Aviation FAQ: Understanding Licences

For more information about our Aviation courses, visit the course page:


Hi, I’m Maddi.

Whether you are interested in becoming a commercial pilot or pursuing a career in the airlines, studying aviation at CQUniversity will be the launchpad to a rewarding career.

Our unique course structure allows you to gain your Commercial Pilot Licence and your Multi-Engine Command Instrument Rating. We also provide you with the theoretical knowledge for your Air Transport Pilot Licence examination credits, so you can obtain your licence later in your aviation career. So, what do each of these mean? Let me talk you through them.

An Instrument Rating is the qualification that a pilot must have to fly under the instrument flight rules. Pilots can only fly aircraft appropriate to their licence and rating type. The Bachelor of Aviation (Flight Operations) course is structured so you will gain your instrument rating at the completion of your second year of study.

What is a Multi-Engine Command Instrument Rating? It is an endorsement to fly a multi-engine aircraft under the instrument flight rules as pilot in command.

A Commercial Pilot Licence authorises you to conduct private and commercial flight operations. This allows you to obtain a job and be paid as a commercial pilot to conduct commercial tasks such as carrying passengers and cargo. You will gain your Commercial Pilot Licence by completing the third year of the Bachelor course together with the Graduate Diploma of Aviation.

An Air Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) is the highest professional qualification for pilots of fixed-wing and rotary aircraft. This licence enables you to obtain a job and be paid as a pilot-in-command or the co-pilot of a multi-crew aircraft.

By completing the full three years of the Bachelor course, combined with the Graduate Diploma of Aviation, you will obtain a Multi-Engine Command Instrument Rating and satisfy the requirements to apply for your Air Transport Pilot Licence Theory Exams with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

After accumulating 1500 hours of aeronautical flight experience you can take your CASA Air Transport Pilot Licence flight practical test.

To gain your ATPL, you will also need to complete a Multi-Crew Cooperation course. Here at CQUniversity, we have partnered with Aviation Australia to allow you to complete this training as part of the third year of your degree.

If you would like more information on the course structure, flight training or fees, check out our videos. Or, if you are ready to apply, visit the How to Apply section on the course page to start your application.