Aviation Medical Solutions

Learn about how the aviation medical certification process works and how to get certified

With only a few exceptions (non-commercial balloon and sports pilots), every aviation pilot is expected to get an aviation medical certificate. This is even more important for commercial pilots that are required to have both first-class and second-class certificates. This means undergoing an aviation medical exam and passing it. The pilot medical requirements as stipulated by the Federal Aviation Administration may vary depending on the age of the pilot and the type of pilot certificate being applied for.

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Click the link below to be taken to our MedXpress page.


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What Kind of Medical Certificate Do You Need?

Aviation medical certificates can be first class, second class, or third class. Private pilots and those that only fly for recreational purposes need only a third-class medical certificate. However, those who intend to make a career out of flying must obtain a second class or first-class certificate. This certificate proves that their health is up to the FAA standards for a commercial airline pilot.

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What To Expect During an Aviation Medical Exam?

What happens during an aviation medical exam depends on the type of certificate being applied for. The third-class medical exam is the simplest and least complicated. Similar to a regular physical exam or medical checkup, you will be asked questions about your general health history but with a special focus on vision and hearing. The second-class medical exam is slightly more stringent and the standards for the vision tests are higher. Since the first-class medical exam has the highest standards, the test requirements are stricter and a broader spectrum of tests is carried out specially in regard to Special Issuance certificates. An EKG is performed at age 35 and every year after age 40.

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How Often Would You Need an Aviation Medical Test?

Third-class medical certificates are valid for up to 5 years for pilots that are under 40. Second-class certificates last for 2 years and first-class medicals are valid for a year, under age 40, licensed commercial pilots are required to get a class two medical test every year. Commercial pilots need a second-class certificate every year if they are over age 40. Air Transport Pilots over 40 years of age need to be examined at least twice a year or every 6 months.

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How Do I Get an Aviation Medical Certificate?

The FAA website lists certified aviation medical examiners in your area that you can make an appointment with. You can also ask your flight instructors or other pilots for recommendations. Keep in mind that not every medical examiner is certified to carry out class 1 exams so you have to make sure you confirm this during your research.


Certification Basics

Duration: Airman medical certificates expire in 6 – 60 months depending on age and class, the general rule is:

  • 1st Class (ATP): Every 12 months if younger than age 40, Every 6 months over 40
  • 2nd Class (Commercial Pilots): 12 Months
  • 3rd Class (Private / Student / Recreational Pilots):
  1. 2 Yrs if Over 40 Old
  2. 5 Yrs if Under 40 Old

It is the responsibility of the airmen to send their records to the FAA. Please refer to the article “document drama” AOPA magazine page 122 April 2016, “We strongly encourage you, though, not to rely on the AME or any third party, for that matter, to send your records to the FAA for you. You should assume responsibility for the chain of custody of your records, ensure you mail them to the FAA yourself. Be sure to make copies of everything you send to keep record, in the event your records are lost in transit. For a fee, Dr. Shreders staff will send records on your behalf as a courtesy, but ultimately it is your responsibility.



Effective June 1, 2022, random testing will no longer be conducted on site. All testing will be outsourced. Aviation Medical Solutions has three different vendors for you to choose from.

· Fastest Labs (AZ only) - 480-550-7230

· Accurate Testing (National Testing) - 636-383-9798

· First Choice (National and International Testing) - 501-661-9992

When you are notified that you need to provide a sample. You can choose one of the three vendors listed above. You can download the enrollment form of your choice below.

Once you have enrolled with the vendor, Aviation Medical Solutions will send over your previously complected testing dates to ensure you remain compliant to ensure you continue to meet the FAA requirements.