Pilot Study

To become a Pilot you need to have the proper training, either a degree or through the military, and experience flying.  If you want to see if this profession may be your best career path, take a totally free career quiz.

Becoming a pilot also requires extensive flight training and experience. There are a certain number of flying hours in training that a prospective pilot must satisfy. This amount of hours will vary depending on employers and flight positions.

Pilot Salary

  • Average Annual Salary: $102,000
  • Projected Lifetime Earnings: $4,208,000

Pilot – Education

Airline pilots are generally required to hold a bachelor’s degree in a related field, have an FAA-issued ATP certificate, and also possess a commercial pilot’s license. Airline pilots usually begin their careers as commercial pilots, and they need thousands of flying hours to secure a job with major airlines. If you would like to find out whether becoming a pilot is your ticket, take a free personality/career aptitude test.

Traditionally, the U.S. military has been a key supplier of experienced pilots due to the training the pilots receive there, but recently we’ve seen developments that reduced incentives for pilots to transfer from military aviation to civilian aviation positions. Commercial pilots need to have completed a secondary education degree and must be licenses as commercial pilots, and most employers will come up with additional requirements. Agricultural pilots, for example, must have command of basic agricultural practices, herbicides, fungicides, fertilizers, and pesticides.

Generally, commercial pilots start out their flight instruction at independent FAA-accredited and certified flight schools guided by certified instructors. There are also universities and colleges that provide courses that include training for pilots within their aviation degree programs, but all pilots are required to hold an FAA commercial pilot license to be able to fly for pay, no matter where they learned to fly.

All pilots are required to maintain their knowledge and skills through continuing education. They must perform certain maneuvers and demonstrate procedures-knowledge at set times within a specific time frame, and they must follow periodic training and undergo medical examinations, usually every other year.

Pilot – The Job

Commercial and airline pilots are flying and navigating aircraft such as airplanes and helicopters. Airline pilots are doing so for airlines that transport cargo or people on set schedules. Commercial pilots usually are flying aircraft for some other purpose, for example firefighting, rescue missions, charter flights, aerial photography, or for agricultural purposes.

Pilots need to see to it that the aircraft is in overall good condition before and after each flight, they must make sure that their aircraft is below its weight limits and in good balance. They are responsible for communication with air traffic controllers, check weather conditions, submit flight plans, and make sure that the aircraft’s fuel supply is sufficient.

Pilots must navigate their aircraft by using visual references and cockpit instruments, and they constantly must be monitoring fuel consumption, engines, and lots of other aircraft systems during their flight.

Most bigger aircraft are flown by two pilots, and at landing and takeoff, pilots perform the most difficult duties of a flight and close coordination and communication among the pilots, the flight engineer (if present), and ground personnel is crucial. Once the aircraft is airborne, the captain and the first officer generally exchange some flying activities so both can get some rest as well as keep up their flying skills. After they have landed, pilots are required fill out documents regarding the flight and the aircraft’s status.

Have you sat in an airport and stared out onto the runway, looking at all the planes and thought how cool it would be to fly and see the world? Then you should get your Pilots license. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has different regulations for the different aircraft you wish to fly.

There are also different levels of pilots licenses from airline transport pilot to recreational, all depending on what you wish to do. You will need to find a flight school where you can receive flying lessons. You will need to take tests and meet all the requirements to receive a Pilots license from the FAA. You will also need to be looked at by an aviation medical examiner. Once you have been cleared and have received your pilot license you can feel the freedom of flying on your own.

How To Find A Top Flight School

One of the first things you should check out is if the school is a FAA-approved school. FAA-approved schools meet governmental standards for facilities, teachers, courses of study, and equipment. There are good non-FAA approved schools as well but make sure to check background and references before moving forward.

No matter what school you are looking into you should speak with the instructors and current students. You can gain a wealth of knowledge about how effective the training is and how much you will actually enjoy your time with the school from speaking with people involved with the flight school. Not everyone is fit to go this path.

Another consideration is what type of pilots license you wish to obtain. Most schools cater to students looking to receive certain types of licenses. Check to make sure the school you are interested caters to the specific type of flight training you are looking for.

Flight school can be expensive for some people. There are student loans and tuition assistance programs out there to help pay for your schooling.

What Kind of Aviation Careers Are Available?

The world of aviation has many different career paths you can take. If you want to fly and want to make that your life’s work then you can become an airline pilot or a military pilot. If you would rather fly recreationally but enjoy being around planes you can become an airframe mechanic, flight attendant, or air traffic controller. Depending on your skill set there is a career path for you in aviation.

Income Potential – Salaries by Aircraft

The salaries of pilots naturally are varying according what type of aircraft  they’re flying. In 2014, the average annual salary for pilots of large jets was around $122,000, and for pilots of smaller jets, the average salary was around $88,000. Pilots of non-jet aircraft were and will be making considerably less earnings.

Pilots of a larger non-jet aircraft made an average annual salary of around $71,000, while pilots of smaller non-jet aircraft made slightly less. Pilots must go through different training programs for different types of aircraft, and they are certified to fly only that type of aircraft. So before you start your professional education, it’ll be important to take this into consideration.

Salaries Increase

Airline have their own schedules, but practically all airline offer standard annual salary raises, and due to this, commercial airline pilots can be expecting see their average annual salary go up to some $90,000 after several years. Usually, airline pilots can expect the most significant wage increase during the first 5 years at their position.

Frequently, this raise is more significant for first officers as compared to captains as they start out lower, but practically every first officer will later in his career become captain, but then they will need quite a few years of experience. Generally, regional airlines pay less than international airlines, but their pilots also are flying smaller aircraft.

Prospective pilots should be highly committed to this exciting career and they can earn fantastic salaries after already less than ten years on the job. Pilots who will fly for the full length of their careers will be able to enjoy a great salary up to retirement.

Top Aviation Schools

1. United States Air Force Academy

2. Hallmark College

3. MIAT College of Technology

4. Wyotech Aviation Schools

5. Crimson Technical College

6. Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology

7. Delta Connection Academy

8. Embry Riddle Aeronautical University

9. Rio Salado College

10. Daniel Webster College – Nashua