Thinking about a career change?

by L3Harris Airline Academy on Nov 24 2020
Thinking about a career change? Why you should spread your wings and become a pilot

Are you considering a career change to become a pilot? We don't entirely blame you. Taking your 9-5 to the skies is highly rewarding. Escaping the mundane and having an office above the clouds is what dreams are made of.

At L3Harris, we understand that there may be significant barriers between you fulfilling your dream; job security, family dependants and financial commitments being some of them.

But we're committed to helping you control your destiny and seize an opportunity of a lifetime. Here’s all the information to help you take that first step today.

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Signs it’s ready for a career change!

We get it. Feeling as though you're ready to change your career path can be daunting. But here’s six tell-tale signs that show it’s time to take the plunge:

1. Self-esteem and confidence

When you’re in your dream career you’ll look forward to going into work everyday and can expect your confidence and self-esteem to be sky-high.

2. You’re only there for the money

While earning enough money to live on is essential, achieving it through a career that you’re passionate about is even better.

3. Dreaming of a different career

If you find yourself getting lost in daydreams about 'what could've been', start listening to your heart and make a change.

4. Lacking energy and motivation 

Feeling drained, tense and as if all your concentration has jumped out the window? Maybe it's time to beat the Sunday Night Dread and take back control.

5. Forgetting why you started

Feeling disconnected from your initial motivation for accepting the job offer can be a sign you need to shake it up.

6. Envious of your friends & families' jobs 

Aah, the green-eyed monster. This is another tell-tale sign that you're longing to be somewhere else, doing something else.

Why you should take the first step to an exciting career as a pilot

Becoming a pilot is full of excitement and possibilities. Every day marks a new challenge, adventure, and opportunity to be the best you can be. Below are just some of the rewarding opportunities you can expect:

  • Career progression

As a pilot, you'll never face an overlooked promotion again. Once you secure more flying hours and experience, you can climb higher and land your dream role of Captain.

It's no secret that airline pilots enjoy a healthy pay-check. At the top end, you could be earning over £140,000, making this a positive ROI.

  • The ability to build lifelong friendships

As a pilot cadet, you'll get to study alongside like-minded people and build a network of lifelong friends where you'll watch each other fly high.

  • An office above the clouds

As an airline pilot, you'll also be able to explore new cities, meet new people and be introduced to a range of wonderful cultures. But let's not forget about the breath-taking landscapes. Having an office above the clouds means you'll get to experience the world from an entirely different perspective. It's not just about flying an aircraft; it's about enriching one's life experiences.

  • Perks 

There's an abundance of perks you can enjoy as a pilot. You get to travel around the world, enjoy travel discounts for family and friends and will sometimes be called a hero for simply doing your job. What's not to like?

From job security to health benefits, a career in aviation is up there as one the best in the world. Rise above the every day and become an airline pilot!

See what our pilots have to say

How to make the change & become a pilot!

If you've found yourself longing for a career change, here are the steps you can take to fulfil your dream and become a pilot:

  • Choose where you want to go next

Ask yourself if you've always had a dream to become a pilot. To go back to your roots, try to remember what fascinated you as a child. Putting yourself in the hot seat can help point you in the right direction.

  • Do you have the skillset? 

To become a pilot, you'll need a specific set of skills and qualifications. Such as:

  • A passion for aviation
  • Demonstrate spatial awareness
  • Aptitude for number and data analysis
  • Display meticulous attention to detail
  • Problem-solving skills

You'll also hold a minimum of 5 GCSEs (or equivalent) including Maths, Science and English Language. You'll need to pass a DBS Check and be between 5ft 2 in. (157cm) and 6ft 3 in. (191cm) in height.

With so many routes to become a pilot in the U.K. and Europe, it can be tricky to know where to start. But at L3Harris, we have plenty of pilot training courses that will point you in the right direction.

From integrated and modular courses to a university combined route, we're confident that there's something for everyone.

There is a world of adventure waiting on the other side, check out our blog posts to find out how people just like you made the switch.

  • Make the change and apply now

Once you've selected a suitable training course, we advise all prospective pilots to take their time to read the Application & Selection documents carefully.

Don't forget to double-check you meet the entry criteria for submitting your application. Our selection team will then screen your application and, if successful; we will invite you to attend a selection day.

Do you have what it takes to be the next cohort of world-class pilots?

Integrated ATPL course

Land your dream job

While this is a big investment, it's also a valuable one. With more than 40-years heritage in pilot training and a placement rate of 95% in 2019, we're confident that with us, your aviation career will take off.

Looking for earning potential to match your desire for adventure? We can help. As your career progresses, your potential earnings will too. You’ll start as First Officer; second in command to the Captain.

The starting salary for this role ranges from approximately £22,000 to £28,000.

With more flying hours under your belt, you’ll progress onto the role of Senior First Officer, with an expected salary of £36,000 to £48,000. After this, you’ll then be able to apply for the role of Captain, earning a potential salary of over £140,000, making this a positive ROI. Find out how much you can earn a pilot in the UK here.

Don’t take a gamble, use our earnings calculator to see how this career change would work for you.

Funding your career change

For many aspiring commercial airline pilots, the greatest barrier to becoming a pilot is securing the funding for pilot training. At L3Harris, we recognise pilot training is both a large and expensive investment.

However, the course cost reflects the industry-leading quality of training and cutting-edge facilities we offer to our cadets.

Our Modular ATPL course helps to break the barrier to entry by enabling future cadets to  train as a pilot on their own timescale. You can work as you learn and earn the funds to complete the next stage of your training.

While we're unable to offer any pilot training financial advice, we do suggest that prospective pilots speak with their partners, families, banks, or independent lenders for guidance.

Modular ATPL Programme

If you’re in need of flexibility whilst training to become a pilot, our Modular ATPL programme could be the course for you. With the ability to complete the course in segments, you can train around your studies or work commitments.

The courses are as follows:

  • Theoretical Knowledge Training (Ground School)
  • CPL MEIR (Commercial Pilot License with Multi-Engine Instrument Rating)
  • Multi-Crew Cooperation (MCC) Training.

To qualify, you'll need to secure your Private Pilot License (PPL) (learn how to become a Private Pilot and obtain your PPL), and you must have logged 150 flying hours before kickstarting your CPL course. The details are as follows:


  • Cost: £13,000
  • Duration: Approx. 10-weeks
  • Location: Portugal

Hours building:

  • Cost: £20,000
  • Duration: Approx. 15-weeks
  • Location: Portugal

Theoretical Knowledge:

  • Cost: £6,950 (Classroom-Based) or £2,400 (Distance Learning)
  • Duration: Approx. 29-weeks
  • Location: Gatwick or Coventry (Classroom-Based) or Home (Distance Learning)


  • Cost: £39,500
  • Duration: Approx. 23-weeks
  • Location: UK or Portugal


  • Cost: £5,699
  • Duration: Approx. 3-weeks
  • Location: Gatwick

Learn more about our Modular ATPL Course
Which ATPL course is right for you?
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