Some require a state test, like Florida, highest score gets in. They will make announcements from time to time when they are testing and for what port… Many more go by votes and your qualifications , experience. Some have apprenticeships from 1.5 to 6 years. It won’t be easy,but doable. Just a reminder, a Federal License only allows you to pilot USA vessels, not foreign. You will have to get a state license for most ports before you finish apprentice. Associated Federal Pilots of Louisiana are one exception, but they can only handle USA stuff. Some have a “Buy In” for a share of the group once you get cleared. $$$$$$ Can’t tell you what that number is, been away for a while. As Phoenix said, some have maximum age limit.