Have you ever taken an aptitude test to help steer you down the right career path? Essentially, it’s a series of questions assessing your characteristics and interests that should ultimately identify professions for which you may be well-suited. If you’re truly unsure of where to go next, the results may surprise you. At the very least, it’s a tool that may offer some potential outlets to explore or pursue.

If you do have aspirations for a specific location, it could be a fun exercise to see whether the assessment pairs you with your dream job, especially if the job requires a distinct skillset and has a unique range of personality quirks associated with it. For example, airplane pilots represent a relatively small segment of the workforce due to the unique nature of the qualifications. Not only do pilots have to commit to a rigorous training program, but there’s also a certain mental fortitude required as well.

What are the competencies and prerequisites needed to become an airline pilot? Perhaps that’s the most straightforward phase, which can be easily kicked off with some basic research into institutions like AeroGuard which has a flight school in Austin, Texas. Once you’ve determined whether you’re equipped to tackle the educational aspects of flight, then you’re obliged to perform a deeper introspection into those less tangible faculties that prove indispensable to capable pilots. Some attributes are shared across the profession.


During training, a pilot relies heavily on instructors and may develop mentoring relationships that last a lifetime. Once licensed, a pilot may have additional flight crew in the cockpit and regular communications with various air traffic controllers. However, pilots must ultimately rely on themselves to be experts when they are in charge of an aircraft. They can’t take to the air with the expectation that someone else is better prepared to do the job because sitting back, relaxing, and deferring to others during a flight isn’t an option. There’s no room for error or panic when potentially dozens of lives and millions of dollars of machinery are at stake and pilots understand the enormity of their responsibility.

Physical and mental health

Pilots don’t have to be physical specimens or elite athletes. However, pilots do have an obligation to take care of themselves and can’t function effectively if certain medical conditions are present. For instance, if a pilot suffers from narcolepsy, then he or she should rethink flying as a possible occupation. Of course, that’s an extreme example, but there’s a multitude of circumstances that can negatively impact one’s ability to fly an aircraft.

Mental clarity is no less important. A pilot can’t afford to get easily distracted while operating an aircraft. Managing all degrees of adversity is key while in the air, whether pilots have to deal with personal or work-related issues. In an environment rife with the potential for safety hazards, being alert is crucial.


Pilots need to focus on the task at hand and deal with complications quickly and efficiently. Problem-solving skills are vital. Pilots make decisions based on facts and analysis versus emotion. Flying an aircraft requires personnel that actively avoid grey areas with situations that are subject to interpretation. For a pilot, there’s a right way and a wrong way to fly a plane. There’s a safe way and a not so safe way, no middle ground.

These are just a few of the traits that pilots have in common that are also essential to perform the role successfully. While most are instinctive or innate, there may be steps you can take if you absolutely want to become a pilot and feel there are circumstances that may limit your abilities. Never underestimate your will to achieve your real passion.