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Home > Becoming a Pilot > Another doctor considering a career change to be a pilot…
Another doctor considering a career change to be a pilot…
Pilot Career - Becoming a Pilot
Monday, 15 December 2008 14:02

Hi Captain Lim,

Firstly, I would like to thank you for such an informative site. I have learnt heaps in regards to becoming a pilot. I am seriously considering a career change and return home to be a pilot. Nonetheless, I am trying to obtain as much information as possible and your site has been absolutely fantastic! Smile 

I have always wondered about the opportunity and future prospects for a pilot. I believe that this question is different to that in your forum.

I was wondering, like a doctor, we have opportunity for personal growth, constant challenges and goals to achieve. Example for a doctor - we start off from an intern, then to a resident, followed by a registrar post and finally to a consultant (depending on specialization and a possibility of research or academia).

May I ask, what happens after you become a captain? What prospect or goals can a pilot expect, to constantly make it exciting and to look forward to achieve aims and targets for his personal growth (like targets or aim to look forward to, as a benchmark to know that we are constantly improving)?

Thank you once more for such a wonderful site and I will look forward to hear from you soon.

Cheers, Smile

Brisbane, Australia


Hi Aaron, 

What happens after you become a captain would depend on which airline you are with. If you are with a major airline such as Singapore Airlines, you have more to look forward to as compared to say, a smaller outfit like Jetstar Asia or Tiger Airways.  

In SIA, you would probably aim to progress from one fleet to another until you get to fly the Airbus A380 or some other newer aircraft at the end of your career.  

In Tiger Airways, you would probably stay on one fleet (Airbus A320) for a long while before you would see anything more exciting.  

For personal growth, some would look to become management pilots but the slots there are rather limited. 

I think, as a doctor, you have more choices in terms of moving forward as you can choose to become a specialist in so many fields. In that sense, the scope for a pilot after he becomes a captain is not as wide.  

However, since November 2007, a captain can continue to fly up to the age of 65 years. Thereafter, he can opt to be a simulator instructor with no age limit imposed (at the moment) as long as he is fit and healthy. 

Before you plunge into a career change, I would suggest that you ask as many friends as you can.

I have written quite a bit on the downside of being a pilot to another doctor in “A stressful doctor wishes to become a pilot…” yet he wrote to say that he still wants to go ahead to become a pilot. 

In addition, you can read this answer in “Who is more professional... a doctor or pilot?” to get a better insight of the pilot profession. 

Finally, my friend’s (Dr JB Lim) article, “A doctor's opinion on the medical and pilot profession.” gave a very detailed write up on the medical/pilot profession. 

Frankly, had I been a straight A’s student when I was young, I would probably have elected to become a doctor Laughing  

Somehow I became a pilot instead and I have no regret over it. Yes, I love the job or else I would not be running this site as a hobby!



From Aaron...

Hi Captain Lim,

Thank you so much for your reply. It is a very informative and concise answer. I have been asking around; i.e. friends who are doctors back home, pilots back home and in Australia (some of them who were doctors, which then pursue their flying dream and returned to medicine... just as you said about the stress and family life).

I must say Dr. Lim is right about the medical profession and I have been contemplating about the life of a doctor versus a pilot. And it is true to a certain extent both doctors and pilot do not have much family time (then again depends on how you would want to spend it  e.g. spending quality time at home or playing golf). But as a doctor, it is constantly on the ball and even on your holidays you would have to go back in, if it is your patient or speciality. Another plus point of a pilot is as you said, a pilot is able to take their family with them on their long haul flights. But for a doctor I can never take my family to the hospital to spend time... And for this, I will be spending my Christmas and New Years alone in the hospital Cry

I guess at the end of the day no one can help me decide and there is no right or wrong answer. I have been seriously enquiring about the pilot profession for the pass 6 months. And at the end of the day, I reckon, I will apply for SIA and MAS and give it a try. It has always been my dream to be a pilot (I almost quit Uni in my final year to do piloting at that time, but just beared it for another 3 months till I graduated and it has been 3 years since then due to other commitments) and now it is time to actualize it! Smile

Thank you so much for your reply, it is truly appreciated.

Thank you so much once again. Smile

Happy flying!




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Another doctor considering a career change to be a pilot…

Thanks for the information.I would like to know more about it.


Job Search
Snoreta , 21 Feb, 2009
i am 30 years old
hi i am 30 years old,forced to go to medical school.i quit...i have a alevels and want to be a pilot...since 17 yrs old actually....thank you..
kirk , 14 Oct, 2009
hello aaron! Go ahead and give it a shot, I hope you already have taken a step forward by now. I'm also a medical student in 4th year and intend to do the same as you, regards
s shah , 06 Aug, 2010
Over it Pilot
Oh god I hope no Doctor reading this is actually contemplating quitting their profession to be a pilot. A: It's a terrible existence for a family man B: Its as unstable a career as possible. This captain Lim guy is where you want to be, but not where you will start out an possibly not where you'll ever end up. I haven't read any of his articles but I imagine it took him at least 10 years from his start to get where he is. Don't fall for this, please. Being a pilot is not at all what it's cracked up to be, at least in the US. There is more stability outside the US, but your schedule is never good. And as for the option of taking your family on trips? HA, good luck. They'll be sitting at the airport on standby for 8 hours before they get on a flight (if they do) and it probably won't be yours. Anyone actually considering this; do more research. Please.
Source: Professional pilot and flight instructor for 6 years, laid off 3 times and looking to change careers.
David , 02 Sep, 2011
Engineer to becoming a Pilot
Dear Captain Lim -
I am a Petroleum Engineer with a Mechanical Engineering degree, spent 7 years in the oilfield and 30 yo this year. Being a commercial pilot always been my childhood dream. It came to a point now that I able to pay for the CPL course.

Just a reality check, by the time i finish CPL, i'll be at age of 32, would it affect my chance of joining airlines? A few friends are self funded CPL holder, they were struggling to find job after completed whilst their age were below 25 yo.

To be honest, I think spending MYR250-300k for CPL for a career change and achieving dream is definitely worth while and enjoying a stable life. What is your opinion?
Pilot Wanna Be , 28 Jan, 2016
Wanted to pursue the dream as a pilot
Hello captain lim. Thx for having the forum for those whom are interested in becoming a pilot. I'm a 25 years old guy with second upper class of degree in finance major. 188 cm and weight 95 kg. I know what I have maybe irrelevant with aviation but I just want to know is there anyway to get a cpl or even atpl by not using my SPM result in Malaysia? Cause I have very poor result in SPM. Is there any banking institution to provide loan for the flying fees? Or any sponsorship from the airlines If possible I don't mind any tied up agreement with the airlines. I just want pursue the dream that I always have rather than working as an acountant which is I'm not passionated to. I really want to become a pilot eventhought the financial factor not allow me to. I really need ur guildance into those questions I bring on. I know u maybe busy with those flying schedules. A prompt reply may do. Tqvm. Please reply me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it '> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if possible . Ur help is pretty much needed and appreciated. Thx. Hope to hear from u soon. smilies/smiley.gif
Jason , 26 Feb, 2016

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