Step 4

FAA Medical Certificate

All pilots (except sport pilots) must possess a valid medical certificate in order to exercise the privileges of their airman certificates. The periodic medical examinations required for medical certificates are conducted by FAA-designated Aviation Medical Examiners, who are physicians with special training in aviation medicine.

Most flight schools will require you to have at a minimum of a second-class medical, however, we suggest you apply for a first class medical if you have a dream with the Commercial Airlines. Don’t count yourself out if you have a medical concern, reach out to an AME and you may be able to attain a waiver or a limitation on your certificate.


Classes of Medical Certificates

Do not withhold anything from the medical examiners as you may lose, and have to repeat, any certificates earned if a medical condition is uncovered at a later date. 

First Class

A first class medical is required for pilots who exercise airline transport pilot (ATP) privileges; that is, those flying scheduled airliners and other pilots whose employers require this level of certification. A first class medical is valid for ATP privileges for twelve months for pilots under age 40.

Second Class

A Second class is required for pilots who fly commercially—in operations such as crop dusting, delivering canceled checks, or carrying passengers or cargo for hire. The Second class medical is valid for commercial privileges for 12 months.

Third Class

A Third class medical certificate is appropriate for student pilots, recreational pilots, and private pilots who fly for pleasure or personal business (but not for hire). A third class medical is valid for 60 months for pilots under age 40, and 24 months for applicants who are age 40 or older.
Step 1

Find an Aviation Medical Examiner near you.

You need to find an AME near you. Visit Find an AME. Call and schedule an appointment, depending on your area, you may have to wait for an appointment.

Step 2

FAA Medical Standards

If you have known medical conditions, we recommend you look at the Medical Standards. Don’t get scared off, you will have a chance to explain your circumstances, everyone is different. Please understand that the FAA is just trying to keep you and everyone else safe by allowing you to fly or not fly. 

Step 3

Apply for a FAA Medical Certificate

Prior to your appointment with the AME, you need to apply for a Medical Certificate. Visit FAA MedXPress and request an account and follow their prompts. They recently made this system easier and more user-friendly to apply. Once complete with the application you will receive a PIN.
You will give this PIN to your AME, and they will pull up your application BEFORE it is sent to the FAA and confirm all the information you input and answer any remaining questions or concerns you have. 

Step 4

General Flight School Requirements

You MUST obtain at least a Second Class Medical Certificate to attend most Colleges and Flight Schools. We recommend you apply for a First Class Medical if you intend on going into a career with the airlines.

This will ensure you are able to obtain a First Class Medical prior to reaching that point with the expectation there are minimal medical changes in the interim. 

Please Note

Taking care of yourself and ensuring you are mentally and physically in good health despite what the FAA says is crucial for your own well being. If you need help or are struggling, reach out too many of the available resources for Vets and even those closest to you. Military OneSource | 1-800-342-9647 | 24/7, 365 days of the year. 

Step 3: Flight School for Veterans

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