Taking Flight: What to Study to Become a Pilot After 12th Grade


If you dream of soaring through the skies as a professional pilot, the journey starts right after completing your 12th grade. While becoming a pilot requires dedication and rigorous training, knowing the right educational path can set you on the fast track to achieving your aviation dreams. Here’s a comprehensive guide on what to study to become a pilot after finishing high school in Europe.

Choosing the Right Subjects in High School

The journey to becoming a pilot begins in high school. Opting for the right subjects in your final years can lay a strong foundation for your future aviation studies. Focus on subjects like Physics, Mathematics, and English. These are crucial as they form the basis of the knowledge you’ll need in your pilot training. Physics helps you understand the principles of how aircraft operate, the forces involved in flight, and the mechanics of aerodynamics. Mathematics is integral to navigation, calculating flight trajectories, and understanding aviation charts. Proficiency in English is vital for communication, as aviation is a globally coordinated field where clear, concise communication can ensure safety and efficiency.

After 12th Grade: Pursuing a Pilot Training Course

Once you’ve completed your 12th grade, the next step is enrolling in a pilot training course. First, ensure you meet the basic requirements, which generally include being at least 18 years old, having completed your secondary education with strong performance in Physics and Mathematics, and being proficient in English.

Next, choose a reputable flight school. In Europe, you should look for flight schools approved by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Research thoroughly to find institutions with strong track records and positive reviews. Accredited flight schools offer structured training programs and experienced instructors. Before starting your training, obtain a Class 1 medical certificate from an aviation medical examiner. This certification ensures that you meet the physical and mental health standards required for pilots.

Begin your training with an Integrated Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) course or a Modular ATPL course. The Integrated ATPL course is a full-time program that combines theoretical knowledge and flight training in a continuous program, while the Modular ATPL allows you to complete training in stages, which can be more flexible. Ground school covers theoretical knowledge, including subjects like air law, aircraft general knowledge, and flight planning, while flight training provides hands-on experience.

Degree Programs in Aviation

While a dedicated pilot training program is crucial, pursuing a degree in aviation can enhance your qualifications and provide a broader understanding of the field. Consider enrolling in a Bachelor’s degree program in Aviation or Aeronautical Science.


These programs typically cover Aviation Physics and Mathematics, deepening your understanding of the scientific principles behind flight, Aircraft Systems, providing in-depth knowledge of aircraft mechanics and systems, Meteorology, teaching you about weather patterns and their impact on flying, Navigation and Communication, enhancing your skills in navigating and communicating during flights, and Air Law and Regulations, familiarizing you with the legal aspects of aviation. Degree programs also often include flight training as part of the curriculum, allowing you to work towards your licenses while earning a degree.

Additional Certifications and Ratings

As you advance in your training, consider obtaining additional certifications and ratings to enhance your skills and employability. An Instrument Rating (IR) enables you to fly in various weather conditions using instruments, while a Multi-Engine Rating (ME) allows you to operate aircraft with multiple engines.

See Also


Becoming a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) qualifies you to train other aspiring pilots, adding a valuable credential to your resume.

Financial Planning

Pilot training can be expensive, so it’s essential to plan your finances carefully. Look for scholarships, student loans, and financial aid programs. Some flight schools and universities offer financial assistance to help manage the costs of training and education.

Embarking on the journey to become a pilot after 12th grade is an exciting and rewarding endeavor. By focusing on the right subjects in high school, enrolling in a reputable EASA-approved flight school, pursuing a relevant degree, and obtaining necessary certifications, you can set yourself on a path to a successful aviation career. With dedication, passion, and the right education, your dream of flying can become a reality. The sky is truly the limit for those who dare to pursue it.

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