What is a type rating?

Stein Mjåtveit

Once you have graduated from a flight school with all the qualifications needed to become a First Officer, you will need to get type rated on the aircraft you are going to fly for your future employer. 

So, what is a type rating? Continue reading to find out...

A drivers license for one type of car

I usually compare it to getting your drivers license when people ask me what a type rating is. Let's play with the idea that your drivers license only gave you the right to drive cars in general and when you get your drivers license you would still need to get a "type rating" for Volvos (if that is the car you are going to drive).

This "type rating" would only allow you to drive Volvos however, and you would have to get another "type rating" for a BMW or a Ford. That is how it works type ratings for pilots!

In other words, when you have obtained the licenses and ratings you need to apply for jobs as a First Officer you can technically fly ANY aircraft. You just have to get type rated on that particular aircraft first.

Read more about the requirements in my other blogpost: "Which flight training program should you choose?"

Who pays for the type rating?

This is the most common follow-up question I get after explaining what a type rating is. The answer to this question is more difficult to answer, because it depends on several factors:

  1. What company you start working for (some pay it for you, others don't)
  2. The demand for pilots at the time (some airlines change their policy if they have a hard time attracting new pilots)

Just like any other market, the job market for Pilots is dictated by the supply and demand principle. This means that if there are many qualified Pilots applying for jobs (bigger supply than demand), the airlines might be able to convince the Pilot to pay for his/her own type rating.

If there is a bigger demand than supply however, airlines who previously placed this cost on the Pilot might have to change their policy in order to attract Pilots to start working for them. With the increasing demand for Pilots recently we have seen this change in some airlines, while others still place this cost on the Pilot. 

How much does a type rating cost?

The price of a type rating varies between different aircraft types and different type rating providers. To give you an idea, a type rating for a Boeing 737 can cost from 16 000 EUR to 34 000 EUR depending on where you do your type rating. 

As mentioned before, some airlines covers this cost while others don't. This could also change over time, so if you are curious about what different airlines offer you will have to contact the airline directly. 

Does OSMAA offer type ratings?

OSMAA will take you from zero experience up to the point where you can apply for airline jobs as a First Officer. A type rating is not included in any of our programs as the type rating you need will differ depending on where you are employed after graduation.

You do however get 75 hours in our Boeing 737 NG simulator, which will ensure that the transition from flying smaller aircraft to successfully completing your first type rating in a heavier jet aircraft goes seamlessly. Several airlines have given us feedback that our students are well prepared for their first type rating after graduating from OSMAA, because they get so many hours in the Boeing 737 simulator. 

What normally happens when a student graduates from a flight school is that he/she starts applying for jobs. The type rating is normally done after being hired by an airline, since the airline wants you to learn how to fly the plane "their way". Meaning that you will be doing the type rating at a training center chosen by the airline, normally with instructors from that airline while using their Standard Operating Procedure and checklists. 

I hope this post was able to give you a better understanding of what a type rating is. If you have any questions or comments feel free to share them in the comments field below!

Want to learn more about the demand for Pilots in the coming years? Download our Market Outlook with statistics and information about the job market. 

Will I get a job as a pilot?

Leave a comment