Classes of Medical Certificates
An applicant may apply and be granted any class of airman medical certificate as long as the applicant meets the required medical standards for that class of medical certificate. However, an applicant must have the appropriate class of medical certificate for the flying duties the airman intends to exercise.
For example, an applicant who exercises the privileges of an airline transport pilot (ATP) certificate must hold a first-class medical certificate. That same pilot when holding only a third-class medical certificate may only exercise privileges of a private pilot certificate. Finally, an applicant need not hold an ATP airman certificate to be eligible for a first-class medical certificate.
Listed below are the three classes of airman medical certificates, identifying the categories of airmen (i.e., pilot) certificates applicable to each class.
Airline Transport Pilot
Commercial Pilot; Flight Engineer; Flight Navigator; or Air Traffic Control Tower Operator. (Note: This category of air traffic controller does not include FAA employee air traffic control specialists)
Private Pilot, Recreational Pilot or Student Pilot