How to Become a Pilot in the Philippines?

Do you wanna be a pilot? What are the requirements? Make your dreams come true. Soar higher. Become a licensed pilot in the Philippines. A pilot job is one of the most rewarding aviation careers and professions in the world. There are different ways on how become a licensed and registered pilot in the country and I’m gonna lay out the ways in this page.

Due to insistent public demand and lots of inquiries from my Best Flight Schools in the Philippines article, I’m here to discuss the ways on how to become a pilot in the Philippines. Many are still asking me questions like, what course should I take to be a pilot? How can I become a pilot in the Philippines? Do I need a degree to be working as a pilot? And many more related questions. So here are the ways:

To become a pilot and to work as a pilot, one must have a license and certificate from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and pass the Aviation Training Organization (ATO) requirements to hold a certificate. Either you want to become a licensed Private Pilot or a licensed Commercial Pilot.

how to become pilot philippines

Private Pilot vs Commercial Pilot – What’s the Difference?

Private Pilot – if you are a licensed private pilot, you are allowed to operate and fly an aircraft for private and enjoyment purposes. You may carry passengers or rent an aircraft, a private plane but you may not be compensated for the services as a pilot. There are limitations though compared when you are a commercial pilot. In short, a private pilot cannot really work for hire.

Commercial Pilot – you can’t become a licensed commercial pilot unless you are a licensed private pilot. Once you’re a commercial pilot, you are allowed to be paid for flying an aircraft to carry cargo and passengers. You can become a flight instructor, charter pilot or cargo pilot, too. This is the start for a real career in aviation. You’ll have more potential to work in a big airline company once you have gone for Multi-Engine Ratings, other modern flight instruments and equipments and have gained longer hours of flights.

How to become a Private Pilot? What are the requirements?

To become a licensed private pilot and have all the benefits of being one, you must undergo and pass the Private Pilot Training Course also known as, PPL course which is usually up to six months. In order to have a license you must become certified as a fully-fledged Private Pilot by the ATO. The requirements for having the license are listed below. You must successfully complete and pass the general exam and actual flight exam/ checkride.

  • Minimum of 17 years of age
  • Fluent in English, oral and written
  • Hold at least a current 3rd Class Medical Certificate
  • Pass the ATO Knowledge (General) Test
  • Pass the ATO Practical Flight Test and Oral Examination (Checkride)

From the PPL training, there are also some documents required from its flight school. Usually, they are the same as those that are required from entering secondary schooling. The PPL course usually covers subjects such as theory of flight, civil air regulations, basic aircraft instrument and powerplant, air traffic control and communications, basic aircraft performance, basic weight and balance, basic meteorology, aviation physiology, basic air navigation, basic radio navigation and basic flight planning. You must also complete the required flight training time which is a minimum of 40 hours of widespread flight training which includes dual and solo instruction for basic airmanship, cross-country navigation, and emergency procedures. This 40 hours of flight time consists of at least 20 hours of Dual flight instruction, at least 10 hours of Solo flight ( 5 hours of Solo local flight and 5 hours of Solo cross-country), and 10 hours of which can be Solo flights or Dual.

How to become a Commercial Pilot? What are the requirements?

As I mentioned, an important requirement to become a licensed commercial pilot is a private pilot certificate. Meaning, you can’t become a Commercial Pilot if you don’t have a Private Pilot license. Just like the requirements in the PPL, you must pass a general knowledge exam and actual flight exam in order to become a commercial pilot and enjoy the benefits and compensations you can have in the aviation profession. A commercial pilot training course CPL course can prepare and help you pass the test. To sum up the requirements, here they are:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Hold a Private Pilot Certificate or meet requirements
  • Fluent in English both oral and written
  • Must hold a valid 1 st Class Medical Certificate
  • Pass the ATO Knowledge (General) Test
  • Pass the ATO Practical Flight Test and Oral Examination (Check ride)

You have to undergo a CPL course to prepare you to excel and pass the CPL requirements. It’s also usually in a period of 6 months. Flight schools cover the course to advanced subjects mentioned in the PPL training. In addition, you must complete a minimum of 150 logged hours of flight time which includes advanced commercial maneuvers and emergency procedure.

Bachelors Degree in Aviation Major in Flying

This is another option to become a licensed pilot in the Philippines. It’s a four-year-degree-course that covers aviation curriculum and covers both PPL course and CPL course. It will really prepare you to your dream aviation and pilot career. A Bachelors Degree would be more impressive to airline companies and employers though expertise is always the most priority. There are another aviation degrees that could make you a pilot, you just have to choose what suits your major and preference.


  1. Bibek Giri says

    I want to become a pilot but my family cannt affored me they cannt abeal to pay such a costly fee so what can i do?

    • says

      If there’s a will, there’s a way. Perhaps you can do working while studying to support yourself. Or apply scholarship. There surely is a way. If you watched the Pearl Harbor movie, you know you won’t let anything or anyone pull out your wings to fly.

  2. Nicco says

    Im currently a 3rd year accountancy student and plans to pursue my dream to be a pilot. What is the best thingg that i can do, finish my accountancy first then pursue piloting OR shift my course immidiately with one of those options you gave?

      • Wyman says

        Hey Nicco! I just read this and right now I am a 3rd year Accountancy student but I don’t know what to do either. I don’t know maybe because my family can’t afford the costs. I don’t know what to do. Can you please send sites of air schools in the Philippines? Thank you!

          • Keen says

            Also, you can be a pilot after 2 years! 2 months in the classroom and the remaining is the actual already :) 1.5 million in 2 years i think its worth it cause of study now, pay later program

    • Vince says

      why not finish the accountancy first?…. I really want to become a pilot ….. that’s my dream since i was in 4th grade. That’s the career I really want to have. I’m Already 4th year college taking Bachelors of science major in Information Technology (BSIT) and I promise to myself that I will become a pilot someday….. I will work for that. I took IT because this days and the in the future IT is still in demand due to computer era. and I think i can find a good paying job so that i can save for my study to be a pilot. IT is not my passion I’ll be honest with that. I really dont want IT. because my real passion is to be pilot. Everyday I imagine, what if I’m already a pilot. feels good :)…. Before I went to college…. I Decide to take Industrial Engineering. I pass the entrance exam in some of universities in manila.but I don’t know why I Take IT. I’m very indecisive.. but when my first year second sem comes. I decide that i really want to be a pilot. I told it to my parents but they said that they are not sure if they can handle the fee in flying hours. but now I’m suprise when they said that i can study again and take the course to be a pilot (Bachelors Degree in Aviation Major in Flying or BS Aeronautics major in Airport Transportation) and I’m very happy and excited about it :) by the way I’m 19 years old today…. i think that I’m not that old to take that course. hope majority of my minor subjects will going to be credited… so that i can finish at age of 23 :) Follow your dreams man. there’s always a way to achieve what you want! :) never give up :)

    • Mark says

      Finish your accountancy first so you would have a huge money to finish your flying hours. Any course will do naman e to be a pilot EXP lng tlga ang mahirap

  3. hanz says

    Hi fehl, I’m 24 years old, I took bachelors degree and now working as a corporate sales officer in an healthcare industry. My dream is to become a commercial pilot in the future and I I know it’s not like easy. Can u give me advise how can I start it. Is it also possible to be a pilot if I have fear of heights?

    • Marifel Dungo says

      Hello Hanz :) The beginning of a dream come true is believing. If you believe you can make it then nothing is impossible. I know it’s hard but hey nothing that is easy is worth it :) hehe I think you might also like our interview post about an Aeronautic Engineer. You’ll get more ideas how is it in aviation and getting a license. Just go to the INTERVIEW topics. Have a great day!

    • John Smith says

      Airworks Aviation Academy in Cebu has a good reputation. You can really practice your IR training there.

  4. lindon says

    If i get a CPL and IRC course and meet the 2oo minimun flight hours if i not mistaken, is there a big chance to get hire as a pliot in an airline companies? Im already 24, what is the fastest way to get the career? And do you have any idea if pal still offer a scholarship program for a pilot? Thanks a lot.

  5. lindon says

    I just want a clear path/picture for a career as an airline pilot. Its too expensive, i want to plan it well before i started. Thanks

  6. vincent de guzman says

    hi fehl, im now tourism graduate, but i want to be a pilot, in what way can i make it and what steps should i do?, thanks alot.

  7. markjohn:) says

    ahhh how po maging commercial pilot… ? ahh millions :(? or hundredths thousands ? i want to be a pilot but my father income is only 120 thousand a week is that enough po? :( now im 1st years hrm students im not serous in my course i really want to be a pilot … saan po pwede kumuha ng scholarship? :((((((((

    • Mark says

      Sa airlink kaso mo 100k per sem tapos trimester equal to 300k per year and 4 year of the BS degree so 1.2 million in school per need mo pa ma complete ung flying hours mo which is 6500 per hour in omni or flyfast min. Req to be a first officer is 200 hrs back then but for now it is on 1500 hrs depende sa airline pero pag cebu pac , airasia ,pal yan ang req. i recomend dude take up BS Aircraft maintenance and tech. Para may back up ka pag d ka maging pilot at malaki din salary non about 100k at un pede ka na mag flying hours

  8. isaiah says

    i’m not smart to reach this dream but i want to be a pilot someday and it’s to expensive -_-
    what should i do?

      • Ryan Jay Cortez says

        hi Fehl, i am 17 yrs. old and i newly just GraDuated hiGh SchoOL, i want to be a piLot but my family can’t afford that career .. then i don’t know what it takes to become a piLot .. what shoulD i do to reach my Dreams ?! :(

  9. Paul Delas Alas says

    I am currently studying Electrical Engineering at UST, can I be a pilot without finishing requisite courses like Aeronautical Engg, Aerospace Engg., before I can have a flying hours or it is required to have those pre-requisites. Thanks.

  10. JC Cansancio says

    Hi Fehl ! Is there scholarships offered in aviation courses ?? Can u cite examples of schools that offered scholarship to become a pilot .. i really cant afford this kind of profession coz its too expensive yet its my dream to become a pilot .. by the way im from cebu .. can u help me .. ty :)

  11. Ancey cheng says

    Hi Im already 17yrs old, and im from the Philippines. I want to be a pilot someday, I’m already going to college this year, and i dont know what course should I take to become a pilot. And my question is that What course do i need to take?

    • Ann Javier says

      Any 4 year course will do or you can take it both meaning while you are taking your college course you can also enroll your Pilot course. If you have other question just email me at

  12. Jairus Riel says

    I’m just 17 years old. And I’m very addicted on Microsoft Flight Simulator Game cause I really want to become a Pilot. That is my dream to become a Commercial pilot. But my parent’s can’t afford the tuition fees. And there is no scholarships here in Philippines. So what can I do? For short my dreams will not come true. I wan’t to join the Air Force, but I am a small man, skinny and short. For short I can’t pass the requirements on becoming a pilot of Air force.

    • Fehl says

      Well you are young and you are good in flight simulator game. Why don’t you apply in the Air Force and see if you can make it. Don’t make excuses again by worrying what can’t do. If there is a will, there’s a way. Start by applying at the air force

    • Ann Javier says

      There is no height requirements in flying school but in applying in airline there is, If i’m not mistaken for male is 5’7 or 5’8 for Female is 5’4.

  13. Charlotte says

    Hi I’m a 4th yr hs , my first choice in college is tourism but biglang nagbago parang i want to become a commercial pilot nalang so nagbasa basa ako ng mga article about sa course na gusto ko at nagustuhan ko nmn para kasing na chachallenge ako ang inaalala ko lang po is more on math daw po un and science it’s that true po ba? Ehh i hate math pa nmn po , pls answer asap

  14. Vincent De Asis says

    I really want to become a pilot, im currently grade 9 in high School, scholar in PSHS but the career is a bit too expensive and my question. how do you become a pilot do you have to take a course before going to flight school ?? and how much does it cost ?? My dream is to be commercial pilot someday…

  15. adrian guce says

    I wonder what is the total amount of money needed to achieve my dream of becoming an airline pilot. I hope you can tell me about it ’cause it’s very important to me to know . And oh.. If I get my license as a pilot here in Philippines, can I apply in other country. I’m just curious tho. Sorry because I’m asking many questions I just want to know as much as possible about becoming a pilot.

  16. Loi Mistica says

    Is Bachelor’s Degree required to become a private/commercial pilot in the Philippines? In United States, some airlines don’t require college degree in order to obtain FAA License and fly an aircraft.

    • Fehl says

      Not really as long as you comply with the requirements of being a private pilot or commercial pilot. That is to pass the licensure exam.

  17. Leah says

    How much is piloting course ? Magkano ang minimum ng tuition fee at bawat semester?
    I’m a grade 9 student and will grab the engineering in K to 12 . Dahil ayon lang ang napakalapit na course na available sa school namin. I want to become a pilot. I read so many articles but only this one is most helpful. And I want to know how much is the cost of piloting? Millions ?
    Please reply and thanks for this article :D

  18. Namron says

    Is it too late for me to start? Planning to study abroad to be a pilot then go back here in the phil. Madali lang kaya mkakuha ng work after training? First officer?

  19. juny says

    Since i started to dream i want to be a pilot already someday because i want to travel around the world
    but its so expensive.Some of the people told me to become an airforce and after a years convert into a commercial.

  20. Drew says

    I need more info, I wanna be a pilot since i was a kid, then this March i will graduate in high school. Can you give me some advice?

  21. jim says

    What if you fail and repeat a grade in high school.
    Does it affect the entrance exam for becoming a pilot?
    Will they still accept you in becoming a pilot. Lets just say you only repeated 3rd year once and after u repeated u went to 4th year then you finally graduate. Will they still accept you in becoming a pilot?

    • Fehl says

      Yes, they would accept you since you are a graduate, that’s what matters. You worry about that record when you apply to airline companies. You need to prove yourself and get that pilot license

  22. anthony says

    I’ve read that in order for you to become pilot, you should take ppl (with 40 flying hrs) and cpl with (150 flying hours) is it still updated? Would you happen to know how much would it cost for flight per hour? Is there an age limit here in hiring pilots? Thanks a bunch..

  23. Christine Arcallana says

    Hi. I’m Christine and I’m 16, and I’m graduating this March. I would love to become a pilot. I will be studying at Airworks this coming June and it’s giving me jitters. I’m doubting and I’m afraid that my chosen career would not suit me :(

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