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Home > Becoming a Pilot > Many questions from another aspiring pilot.
Many questions from another aspiring pilot.
Pilot Career - Becoming a Pilot
Sunday, 16 December 2007 18:49

Hello Captain Lim,

I have been dreaming of becoming a commercial pilot one day. I am 16 years old (still in school) and I would like to gather some information regarding this profession:-

1. What subjects do I need to take?

2. When I leave school, do I go direct to a flying school or do I have to go to a university first?

3. What are the different ranks of a pilot?

4. Is it true that when I wear glasses, I cannot become a pilot?

5. How long does it take to become a pilot and when do one become a Captain?

6. How much does a Captain or a First Officer get paid?

7. Does it cost a lot to go to flying training school?

Thank you for answering my questions.


Hi Paddy,

1. You need to be good in Science subjects. You must have at least credits in GCE 'O' level in Mathematics, Physics and English or its equivalent. 

2. This depends on which airlines you are applying for. A University qualification is not a requirement in some Carriers but because of the very keen competition, you may lose out in some cases.

3. A Captain has 4 bars on his epaulet, a Senior First Officer, three bars, a First Officer, two bars and a Second Officer, one bar.

4 Wearing glasses does not necessary disqualify one from becoming a pilot. Please read previous FAQs on this subject.

5. Please read previous FAQ.

6. Salaries for Captain and First Officer vary from airlines to airlines. Here are some typical examples of annual salary in US$ ( * they are average salaries and approximates for comparison purposes only) for the 10 major airlines. It is also not possible to give exact figures because some salary structures depend on airplane types and other miscellaneous allowances.

Airlines First Officer - 5 years service* Captain - 12 years service* 

1 American US$100,000.00 US$240,000.00 
2 British Airways US$140,000.00 US$230,000.00 
3 Cathay Pacific US$110,000.00 US$250,000.00 
4 Continental  US$115,000.00 US$200,000.00
5 Delta US$160,000.00 US$260,000.00 
6 Emirates US$70,000.00 US$150,000.00 
7 KLM US$100,000.00 US$200,000.00 
8 Lufthansa US$100,000.00 US$200,000.00
9 Qantas US$100,000.00 US$200,000.00 
10 Singapore US$ 60,000.00  US$140,000.00 

7. It depends on which country you intend to pursue your flying training.


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