How to become a Pilot in the Philippines


41 Flight Schools are currently approved in the Philippines (as of August 2019), the largest number of Flight Schools in any South East Asian country - being a very popular training country not only for Filipinos but also a large number of Asian and Middle Eastern countries
Entry Requirements

At least 17 years old, be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language and pass Doctor Examination (Class 1 / 2 Medical Certificate) for Commercial Pilot License at least 18 years old and High School Graduate

The Philippines is one of the most popular Pilot Training countries in Asia due to it's English speaking population and large number of Flight Schools. The country with more than 100 million people and 7,600 islands has more than 40 Flight Schools training both Filipinos and foreign students (it has a number of advantages which are described in this article). Low cost of living and generally good weather make the Philippines an attractive destination for Pilot Training and being a Pilot is one of the top salary jobs in the country. Becoming a pilot is the dream of many.

One of the main questions receives is How to become a Pilot in the Philippines. The country has a number of large airlines such as Philippines Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Air Asia Philippines and a strong general aviation industry providing plenty of job opportunities.


Step by Step Guide on How to become a Pilot in the Philippines


Step 1. Research

Research the different options you have to become a Pilot. Start of by researching online thru, Google, YouTube, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, Facebook Pilot Groups and others. The more research you do initially, the more you will know all your options and the process of how to become a pilot in the Philippines. You can also click the yellow CONTACT US button to send us a message as we try to help everyone who wants to become a Pilot!

  • Different Pilot Training Options
    • Flight School: Take your flight training with a Flight School in the Philippines or abroad (if you want to learn more about the options of doing your flight training abroad in countries such as the United States which is very popular for Filipinos, please send us a message).
    • Aviation related College Degree Program: This allows you to combine a college degree with flight training.
    • Airline Cadet Pilot Program: These are flight training programs which include guaranteed employment with the airline upon successful graduation (and some of these programs are sponsored by the airline). You can contact us and we can provide you with the latest information on Airline Cadet Pilot Programs in the Philippines if you click on the yellow CONTACT US button.
    • Join the Military (Philippine Air Force): Get your flight training sponsored by joining the Military - you will have to stay with the Military for 12 years after completing your training before you are allowed to apply to commercial airlines


Step 2. Basic Requirements

  • Age: The minimum age to start your pilot training is 16 years old when you can receive a Student Pilot License and the retirement age for airline pilots actively flying is 67 years old.
  • Medical Certificate: In order to start your pilot training, you will need to secure a Medical Certificate - in order to get this, it is best to speak with the Flight School you want to start with and then go to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines Head Office and have your self assessed by an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME).
  • Educational requirement: It is important to note at this point that while you can get a Student Pilot License, Private Pilot License, and Commercial Pilot License with a High School degree, working for one of the large airlines requires at least a College degree.
  • English Proficiency: The language of Aviation internationally is English and it is recommended to meet a Level 4 English standard before receiving your Commercial Pilot License - if you are looking to improve your English, you can send us a message and we will give you tips on what courses to take.


Step 3. Training Stages

  • Student Pilot License (SPL): If you are doing your flight training in the Philippines this License is required to start your pilot training and you will have this until 40 to 50 hours of total flight time before you get your Private Pilot License. You will need to be at least 16 years old to get this license and it will be valid for 24 months.
  • Private Pilot License (PPL): This license will allow you to fly solo or fly passengers or cargo but without receiving any money for it. You will need to be at least 17 years old to get this license.
    • Complete and know basic principles of aviation including: Theory of Flight, Air Traffic Communications and Control, Civil Air Regulations, Basic Principles of Meteorology, Air Navigation, Aircraft Performance, and Weight and Balance
    • The minimum requirement to get this Private Pilot License is 40 hours of flight training
    • At least 20 hours of dual flight instruction
    • At least 10 hours of solo flight
    • 10 hours which can be dual or solo flight
    • Passed the Approved Training Organisation (ATO) Knowledge Test
    • Passed the Approved Training Organisation (ATO) Practical Flight Test and Oral Examination (Check Ride)
    • National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) License (Radio Telephony)
  • Commercial Pilot License (CPL): This license will allow you to earn from flying and be a paid professional pilot. You will need to be at least 18 years old.
    • You will need to already have a Private Pilot License (PPL) to convert this to a Commercial Pilot License (CPL), a Class One Medical Certificate and meet the English Language Proficiency (at least to Level 4).
    • The total flight time requirements is at least 150 flight hours (made up of a minimum of 110 hours of flight training in the CPL stage and the 40 hours from the Private Pilot License training).
    • Passed the Approved Training Organisation (ATO) Knowledge Test
    • Passed the Approved Training Organisation (ATO) Practical Flight Test and Oral Examination (Check Ride)
    • National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) License (Radio Telephony)
    • Additional licenses are Instrument Rating and Multi-Engine Rating explained below
  • Instrument Rating: Being Instrument Rated means that you can fly the aircraft in any weather condition (example low or zero visibility) using just the instruments.
  • Multi-Engine Rating: While not a requirement currently in the Philippines to join the airlines, getting your Multi-Engine Rating will allow you to operate large multi-engine aircraft - you will need to log 10 to 15 flight hours before doing the Check Ride.
  • Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL): This is the highest level of Pilot License both in the Philippines and globally. The license is a requirement if you want to be a Captain (in command) of a multi-crew aircraft (like a commercial airline aircraft). The requirements are:
    • Commercial Pilot License (CPL) including Instrument Rating
    • Class 1 Medical Certificate
    • Flight Logbook with a Total Flight Time of at least 1,500 hours
    • Approved Training Organisation (ATO) Certificate of ATPL Ground training
    • National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) License (Radio Telephony)
    • English Language Proficiency (at least level 4)

If you have any questions so far, please do send us a message or check out all the Flight Schools in the Philippines.


Step 4. Career Options

  • Airline Pilot for the large airlines or smaller regional ones
  • Corporate or Business Aviation Pilot
  • Cargo Pilot
  • Charter / Air Taxi Pilot
  • Flight Instructor
  • Medical / Air Ambulance Pilots
  • Agricultural Pilot and many more options

As an Airline Captain you will earn around US$8,500 per month plus benefits (PHP 435,000)!



Tips for picking a Flight School

  • Decide on your pilot goals - what are your long-term aspirations in aviation? Do you want to become a pilot in your free time (Private Pilot License)? Do you want to fly in General Aviation (Commercial Pilot License)? Do you want to become an airline pilot (airline program)? If you want to become an airline pilot which airlines are hiring? What aircraft are the airlines receiving over the next few years? Which flight schools do the airlines usually hire from? These are critical questions you should list and get answers to when asking yourself "how will I become a Pilot".
  • Determine how much you can afford to spend - different schools have different costs (due to location, number of students, aircraft type and a number of other factors), find out the reasons for the price difference. Do programs have financial assistance/loan programs? Might a part time program work for you?
  • How much free time do you have - different schools have different training schedules with some offering flexibility while others want the cadets to train full time and on campus (note that delaying flight training usually increases your training cost).
  • What equipment does the flight school use - this is important from a training but even more importantly from a safety aspect. Take into consideration as well the equipment preference of airlines which will want new pilots to have trained on certain equipment. Find out what the difference is between training aircraft (both from a training and cost perspective). Aircraft age does not always relate to safety, this is dependent on the aircraft maintenance - ask the flight school in detail about their aircraft maintenance department? Safety features of the aircraft?