How to Get a Pilot’s License - A Step-by-Step Guide (with FAQs)

You always hear people saying they know someone with “a private pilot license.” The FAA refers to the document as a private pilot certificate. Regardless of the label used, here is a high-level view of the steps required:

  1. Select and begin studying a Private Pilot training course or Sport Pilot training course to acquire the in-depth base of knowledge you will need to be a good student pilot and pass the FAA Knowledge Test and Practical Test (testing requirements are different for Private Pilots and Sport Pilots)
  2. Research and choose a flight school or Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) – See the following FAQs for help in how to make that choice
  3. Take your medical exam (private pilot only; not necessary for sport pilot)
  4. Apply for your Student Pilot Certificate
  5. Work with your CFI to create a training schedule based on your budget and available time that will enable you to reach your goals

To learn more details about these steps, please review the following Question & Answer section.