilots can also be commercial pilots as per their needs and requirements.            

Employment Opportunities for Pilots

To start up a career as a pilot you have diverse career opportunities to choose from. Knowing the career opportunities, you will have ideas of the job profiles. After knowing the career options available, you are aware of the steps that have to be followed which include certification, licensing, and training. To assist the aspirers, we have listed the top and available pilot job opportunities. The same has been listed below. 

  • Arline Industries
  • Indian Armed Forces
  • Indian Navy
  • Indian Air Force
  • Transportation and Logistics Companies
  • Drone Providers and Manufacturers

Top Recruiting Companies for Pilots

In order to become a successful pilot, it is important for candidates to join a company or organisation where the scope of opportunities and growth are higher than others. There are a number of companies and organisations that hire pilots. Instead of getting confused about which company or organisation should be the best choice, candidates can go through the following that will help them to dig out the best company as per their requirement and qualifications. 

  • Department of Civil Aviation
  • Indian Armed Forces
  • Air India
  • Indian Navy
  • Air Asia
  • Indigo
  • Spice Jet
  • Vistara
  • Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Pvt Ltd
  • Skyworld Charter Services

Planning to choose Pilot as your career?

Pay Scale/Salary of Pilot

Pilot's salary depends on the industry in which they have been hired. Pilot salaries can vary based on their certification and their logged flying hours. Pilots are deployed by private operators, can be enlisted in the military forces or can pursue a lucrative career as a Commercial Pilot. Mentioned-below are the salary scale of the different types of pilots:

Job Profile

Starting Salary per annum (in INR)

Mid Level Salary per annum (in INR)

Senior Level Salary per annum (INR)

Commercial Pilots




Military Pilots




Private Pilots

1,50,000 - 2,00,000

5,00,000 - 8,00,000

10,00,000 - 20,00,000


Note: The figures mentioned above are an approximate estimate and may vary from one organisation to the other organisation.

Books & Study Material to Become Pilot

To pursue this career, all you need to do is to have a good command over the subject matters asked at the time of selection in an institution. You need to be good in Physics and Mathematics, both at the 10th and 12th level, in order to understand the theories and practicalities of a professional degree like Pilot. You must focus on your 10th and 12th-course books. You need to be agile and grab every learning opportunity that comes your way to learn the tricks of the trade. Being a pilot will give you an on-the-job learning experience and the more you learn & implement in your work, the chances of you becoming an expert in this field will increase, which will subsequently reflect in your pay package. However, you can go through the books of some renowned authors that focus mainly on becoming a good pilot. Enlisted below are some of these good books that can help you strive for your career

Pilot Training Textbooks

Author/ Publisher

Air Navigation (CPL-ATPL), the 2nd Revised Edition

R. K. Bali

Fly the wing

Jim Webb

How to Fly a Plane

Nick Barnard

You Can Be A Pilot! Answers to 25 Popular Questions About Learning to Fly

Chris Findley

50 Real-World Pilot Tips

Mark Robidoux

Weather Flying

Robert N. Buck

The Spirit of St. Louis

Charles A. Lindbergh

Pros of becoming a Pilot

Candidates entering the aviation industry and wondering how to become a pilot have to learn a lot and absorb it through training simulations. This becomes a great opportunity for the ones after they are certified and licensed. Some of the advantages of being a pilot after stepping into the aviation sector have been discussed in the following pointers. 

  • The pilot salary in India is higher which becomes a major advantage to choose a career as a pilot. This is one of the main reasons why candidates are driven toward the aviation industry. As per the reports, the average pilot salary in India of an experienced pilot ranges from INR 10,00,000 to INR 1,00,00,000 per annum
  • There are numerous travel opportunities that are available for pilots. It is beneficial to the ones who have a fascination to travel the world. It becomes easier when one is involved in the aviation industry. Unlike other jobs, it is not required to work at a desk or in the field. Once candidates are off the flight, they step into a new culture and a new environment. With a new flight, a new exploration is unlocked
  • One of the advantages of being a pilot is a high reputation in society as it is regarded as an honored job corresponding to other careers. The demeanor of individuals towards pilots is exceptionally pleasant and respectful as it is considered a job with high social status and responsibilities.
  • Pilots relish free stays and food at airports and locations they visit. While relishing various food and culture all across the world, a pilot enjoys free hotels in any nation they visit. The skills furnished to pilots are improved quality, and they enjoy dwelling in the most acceptable resorts in foreign countries.

Cons of becoming a Pilot

Unlike the other side of the coin, a career as a pilot has some disadvantages that are faced by the candidates pursuing this course. Some of the common disadvantages of becoming a pilot have been listed in the points below.

  • The cost of pilot training varies considerably for a private and government pilot license. The cost of private institutes is comparatively higher compared to government institutes. The admission fee of the flight schools might not be easily affordable for everyone, if you want to study on loan, it can put you under a hefty burden before earning
  • The number of seats in the flight colleges is restricted, and entrance exams can also be tough
  • The working schedule for the pilots is tight. Sometimes due to the cancellation and changes in the flights, it can lead them to work day and night without a break. A pilot must be prepared 24x7 to take his passengers to their locations
  • There are certain health risks that are seen due to staying in high altitudes and spending a lot of time on flights. As per some studies, they have been tested to be prone to higher risks of cancer due to their constant divulgence to high altitudes and high radiation levels. As per working time, pilots stay in the air, which can also cause health issues such as sleeplessness

Confused on what to choose as your career?