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How long should it take to get a medical certificate on average?


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This may seem like a silly question but until recently I had never gone for a physical. I started turned in my MedXpress online portion a fair amount of time before going in for the actual physical. Mainly due to nerves that I wouldn't pass due to my eyesight. Going off some advice I received previously, I went in to apply for my second class certificate since I knew that if I started down this road I'd want to go for at least my commercial cert. Anyway, I went in and ended up walking out with a first class cert the same day. From what I've heard, this process could take weeks. The doctor is actually the one who informed me that he could issue me a first class cert right then because I met all the requirements and it was the same price. I was ecstatic because I had been worried for so long on whether or not I'd even qualify for second class but the more I think about it the more I wonder how legit it is. Could it really be that easy or was I duped? I'm not trying to sound uniformed or ungrateful if it's legit, just curious.

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Unless you have an issue which needs deferral to Oklahoma City for review by the FAA, a medical certificate is issued on the spot.


As a student, you'll need a third class medical. The only purpose for a first class is for those pilots who hold an ATP (airline transport pilot) certificate. You're many years away from that. It doesn't hurt to see if you can qualify for a first class...but there's no reason to hold one right now.


Your first class medical certificate will only be good for first class privileges for six months, after which it's good for second class privileges (commercial) for another six months, and then for only third class privileges.


Many who only exercise a commercial pilot certificate just get second class and call it good. Most places, the first class costs extra, and after a certain age, it also requires an EKG test for your heart, and has higher standards than second or third class.


Except in unusual circumstances, you'll always get your medical at the time of your physical exam. If not, you'll be notified that you've been deferred, which gets expensive and requires a lot more testing.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's normal to get issued your medical if you pass everything. Fwiw my 1st class is $100 with no EKG, 2nd class $100. Find a good doctor that isn't 110 years old and stick with him/her. If anything comes up you're going to want an AME that has some history with you and will hopefully go to bat for you.

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