How do I get a commercial pilot license (certificate)?
While FAA sets minimum certification requirements for air carriers (commercial certificate with instrument rating), each airline sets its own minimum experience requirements. For example, FAA requires 250 total hours for a commercial pilot certificate. However, few, if any, airlines use that amount of flight time as their own minimum standard. They may require 1,000 or 2,000 hours or more. Also, market conditions (supply of pilots and demand for air travel) influence what minimum experience airlines require.
Also, different air carriers may consider some types of flight time more important than others. Some prefer more jet or turbine experience, while some may prefer more time in a particular type of aircraft. Many airlines also consider whether the applicant has a college degree.
There are aviation job-search companies that research hiring requirements and trends of all U.S. air carriers. You can find these companies through an internet search and through advertisements in flying magazines.
You can get information about FAA requirements for all pilot certificates (14 CFR Part 61) on the Government Printing Office Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. Be sure to select Part 61.