Where to Find a Job in Canada as an Aircraft Pilot

APR 19, 2022



Canada holds the second-highest pilot population in the world with more than 70,000 pilots. Canada also has state-of-the-art, world-leading infrastructure and weather forecasting systems. Those acquiring a Canadian pilot license will be able to fly anywhere in the world as it is respected all over the globe.

Not only that but across Canada, the current aviation and aerospace workforce will increase nine percent by 2025 in addition to the replacement of retiring workers. So let us take a look at where to find a job in Canada as an aircraft pilot for foreign nationals.

How to Become a Pilot in Canada


There are a few general requirements that need to be met in order to work as a pilot in Canada, they are as follows:

  • 1,000 hours of fixed-wing flying time;
  • Completion of schooling to the university entrance level;
  • Ability to pass the Air Canada and Transport Canada medical and visual acuity requirements for a Category 1 medical certificate;
  • Canadian Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL), current Group 1 (Multi-engine) Instrument Rating;
  • Canadian citizenship or landed immigrant status;

Preferences are given to those applicants who have qualifications far beyond the basic requirements. Below are some of the factors that are considered desirable on a pilot application:

  • Graduates of a three or four-year diploma/degree program from a college or university;
  • Aviation College degree or diploma;
  • Commercial or military flight experience; and
  • Jet and/or glass cockpit experience.

One of the most important requirements for being a pilot in Canada is that the applicants will need to be Canadian permanent residents. There are several immigration programs that allow immigrants to apply for permanent residency. Here are the top three most popular choices.

Canadian Permanent Residency Programs


Provincial Nominee Program

The Provincial Nominee Program is an arranged agreement between the local provinces and territories and the Canadian government. The agreement allows the provinces and territories to nominate foreign nationals who have the skills and work experience to contribute to their economy. When an applicant is nominated it means they have the opportunity to apply for Canadian permanent residency.

Applying for a nomination

Applicants have a choice of two options when applying for a nomination. They can either apply directly to a province that interests them or through Express Entry.

Applying directly can take anywhere from 15 to 19 months as it is a paper application and it takes time for the applicant to find out if their application was successful. Please note there will also be mail and courier fees.

When applying through Express Entry the applicant has two different options when applying as well. They are as follows:

  1. Expression of Interest - applicants can express interest in a particular province when creating their Express Entry profile. If the applicant possesses the skills or work experience the province is looking for, then the province can send the applicant a nomination.
  2. The applicant can also apply through a Provincial Nominee Express Entry Stream, this choice has several options as almost every province and territory has an Express Entry stream.

What are the benefits of Canada’s Provincial Nominee Program?

  • PNP is one of the easiest roadmaps to get settled in the applicant's chosen Canadian province.
  • PNP offers many job opportunities, as the nomination is provided only when there is demand or requirement of a specific profile.
  • The direct nomination from the provinces allows the process to be complete in less than six months

Express Entry

Known as one of the fastest ways to immigrate to Canada, Express Entry is an online immigration system that manages three federal economic programs: Federal Skilled Worker Program, Federal Skilled Trades Program and the Canadian Experience Class.

Being an aircraft pilot is part of the skilled worker’s group, NOC code 2271, and applying through the Express Entry system would put applicants at a great advantage. When applying through Express Entry, the Immigration, Refugees and Canadian Citizenship (IRCC) will decide which of the three federal economic program applicants qualify for. In this case, pilots could qualify for the Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP).

Federal Skilled Worker Program

The Federal Skilled Worker Program (FWSP) is a program for foreign nationals who are able to contribute to Canada’s economy with work experience, qualifications or a set of skills. Applicants do not require a job offer in order to apply for the Federal Skilled Worker Program which makes this Canadian immigration program one of the easiest to apply for.

Requirements for the Federal Skilled Worker Program

  • Skilled work experience - have a minimum of one year(part-time or full-time) experience in a NOC skill type (0,A, or B);
  • Language ability - get a minimum score of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in all four abilities for English and French; and
  • Education - have at least a certificate from a secondary institution (high school)

Many Canadians retire every year which means the need for skilled workers is growing and in the aviation industry too. This simplifies the journey for skilled workers to become Canadian permanent residents.

FAQs: Pilots in Canada

FAQ 1: How much does a pilot earn in Canada?

The average salary for a pilot is $105,314 per year in Canada, which is 4 percent higher than the average Air Canada salary of $100,421 per year.

FAQ 2: Can international students become pilots in Canada?

Yes, international students can enroll in flight school. After training students can apply for the Private Pilot Licence (PPL), the Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL), or the Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) through Transport Canada.

Students need to first apply for a Canadian study permit in order to study in Canada.

FAQ 3: Can a foreign pilot license be converted into a Canadian pilot license?

To convert an international airline license into a Canadian airline license, applicants must complete a license request, obtain a class 1 medical from a Transport Canada aviation medical examiner and meet the following criteria:

  • 1,500 hours total; and
  • 250 hours pilot in command

Start Your Canadian Journey

Applying for any visa in Canada can be difficult when applicants are not sure what they qualify for or what immigration program they should be applying for. That is where mdccanada.ca comes in. Through our evaluation, applicants will know exactly what program works for them and their families.

Not only that, but we will be with the applicants every step of the way from ensuring that they have the correct forms and supporting documents to submitting their applications on their behalf. This increases their success rate as they will not have to resubmit or re-do applications. They will also be able to track their progress in real-time through our state-of-the-art digital visa dashboard.

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