Becoming a professional pilot is one of the popular ambitions of children while growing up. However, many of these kids don’t end up on this career track as a result of lack of information.
In this post, we have provided the necessary by giving a detailed explanation of how to become a pilot in Nigeria in 3 simple steps.
How to Become a Pilot in Nigeria
Step #1: Select an aviation school
There are over 35 aviation schools in Nigeria. Generally, the cost of enrolling in the flight school is usually between N7 and 8 million which is quite expensive. However, it is possible to find an airline company that can pay for your studies and offer you a scholarship or financial support. You will have to work with the company in return for the scholarship after graduation.
When choosing your desired school, you need to make sure it is officially approved by the Federal Aviation Association shortly known as FAA. Usually, most schools don’t admit students younger than 16 years old. On the other hand, there are schools that don’t admit students until they are 18 years old.
One of the most popular aviation schools in Nigeria is the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT). This educational institution usually receives funds from the Federal government. NCAT will accept candidates if they meet the requirements. The application fee is N11000. You are also expected to register your profile, list your certificates, and pass exams prior to being admitted.
Generally, it is expected that the school you want to join is approved by the Federal Aviation Association (FAA). As stated earlier, you will also need to be at least 16-18 years old and you will be prompted to get a medical certificate.
The medical certificate is available in three stages, first class, second class and a third. The first class certificate has some features that are omitted in the others because it might not be necessary to pass those additions in the first class certificate to be validated for private pilot, agricultural pilot and so on but not a commercial pilot. You need a first class medical certificate to qualify for a commercial pilot. A commercial pilot is a professional pilot that has been certified to fly passenger jets.
When you enroll at the aviation school, you will be receiving two kinds of instruction at the school. One is within the confines of your classroom while the other is the practical flight lessons in a plane. Generally, these courses last for only a year or two.
Step #2: Obtain your certificate
There are several types of certificate available to graduates of aviation school. If you’re looking to work as a private pilot, you will need a third or second class document. However, if you want to work as a commercial pilot you will need to get the first class document.
Also, you will need to get an up-to-date medical certificate, it is necessary to get your aviation document in order to be eligible to fly on private and commercial airplanes.
We have highlighted the types of aviation certificates you will need below:
Certified Flight Instructor (CFI)
This document is not required if you want to work for a private or commercial company. However, it is an important certificate for those that want to become flight instructors. It is not unusual for the aviation school you are attending to hire you as a flight instructor and this certificate enables you teach others to fly. This certificate allows you to immerse yourself in the flying experience while you’re looking to earn more flying hours as you prepare for your future role as a commercial or private pilot.
Instrument Rating (IR)
This document is must-have for every pilot as it proves that a person can control the plane in case of bad weather and different problems. The IR certifies that you can use the instruments located in a cockpit to navigate in bad weather.
Private Pilot Certificate (PPC)
The Private Pilot Certificate is required by every person who wants to fly on a private plane. You must be at least 17 years old before you can obtain this certificate.
Commercial Pilot Certificate (CPC)
The CPC is required by every Nigerian who is looking to work for a commercial company and control a civilian aircraft. It is also known as the Air Transport Pilot (ATP). It is the highest honor in civilian aviation. Candidates must be at least 23 years old to obtain the ATP license/certificate.
These certificates are usually, obtained one at a time and each has its specific purpose. It is important to note that a University Degree is not a major requirement to become a pilot. This means that you can decide to enroll in an aviation school immediately after your secondary school education. However, the aviation industry prefers hiring pilots that have gained a Bachelor’s degree in a field of study that is related to aviation. The undergraduate course could either be a science or engineering course.
Step #3: Apply for jobs
Typically, it takes several years to become a professional pilot. First, you have to study for your pilot diploma for 4 years, then you have to earn from 40 to 4000 hours if you wish to receive a certificate and get a job. Once you have achieved these, getting a job becomes pretty much easy.
The major airlines employ pilots with diplomas, certificates and at least 4000 hours of flight and before you can become a captain or first officer, you will have to work as co-pilot for several years. If you are an experienced pilot there is the possibility of being employed as a captain or first officer.
Generally, the airline industry is very profitable because of the high volume of air traffic every day. It is said that $8 billion dollars’ worth of goods is transported by air every day excluding the profit from passengers.
In Nigeria, the salary of a local pilot is between N350,000 and N800,000 monthly depending on ranks. On the other hand, a pilot working with an international company can be paid between N1-2 million monthly.