FAA Requirements to Obtain a Commercial Pilot Certificate (Summary):

  • Be able to read, write, and converse fluently in English
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Hold at least a current third-class FAA medical certificate. Later, if your flying requires a commercial pilot certificate, you must hold a second-class medical certificate.
  • Hold an instrument rating. A commercial pilot is presumed to have an instrument rating. If not, his/her commercial pilot certificate will be endorsed with a prohibition against carrying passengers for hire on day VFR flights beyond 50 NM or at night.
  • Receive and log ground training from an authorized instructor or complete a home-study course.
  • Pass a knowledge test with a score of 70% or better. The instrument rating knowledge test consists of 100 multiple-choice questions selected from the airplane-related questions in the FAA’s commercial pilot test bank. Accumulate appropriate flight experience and instruction (see FAR 61.129). A total of 250 hours of flight time is required.
  • Successfully complete a practical (flight) test given as a final exam by an FAA inspector or designated pilot examiner and conducted as specified in the FAA’s Commercial Pilot Practical Test Standards.


Commercial Pilot Privileges and Limitations

  • As a commercial pilot, you may act as pilot in command of an aircraft that is carrying passengers or property for compensation or hire and may be paid to act as pilot in command.