What is a medical certificate?
Under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) Part 1, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) defines a medical certificate as "acceptable evidence of physical fitness on a form prescribed by the Administrator." The primary goal of the airman medical certification program is to protect not only those who would exercise the privileges of a pilot certificate but also air travelers and the general public.
A person who meets FAA airmen medical standards, based on a medical examination and an evaluation of medical history, is entitled to a medical certificate without restriction or limitation other than the prescribed limitation as to its duration. Individuals required to hold a medical certificate must have it in their personal possession at all times when exercising the privileges for which they are licensed.
How do I obtain a medical certificate?
An FAA-designated Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) must examine you.
You must contact an AME of your choosing, schedule an appointment, complete an official FAA application form via MedXPress, and undergo a physical examination by an AME. If you meet the appropriate medical standards, the AME will issue you a medical certificate.
Who must hold a Medical Certificate?
Any person exercising the privileges of any of the following certificates: airline transport pilot certificate, commercial pilot certificate, private pilot certificate, recreational pilot certificate, flight instructor certificate (when acting as pilot in command if serving as a required pilot flight crewmember), flight engineer certificate, flight navigator certificate, or student pilot certificate. People exercising private pilot privileges under BasicMed (or exercising any pilot privilege in a balloon or glider) are not required to hold a medical certificate.
Except for a person employed by the FAA, a branch of the military services or the Coast Guard, a person acting as an air traffic control tower operator also must hold a medical certificate.
What medical standards must I meet in order to qualify for a medical certificate?
The medical standards for each class of medical certificate are set forth in 14 CFR Part 67.
What are the minimum and maximum ages for obtaining a medical certificate?
There are no minimum or maximum ages for obtaining a medical certificate. Any applicant who is able to pass the exam may be issued a medical certificate.
However, since 16 years is the minimum age for a student pilot certificate, people under 16 are unlikely to have practical use for an airman medical certificate.
What does it cost to get a medical certificate?
The FAA does not set fees for the performance of the medical exam and issuance of the medical certificate. Aviation Medical Examiners are allowed to charge the applicant appropriately, as long as it is not more than the usual fee for similar examinations for other purposes. If you are concerned about the cost of the exam, please discuss this with the doctor you are thinking about seeing. The FAA has no additional fees above what the physician charges.