Pilot Career Path

“I want to be a helicopter pilot.”
Explore the pilot career path, research helicopter training schools, visit the top candidates in person if possible, choose the school that best fits you and your goals.

Obtain an FAA medical certificate.

Have a plan for financing.

  • VA
  • College
  • Student loans
  • Pay as you go

Start your helicopter flight training.

Flight School
Flight school typically consists of:
  • Private, Instrument, Commercial, CFI, CFII, ATP
  • Most vocational students will need to obtain Private through CFII
  • Average 220-280 hours for PVT-CFII
  • Roughly $100-$115k, 11-13 months to complete (full time student)
  • Completion time/cost varies between students due to program ( DCCC program or non–college program), student ability, training frequency, and other factors.
1st Helicopter Pilot Job
Your first job:
  • Almost without exception, helicopter pilots start their careers as helicopter flight instructors, flying piston powered helicopters. This is due to several factors, including FAA regulations, insurance requirements, and job availability. Typically, 1,000 hours of PIC helicopter flight time is necessary to progress further in the helicopter industry.
  • Most established helicopter flight schools require a CFII for employment.
  • Quantum Helicopters instructors on average will reach 1,000 hours PIC time in approximately 1 year, however many continue as instructors for longer periods.
After building 1,000 hours or more of helicopter PIC time, most pilots will qualify for and seek employment flying a turbine (jet) helicopter.

Turbine helicopter experience is necessary for those seeking to apply for career level jobs that use larger turbine helicopters.

Most “entry level turbine” helicopter employers will hire pilots with no turbine experience as long as they have obtained 1,000+ hours of helicopter PIC experience. Although Quantum Helicopters provides turbine training, in most cases, flight instructors progressing up the career ladder will not need to pay for turbine training.

Career Job
Career jobs will often will be in EMS, utility, firefighting, law enforcement, search & rescue, or offshore oil/gas fields.

Once experience requirements are met, most pilots are eligible for employment with career type helicopter employers. A career type job would be one that a pilot would be inclined to stay long term, or stay for a career. 

Examples would be: EMS, utility, firefighting, law enforcement, search & rescue, offshore oil/gas etc.

Most career jobs require:

  • 2,000 total hours
  • 1,500 PIC
  • 500-1,000 hours turbine experience
  • Instrument helicopter rating
  • 100 cross country experience
  • 50 hours night experience