Hot Air Balloons are registered aircraft with the FAA, and you do have to have a pilots certificate to fly a balloon.
Below are the requirements needed to obtain first your Students Certificate,
then your Private Certificate,
then your Commercial Certificate.
The following information is extracted and simplified from the Federal Aviation Regulation Part 61 — Certification: Pilots and Flight Instructors
A Student Pilot’s Certificate must first be obtained before beginning training.
Successful completion of training leads to a Private Pilot’s Certificate, Lighter-Than-Air category, with a free balloon class rating.
After further training and experience, a Commercial Pilot’s Certificate may be obtained, qualifying an individual to fly for hire and to instruct.
The following are the General Requirements for Student, Private and Commercial certificates:
We do not offer the flight training required to become a gas balloon pilot; however, we can offer you guidance and recommend qualified instructors both here in Albuquerque, or in Germany, for you to contact.