How To Become A Professional Pilot

Do you dream of becoming an Airline Pilot? Or working as a Private Pilot for a Corporation?

Whether it is a career change or a life passion, becoming a Professional/Airline Pilot is achievable with 6 straight forward steps. Brazos Valley Flight Services is determined to help you get on track to meet your goals in becoming a Professional Pilot. Our services will meet and exceed all training needs to get you from Student Pilot to Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) and beyond.

Please, read also our Getting Started Page where you will find a complete list of requirements for each certification and what BVFS has to offer.

Come visit us to learn more!

FAA Medical Certificates

Before flying solo, every Pilot must pass an FAA Medical Exam. While a medical certificate is not required to start training, we do invite our customers to take care of this requirement soon in their training to prevent delays in achieving their goals. The certificate ensures that you are medically fit to take on the responsibilities of pilot in command. To become a Private Pilot, a minimum of a Third Class Medical is required, however to become an Airline Pilot , for instance, a First Class Medical is required. We recommend requesting a certificate adequate to your level of training and not higher at first (usually Third Class). Each type of certificate has a different duration and medical requirements. According to the FAA Website,

“To obtain a medical certificate you must be examined by an FAA-designated Aviation Medical Examiner (AME). As the airman you should follow these steps to apply for and obtain your medical certificate:

At your scheduled appointment, the AME will complete your medical examination and the remainder of the FAA application form. If you meet the required medical standards, the AME will issue you a medical certificate. ”

STEP 1 | Private Pilot 

The Private Pilot Certificate is an initial certificate because it is the one most pilots get at the beginning of their certification journey. However, it offers a lot of flexibility. For most pilots, this is all they need to enjoy the benefits of flight and General Aviation. A Private Pilot can fly most single-engine aircraft, go virtually anywhere, and reach practically any public-use airport in the country. This is a Visual Flight Rules (VFR) certificate, so the weather must be good enough to know where to go visually (instructors call this Pilotage). With a Private Pilot certificate, our great State of Texas becomes much smaller and more accessible.

STEP 2 | Instrument Rating Add-On

The Instrument Rating opens up the highways of the sky by allowing rated pilots to fly using Instrument Flight Rules (IFR). When ceilings are too low, or clouds reduce visibility, VFR flight may no longer be possible. The instrument rating will not only make you a better pilot but will also expand your ability to complete most of your planned flights safely and legally. Learn how to get in and out of the “system,” to have the confidence of being able to execute your planned flights in a much wider array of weather conditions.

STEP 3 | Commercial Pilot

The Commercial Pilot Certificate allows you to fly for hire, i.e. you become a professional pilot. Some of the activities a Commercial Pilot can be compensated to do include: aerial photography, charter flying (see also 14 CFR part 135), repositioning aircraft, banner towing, pipeline inspection, and many other related activities. In addition, this certificate is meant to make you a “master” of the aircraft, as you learn to fly with great confidence and precision, by learning all the details of the aircraft and its flight environment. Finally, it is a fundamental pre-requisite to becoming a flight instructor (CFI) and an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP).

STEP 4 | Multi-Engine Rating Add-On

In order to fly airplanes with more than one engine, a Multi-Engine Rating Add-On is required. Considering most commercial airplanes are multi-engine, this rating is crucial to reaching the final step in becoming an Airline/Professional Pilot.

STEP 5 | Certified Flight Instructor

Teach others how to fly, introduce people to the world of aviation, bring them all the way from novice to the advanced ratings and jumpstart your professional pilot career. Get your CFI, CFI-I, AGI, IGI certificates with BVFS, so you can experience flight training at its best and learn how to share your outstanding flying skills with others. This certification also allows Pilots to bridge the gap to reach ATP minimums. It is a the tried and true method to build hours and sharpen your aviation skills.

STEP 6 | Airline Transport Pilot/Professional Pilot

Upon reaching the required ATP hours (1,500) Pilots are eligible to apply to Regional Airlines or other professional pilot careers (Part 135 Operations). Congratulations, this is the final step in getting you to become an Airline/Professional Pilot. Your hard work will pay off for the rest of your career.


Many general questions are answered in our FAQ on the home page. Also look at our cost estimates below. If your question is not already answered here, E-mail us at or call our office.  We look forward to hearing from you!