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Making the Career Change to an Airline Pilot

Making the Career Change to an Airline Pilot

There is no right time or age to begin a career in aviation.

“I’m 10 years into my career, but this is something I’ve always dreamed of pursuing” – These are often the words of potential students, those who have put aside their true passions for a career that may have seemed more practical at the time. Understandably, they are scared to make such a monumental change and usually feel alone in it. So many preface their pursuit of aviation with sentiments and fears of them being the oldest in their class or that they have gotten a later start in their training and will be behind. The truth is that they are one of many who have spent years in a career they have succeeded in but are nevertheless unfulfilled.

While airlines require forced retirement at age 65, that still allots for a wide range of time to transition into aviation and start a career as an airline pilot. The length of training will ultimately depend on consistency and proficiency but can be done in as little as one year, and the time-building phase typically takes two years to complete.     

At first glance, the aviation field can seem intimidating and exclusive, leaving many to abandon their life-long desire to one day be in the right seat of an aircraft. However, while the overall journey is demanding and challenging, it is possible. Whether students are 18 and right out of high school or in their 30s and years into an established career, flight school is an opportunity to allow those students to work towards the rewarding career they have dreamed of. With the option of training full-time in an Academy setting or part-time in our General Training program, students have the flexibility of choosing the program that is the best fit for them and their current situation.

For those looking to accelerate their training, the 12-month Coast Academy will provide the highest level of training in an expedited manner. On the other hand, for those who have outside obligations, the General Training program allows training at the student’s desired pace and at their desired times. Furthermore, financing options offered through Coast and our partnership with the American Airlines Cadet Academy provide some financial relief with varying deferment plans, allowing students the opportunity to devote their attention to training. 

The concerns potential students raise regarding switching careers are incredibly valid. Transitioning into aviation may seem daunting, but so can the idea of feeling stuck in a career that will always feel like the safe choice. Our diverse student body will hopefully offer a sense of relief, highlighting students of different ages, backgrounds, and former careers, all working towards their individual aviation goals. The ideal student is not someone of a certain age or background but someone with a passion for flying and the willingness to work hard.