Pilots fly, control, and navigate airplanes, helicopters, and every other type of aircraft. As a pilot, you are expected to select efficient and safe flight routes. You are also responsible for performing pre-flight and post-flight aircraft inspections. One of your duties also includes determining risks that could or may occur. It is also expected that you keep accurate records for compliance purposes sake. Ensuring the comfort, safety of the crew, aircraft, and also passengers is also part of your responsibility.

Being a pilot requires meeting a lot of qualifications. You may have to receive training in the military. Educationally, the requirement is two years of college coursework, including math, English, aeronautical engineering, and physics. Though, most employers prefer to employ candidates with bachelor's degrees. If you want to work as a pilot, you will need a commercial pilot's license. Also, you must be at least 18 years of age, have flight experience of 250 hours, and must not be physically handicap. Ability to communicate, interpersonal skills, adaptability, task management, team spirit are skills you need to have to be a successful pilot. The average salary per year is $140,340.

What Does a Pilot Do

There are certain skills that many pilots have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed communication skills, problem-solving skills and quick reaction time.

Learn more about what a Pilot does

How To Become a Pilot

If you're interested in becoming a pilot, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 59.1% of pilots have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 10.2% of pilots have master's degrees. Even though most pilots have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Learn More About How To Become a Pilot

Pilot Career Paths

Average Salary for a Pilot

Pilots in America make an average salary of $83,128 per year or $40 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $118,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $58,000 per year.
Average Pilot Salary
$83,128 Yearly
$39.97 hourly

What Am I Worth?


Roles and Types of Pilot

The role of a pilot includes a wide range of responsibilities. These responsibilities can vary based on an individual's specific job, company, or industry.Here are some general pilot responsibilities:

  • Responsible for the safe and effective mission planning, coordination,
  • The mayo one pilot provides rotorcraft pilot services primarily at one of three bases of operation eau claire, wi; rochester
  • Provide aircrew services to perform hh functional check flights (fcfs), maintenance flight tests, operational check flights (ocfs), acceptance test profiles (atps), to determine airworthiness

There are several types of pilot, including:

Pilot Instructor


Pilot instructors are responsible for instructing students how to fly aircraft. This includes instruction typically both on the ground and in the sky and may consist of instruction in cockpit instruments, aerodynamics, and similar subjects. After students complete textbook education, pilot instructors often use simulators or dual-controlled aircraft to acquaint them with the experience of flying an airplane. Finally, pilot instructors accompany their students on live flights to complete their training. Some instructors specialize as examiners or check pilots and fly with applicants or pilots to ensure proficiency.

Pilot instructors must have a pilot's license and be certified by the FAA as flight instructors. Besides, pilot instructors should also have either Commercial Pilot Certification, which requires 250 flight hours, or Airline Transport Pilot Certification, which requires 1,500 hours, before applying to become Certified Flight Instructors.

To gain certification as a pilot instructor, you must be at least 18 years old, communicate fluently in English, and hold a pilot's license for the type of aircraft appropriate to the flight instructor rating you seek. After you fulfill all these criteria, you can eventually become a pilot instructor and subsequently earn about $140,340.

  • Average Salary: $90,143
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Helicopter Pilot


The primary role of a helicopter pilot is to pilot the helicopter. He/She ensures the helicopter is flown in the safest manner possible. He/She determines flight routes, speed, and take-off and landing times to fulfill scheduling requirements. However, he/she must stay updated with federal and local flight regulations. Helicopter pilots research relevant information on weather conditions, airspace restrictions, and destination landing facilities. They calculate fuel requirements and maximum load. Also, they communicate with air traffic control to request clearance to take-off and coordinate flight plans

To become a helicopter pilot, you may require an associate's degree. Employers require a second-class commercial helicopter pilot certificate. You will need excellent hand-to-eye coordination and spatial awareness. You must possess communication and decision-making skills. Also, you must be able to concentrate for a longer period. Helicopter pilots make an average salary of $84,713 per annum. This varies between $55,000 and $126,000.

  • Average Salary: $89,418
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

Line Pilot


A line pilot or a pilot's main duty is to transport cargo and passengers to their destination safely. Furthermore, they are responsible for running checklists, performing all necessary inspections, reporting any deviations to the management, and acting accordingly during emergencies. They must also maintain a good working relationship with their co-pilots and flight attendants to ensure a good working environment on the plane.

More than that, a line pilot must provide great customer service to all passengers. That said, they may have to answer passenger queries, greet passengers while deboarding or onboarding, and calming passengers during times of turbulence during the flight.

A bachelor's degree is not required for the role of a line pilot, but one must have an airline transport pilot license (ATPL) before one can work as one. Proper training and on-the-job experience are also a must.

As a line pilot, one's annual earnings can range from $47,000 to $121,000 in the U.S. As for the median salary, a line pilot can earn an average of $70,000 per year.

  • Average Salary: $96,403
  • Degree: Bachelor's Degree

States With The Most Pilot Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active pilot jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where pilots earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Pilot Jobs By State

Pilot Education

Pilot Majors

20.4 %
19.5 %

Pilot Degrees


59.1 %


14.9 %


10.2 %

Top Colleges for Pilots

1. SUNY Farmingdale

Farmingdale, NY • Private

In-State Tuition




2. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, IL • Private

In-State Tuition




3. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition




4. Baylor University

Waco, TX • Private

In-State Tuition




5. University of Minnesota - Crookston

Crookston, MN • Private

In-State Tuition




6. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition




7. Bowling Green State University

Bowling Green, OH • Private

In-State Tuition




8. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition




9. Siena Heights University

Adrian, MI • Private

In-State Tuition




10. Arizona State University at the Polytechnic Campus

Mesa, AZ • Private

In-State Tuition




Top Skills For a Pilot

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 15.5% of pilots listed pic on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and problem-solving skills are important as well.

  • PIC, 15.5%
  • Pilot-In-Command, 13.3%
  • Flight Operations, 7.9%
  • ATP, 7.2%
  • Helicopter, 5.3%
  • Other Skills, 50.8%

Choose From 10+ Customizable Pilot Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Pilot templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Pilot resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Pilot diversity

Pilot Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among pilots, 29.3% of them are women, while 70.7% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among pilots is White, which makes up 81.5% of all pilots.

  • The most common foreign language among pilots is Spanish at 47.3%.

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Best States For a Pilot

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a pilot. The best states for people in this position are California, New York, New Jersey, and Oregon. Pilots make the most in California with an average salary of $109,381. Whereas in New York and New Jersey, they would average $101,449 and $101,236, respectively. While pilots would only make an average of $96,852 in Oregon, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Wyoming

Total Pilot Jobs: 20
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. Nevada

Total Pilot Jobs: 37
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. Oregon

Total Pilot Jobs: 48
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Pilots

How Do Pilots Rate Their Jobs?


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Pilot Reviews

Sep 2019

Every day at work was different. Each flight was different and flying an airplane well is challenging. When an airline pilot has completed their flight assignment they go home and do not think about the job until the next time they go to work. The FAA regulations require rest periods and days off for pilots. A normal flight schedule offers 8- 20 days off per month. A pilot can choose to fly trips that are 1- 12 days long. Most airlines have a seniority system. This means that the airplane and crew position are determined by the date you were hired. Generally speaking, Senior pilots are Captains that fly the airplane with highest pay rate. Senior pilots also have the best flight schedule. Starting pay at the major airlines in 2019 is about $85,000 year. Senior pilots flying wide-body airplanes can earn up to $600,000 year flying an international schedule


Jet-lag. Fatigue is a fact of life for an airline pilot. Domestic flying often includes trips that depart at 11:00 PM and arrive early in the morning. International trips fly all over the world at all hours of the day. Pilots learn to deal with jet-lag and fatigue, but it remains a fact of life for most aviators

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Top Pilot Employers

Most Common Employers For Pilot

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
3SkyWest Airlines$90,163$43.3557
4Delta Air Lines$89,452$43.0118
7Mesa Airlines$88,633$42.6183
8ExpressJet Airlines$87,276$41.9620
9Comair Services$84,668$40.7113
10Prosperity Bank$84,178$40.4714

Pilot Videos

Becoming a Pilot FAQs

How Hard Is It To Become A Pilot?

It is pretty hard to become a pilot. Becoming a commercial airline pilot requires considerable study and training, as well as many hours of flying time. It requires a lot of dedication, commitment, and hard work to become a commercial pilot, but it can be a rewarding career path for anyone who loves to travel and enjoys a challenge.

How Many Years Does It Take To Become A Pilot?

It takes four years to become a pilot, on average. The time it takes to become a pilot largely depends on the type of pilot license and the number of flight hours you can compete with at a given time.

Is It Expensive To Become A Pilot?

Yes, it is expensive to become a pilot. Flight training varies significantly based on whether you fly small, single-engine airplanes or commercial jets. Overall, ground and flight training make up the biggest chunk of the total. There are also additional fees such as medical exams and other test fees.

Is It Hard To Become A Pilot?

Yes, it is hard to become a pilot. Pilots undertake intensive training to develop a highly unique skill set. You must take a series of steps to become a pilot, which builds in complexity depending on the type of pilot license (e.g., private vs. commercial).

What Do You Do As A Pilot?

As a pilot, you do a lot more than simply fly a plane. The pilot's responsibilities include transporting passengers and cargo, determining the safest routes, analyzing flight plans and weather conditions, calculating fuel, and inspecting operation systems and navigation equipment.

What Does A Pilot Wear?

A pilot wears a uniform that consists of pants, a shirt, a jacket, and a hat, with some of the items having the specific airline's wings attached. Name badges are also commonly worn by pilots.

What Qualifications Do You Need To Become A Pilot?

The qualifications needed to become a pilot include educational training, flight experience, and certification. A prospective pilot must complete the required training hours, pass relevant tests and exams, and earn a certificate to be considered qualified.

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