First Class First?

Since I will be training to be an airline pilot, would it make more sense to just get the first class certificate first instead of third, then second, and then possibly after all of my training finding out I can't pass my first class. Or, do you have to follow them in order? I just think that it makes more sense to get the first class now. Even if you have to go back every six months, it is worth it to find out if I am fit to fly now instead of spending thousands of dollars to find out I can't cut it health-wise. Kind of confused
, please help.



Well-Known Member
I can't offer advice on which medical to get. Perhaps it would be better to get a first class medical first, but from what I've heard and read on here, there isn't always a big difference between I and II, or II and III.

But, if you get a first class, you won't have to go back in 6 months to renew it unless you have to keep it as a first class. Otherwise, if under 35, it will become second class for 6 more months, and then drop down to third class for 2 more years. Find out what you need to have and then go from there.



Well-Known Member
Makes sense to get the first class medical first, but just once to make sure you can get it. Then, assuming you are under 40 years old, it's good for one year for second class privileges and three years for third class privileges. If I were you, I wouldn't get another first class exam until I needed it for an actual job. That's how I'm doing it, anyway.


Well-Known Member
The details of the medical requirements are in the FARs at 67.101, 67.201, and 67.301 for first, second, and third class medicals, respectively.


New Member
I see no reason not to get your First Class Medical initially if you don't mind coming back 6 months after. However, the most important thing is to take care of your health to ensure you can keep passing and renewing those First Class Medical Exams.

Here is a chart from an aviation medical-related website that compares the difference between a: First, Second, and Third Class Medical Exam.

Click Here for Link

According to that link, the First and Second Medical Exams are identical for the exception of the "ELECTRO-CARDIOGRAM" that is required at age 35 and annually after age 40 for the First Class Medical. So if I were you, since you are working on ratings for now, I would opt for the Second Class Medical since it is almost the same (unless you are 35 years old or 40+) and save some Time and Money.

In addition, check on the flight school you plan on attending because some (usually flight academies and universities)require you to possess a First or Second Medical.

Also, I would ask your Aviation Medical Examiner during your exam if he thinks you will be able to pass a First Class Medical.

EDIT: But it ALL depends on what you want... if you feel more comfortable with a First Class Medical because you will know you can pass the exam, then go for it.


New Member
I plan to get a 1st class for my 1st medical, but I definately don't plan to keep going every 6 months.. Really doesn't matter to me to renew into a 1st class until I'm ready for a job requiring one.


Well-Known Member
I see no reason not to get your First Class Medical initially if you don't mind coming back 6 months after.

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Just to clarify...

You do not have to go back after six months to get it renewed. A first class will downgrade to a second after six months. You will then have those second class privileges for an additional six months, after which it will become a third class which is good for an additional 24 months (12 if you are over 40). This is all with respect to PRIVILEGES, by the will be the same piece of paper thoughout.