7. Airline and Commercial Pilot
$117,290 AVG. SALARY
2.0% UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
Both airline and commercial pilots fly and navigate airplanes, helicopters, and other aircraft. Airline pilots fly for airlines that transport people and cargo on fixed schedules. Commercial pilots fly aircraft for other purposes, such as charter flights, rescue operations, firefighting, aerial photography, and aerial application, also known as crop dusting. They may spend a substantial portion of their time away from home because of delays and overnight layovers. Many pilots have schedules that vary.
Most airline pilots begin their careers as commercial pilots. Commercial pilots typically need a high school diploma or equivalent. Airline pilots typically need a bachelor’s degree. All pilots who are paid to fly must have at least a commercial pilot’s license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In addition, airline pilots must have Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certification. Pilots may need to achieve an instrument rating and other ratings.
Pilot tasks and responsibilities include:
- Check the overall condition of the aircraft before and after every flight
- Ensure that the aircraft is balanced and below its weight limit
- Ensure that the fuel supply is adequate and that weather conditions are acceptable, and submit flight plans to air traffic control
- Communicate with air traffic control over the aircraft’s radio system
- Operate and control aircraft along planned routes and during takeoffs and landings
- Monitor engines, fuel consumption, and other aircraft systems during flight
- Respond to changing conditions, such as weather events and emergencies (for example, an engine failure)
- Navigate the aircraft by using cockpit instruments and visual references
The requirements to be a commercial airline pilot include a bachelor’s degree in any subject, along with a commercial pilot’s license and an ATP certificate from the FAA. Airline pilots typically start their careers in flying as commercial pilots. Pilots typically accrue thousands of hours of flight experience to get a job with regional or major airlines.
The military has customarily been an important source of experienced pilots because of the extensive training it provides. However, increased duty requirements have reduced the incentives for these pilots to transfer out of military aviation and into civilian aviation. Most military pilots who transfer to civilian aviation are able to transfer directly into the airlines rather than working in commercial aviation.
Required certifications for pilots include:
- Student Pilot Certificate
- Private Pilot License
- Instrument Rating
- Commercial Pilot License
- Multi-Engine Rating
- Airline Transport Pilot Certificate
- Utah State University
- Kansas State University
- University of North Dakota
- Louisiana Tech University
- Eastern Kentucky University
- Metropolitan State College of Denver
Top paying States for this occupation:
Connecticut – Avg. salary $116,960
Delaware – Avg. salary $103,020
Illinois – Avg. salary $102,760
California – Avg. salary $100,230
Pennsylvania – Avg. salary $100,150
Jhoon is a writer and artist who likes to study astrology and psychology. Astroligion.com was launched in 2016 with a focus on astrology but has since expanded to include the MBTI and other topics. This site has provided Jhoon a great incentive to research and learn more about many subjects of personal interest.