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To become a commercial pilot in Canada, you must hold a valid Transport Canada Category 1 Aviation Medical Certificate. For this process, a thorough examination must be completed by a certified Aviation Medical Examiner. In addition to physical, auditory and visual tests, you must also undergo an electrocardiogram (ECG). Depending on your age, you will be required to complete annual or biannual examinations to maintain the validity of your medical certificate. Some major airlines have their own specific standards including psychological assessments.
Did you know... that you don't need perfect vision to become a pilot? Not being able to wear glasses is an old myth, and is not true at all. To become a pilot your vision needs to be at least 20/30 in each eye, but you are free to wear contacts or eyeglasses.
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Transport Canada Medical Requirements
There is no minimum age to start flight training. That being said, there are certain age restrictions to stages in your aviation career. For your first solo you need to be 14, to obtain your Private licence you must be 17, and to fly commercially you must be at least 18 years of age.
At the other end of the spectrum, you can fly up to any age as long as you still hold a valid medical certificate. Note that larger airlines may have mandatory retirement age limits of 60 or 65 in some cases.
To train in Canada, you must be a Canadian citizen, a landed immigrant, or hold a student visa valid for the purposes of flight training.
To obtain a student visa, you will need to complete the application forms through Citizenship and Immigration Canada. One of the items you will require is a letter of acceptance from the educational institution where you intend to study. More information on obtaining a student visa can be found by visiting Citizenship and Immigration Canada's website.
To undertake a career in aviation, you will need a strong command of the English language. As a result, you will be required to pass a Transport Canada Language Proficiency Test as part of your training. For those whose English is lacking, you may want to consider ESL training prior to commencing flight training.
More information regarding aviation language proficiency can be found by visiting Transport Canada's website.
Educational background is not a prerequisite needed for obtaining Transport Canada licences and ratings. That being said, a majority of schools have a minimum requirement of high school education in order to become a commercial pilot.
Airlines often have a point-system to assess applicants for their flight crew positions. Possessing post-secondary education earns the applicant more points and increases the candidate’s odds of getting the job. Some companies score further points for aviation-focused degrees or diplomas.