What are certificates, ratings, and endorsements anyway? It’s easy to confuse pilot certificates with pilot ratings and pilot endorsements, so it’s important to know the difference.
A certificate is essentially a “license.” You get a driver’s license to drive a car, but you get a pilot certificate to fly a plane. Pilot certifications are big steps in your aviation career. Your initial pilot certificate, usually the Private Pilot Certificate, is your license to fly. The next certificate – Commercial Pilot Certificate – is your license to get paid to fly. A Flight Instructor Certification is your license to instruct other pilots and student pilots. Make sense so far?
A private pilot or commercial pilot can add a rating on to their certificate to advance their opportunities within that “license”. For example, a Multi-Engine Rating allows someone with a Private or Commercial Pilot Certificate to fly airplanes with more than one engine. You must add this rating onto an existing certificate.
In addition to ratings, pilots can earn endorsements to supplement their flying careers. An endorsement is basically a “sign-off” from a certified flight instructor that states that the pilot has received the required training for the particular task. For example, a high-performance endorsement allows a pilot to fly high-performance (over 200 horsepower) airplane. The most important difference between ratings and endorsements is that ratings generally require a checkride, or practical test involving oral and flight portions, whereas an endorsement simply requires an instructor to sign off on your proficiency after enough training.
Don’t worry if you don’t have this memorized – many certificated pilots still get these mixed up after years of flying. What’s important is that you’re in the right place!
Check out all of our flight training programs and if you have any questions at all give us a call at 972-735-9099 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org – even if it’s just to say “hi!” And trust us, there’s really no such thing as a dumb question. We’ve heard it all!