Let’s take a closer look at How to become a pilot in Canada; what are the different roles, airlines and salaries, and are pilots in demand in Canada?
Canada is a country having diverse cultures and welcomes people from all walks of life. Pilots in Canada wanting to work for larger airlines have the potential to work for some of the following airlines:
1. Air Canada (Flag carrier and national airline of Canada)
4. Air Transat.
5. Sunwing Airlines.
Apart from these airlines, there are a number of other airlines offering different services that pilots can work for, including regional airlines, charter and cargo services.
What are the different ways to become a pilot in Canada?
Depending on an individual’s motivation, performance level, and financial condition the integrated or the modular route may be the best way to become a pilot in Canada. However, the best way would be to join the cadet program of any airline that offers a guaranteed job at the end of the training phase.
In case a cadet program is not available, the second best option would be to find an airline that is willing to sponsor the type rating for the candidate.
Another option would be to join the Royal Canadian Air Force as a pilot, however, this option means that the candidate would be meeting the stringent demands of the Canadian Air Force. But on the upside, the training would be funded by taxpayer money.
Again, it would depend on the candidate which path would be best for their particular requirement.
How much does it cost to become a pilot in Canada?
As compared to the USA, flight training in Canada is much cheaper. A rough estimate for prospective international students who wish to do their flying training in Canada is as follows:
|Program||Tuition Fees||Course Material||Other Fees|
|Private Pilot License||C$ 2775||C$ 250||C$ 15,346|
|Commercial Pilot License||C$ 5750||C$ 900||C$ 110,500|
|Flight Instructor Rating||C$ 3750||C$ 300||C$ 36,300|
|Night Rating||C$ 1400||–||C$ 1,740|
In short, a commercial pilot license can cost up to C$120,000 whereas a private pilot license will cost around C$ 20,000.
How long does it take to become a pilot in Canada?
Depending on the student’s motivation and ability, an individual can obtain their PPL (Private Pilot License) in around 3- 6 months, however, pilots with a PPL cannot be paid for their services. For a Commercial Pilot License, the average time is 1-2 years (3 years in some extreme cases).
Prospective students are advised to keep a margin for delay caused due to weather, maintenance issues, failed check rides, and any instances of poor performance by the candidate. After obtaining their CPL, pilots are eligible to apply for a work permit and work for any airline or flight school in Canada.
How to become a commercial pilot in Canada
Before starting their aviation journey, prospective students must obtain a Class 1 medical from Transport Canada which certifies that they are medically fit to fly. Once they have obtained a Class 1 medical, they can choose which commercial pilot training route suits them best, integrated or modular.
An integrated course is a structured course that delivers the course material in an orderly and structured way, whereas a modular course is a more relaxed and informal way of delivering the course in which the student determines the pace of his / her progress.
Once the individual has obtained their commercial pilot licence, they can either go for instructing as a way to build hours, or a ferry pilot, or fly turboprops. Or they can apply to an airline that is willing to either sponsor their type rating or attend a self-sponsored type rating course.
In short, candidates have a number of ways to reach their dream of becoming a commercial pilot.
How much do pilots in Canada get paid?
On average, pilots can expect to be paid C$ 17,100 monthly. The highest salary an airline pilot can earn while working in Canada is around C$ 322,000 yearly. A pilot with less than two years of flying experience can expect to earn about C$ 115,000 annually.
A pilot having approximately two to five years of flying experience can expect to earn up to C$ 163,000 per year. Pilots who have been flying for five to ten years can expect to earn a handsome sum of C$ 215,000 per year.
The following table is what a pilot working for Air Canada can expect to be paid:
|Air Canada||Starting||C$ 56 / hour||C$ 277 / hour|
|Average||C$ 157 / hour||C$ 286 / hour|
|Top||C$ 190 / hour||C$ 298 / hour|
In comparison, pilots working for Westjet can expect to be paid the following:
|Westjet||Starting||C$ 56 / hour||C$ 136/ hour|
|Average||C$ 92 / hour||C$ 173 / hour|
|Top||C$ 128 / hour||C$ 210 / hour|
For more information on the salaries pilots earn in Canada, please click on the links below:
Is Canada a good place to be a pilot?
Canada is considered one of the most cost-effective countries to study aviation. Canada is even cheaper than the United States. It has very open and friendly policies, particularly for international students.
It also offers students the chance to work in Canada after completing their studies as there is presently a shortage of skilled labor in Canada.
What qualifications do you need to become a pilot in Canada?
Candidates who are interested in becoming a pilot and undergoing flight training in Canada must meet the following qualifications:
1. Must be at least 16 years old to get a PPL (Private Pilot License).
2. Must be able to comprehend, converse and understand the English language.
3. Must be able to obtain a valid Class 1 medical certificate.
4. Must be at least a high school graduate.
To find out more regarding the medical requirements to be a pilot, please click the link below:
For more information regarding the educational requirements to be a pilot in Canada, please click the link below:
Are pilots in demand in Canada?
Pilots fall into the category of highly skilled labor, which Canada has a shortage of. Currently, Canada is accepting applications from pilots with or without job offers to make up for the lack of skilled labor.
Pilots can apply for immigration and gain Canadian citizenship once they fully integrate into Canadian society. Pilots from all over the world are eligible to apply for Canadian immigration provided that they meet the requirements set by the Canadian government.
Is it hard to become a pilot in Canada?
No, it is not hard to become a pilot in Canada. Any individual having the right mindset, willingness to work, and having a passion for aviation along with a solid financial background can become a pilot in Canada.
The training is at par with American and European standards as well as the quality of flight schools is thoroughly regulated by Transport Canada.
What is the best way to become a pilot in Canada?
Depending on an individual’s motivation, performance level, and financial condition the integrated or the modular route may be the best way to become a pilot in Canada. With the passage of time, airlines are preferring integrated course students over modular course students.
However, the best way would be to join the cadet program of an airline that offers a guaranteed job at the end of the training phase. The second best option would be to find an airline that is willing to sponsor the type rating for the candidate. Again, it would depend on the candidate which path would be best for their particular requirement.
Some universities in Canada offer cadet programs to their students such as the University of Waterloo. More information on their cadet pilot program can be found below:
Canada is one of the prime places for pilot training. It offers candidates a strong license that is recognized globally. Apart from that, graduates from the flying schools of Canada have been working around the globe in reputed airlines such as Cathay Pacific, IndiGo, Emirates, and Singapore Airlines to name a few.