You can take many routes if you want to become a helicopter pilot. Before becoming a pilot, you must decide whether you want to obtain a private or commercial pilot’s license.

The only difference between the two is that a commercial license allows you to fly helicopters for a fee, while a private license can only fly private helicopters, and you won’t be paid for it.

Before you start training, knowing what you want to do with your helicopter pilot career is important. A private pilot’s license is sufficient if you only want to fly your helicopter without being paid. A commercial pilot’s license is required if you want to become a helicopter pilot, earning an average of $95,000 per year.

airplane flying

These are some differences between a commercial and a private pilot license.

The time it takes to obtain each license.

A few factors affect the time it takes for each license to be earned. The most important is where you get your private pilot training course. It would help if you decided whether to train at a school affiliated with a university like Southern Utah University Aviation or one with no ties to universities before you decide where to train.

Students who choose to study at a university fly school will earn an associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree along with their pilot license. Because graduates have more experience and flight hours are better equipped to fly commercial helicopters. A degree is not necessary to become a helicopter pilot.

It is important to decide whether you want to become a commercial pilot. If you don’t plan on pursuing a commercial pilot’s license but still want to be able to fly, it’s a good idea to train at a non-university school. Many university flight schools require that students continue their training until they have earned their commercial and private licenses.


Students must meet certain requirements to obtain either a private or commercial license. This includes flying at least a certain number of hours, solo and with an instructor. These hours can also be used towards a commercial license after you have earned your private license.

These are the requirements for obtaining a private license:

  • At least 17 years of age
  • Pass the FAA medical examination
  • At least 40 hours of flight time, including at least 20 hours of instruction and 10 hours of solo flight.
  • Written, oral, or practical flight test

A private license can take a few weeks to a year, depending on how many instructors you have and how much time you can fly. Getting your private license at SUU Aviation will usually take two semesters.

These are the requirements for obtaining a commercial license:

  • Private pilot’s license
  • At least 18 years of age
  • Stay current on the FAA Medical Exam
  • Get 150 hours of flight time
  • Written, oral, or practical flight test

It depends on how much training you have completed and how much time you are willing to put in. After obtaining a private pilot’s license, it will take two more semesters at SUU Aviation to obtain a commercial pilot’s license. Students then complete the second semester of training to earn a CFII and CFII (Certified Flying Instructor and Certified Flight Instructor Instrument) bachelor’s degree. These qualifications prepare graduates to enter the industry as fully-qualified, competent helicopter pilots.


You will have many opportunities in your life as a helicopter pilot. You will be able to fly thousands of feet above ground in command of an incredible machine, which can take you hours of work. Isn’t that cool?