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Working as a Pilot

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being a pilot. For example, did you know that they make an average of $35.56 an hour? That's $73,956 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 6% and produce 7,000 job opportunities across the U.S.

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 observational skills, problem-solving skills and quick reaction time.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be a pilot, we found that a lot of resumes listed 12.2% of pilots included flight operations, while 10.4% of resumes included pic, and 9.9% of resumes included pilot-in-command. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the pilot job title. But what industry to start with? Most pilots actually find jobs in the non profits and technology industries.

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 45.2% of pilots have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 15.5% 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.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become a pilot. When we researched the most common majors for a pilot, we found that they most commonly earn bachelor's degree degrees or high school diploma degrees. Other degrees that we often see on pilot resumes include master's degree degrees or associate degree degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become a pilot. In fact, many pilot jobs require experience in a role such as flight instructor. Meanwhile, many pilots also have previous career experience in roles such as captain or cashier.

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Average Salary$73,956
Job Growth Rate6%

Pilot Jobs

Pilot Career Paths

Top Careers Before Pilot

Top Careers After Pilot

Captain
14.0%

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for a Pilot

Pilots in America make an average salary of $73,956 per year or $36 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $109,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $49,000 per year.
Average Salary
$73,956

Best Paying Cities

Average Salary
Salary Range72k - 105k$88k$87,855
Salary Range68k - 112k$88k$87,631
Salary Range71k - 107k$87k$87,394
Salary Range71k - 105k$87k$87,314
Salary Range69k - 107k$86k$86,357
Salary Range71k - 103k$86k$86,029
$56k
$112k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
MSP Pilot II
MSP Pilot II
Maryland Government Jobs
Maryland Government Jobs
10/21/2020
10/21/2020
$75,38910/21/2020
$75,389
MSP Pilot II
MSP Pilot II
Maryland Government Jobs
Maryland Government Jobs
09/22/2020
09/22/2020
$75,38909/22/2020
$75,389
Pilot
Pilot
Sanborn Map Company
Sanborn Map Company
06/13/2020
06/13/2020
$52,17506/13/2020
$52,175
Aw139 &/OR S92 Search and Rescue Pilot
Aw139 &/OR S92 Search and Rescue Pilot
Bristow
Bristow
05/29/2020
05/29/2020
$100,00005/29/2020
$100,000
Community Litter, Encampment, and RV Remediation Pilot Program Support-Long-Term Temporary
Community Litter, Encampment, and RV Remediation Pilot Program Support-Long-Term Temporary
City of Seattle
City of Seattle
05/20/2020
05/20/2020
$81,24705/20/2020
$81,247
See More Recent Salaries

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Pilot Demographics

Gender

male

66.1%

female

29.5%

unknown

4.3%

Ethnicity

White

85.3%

Hispanic or Latino

7.5%

Unknown

2.9%

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

47.3%

French

11.7%

German

5.7%
See More Demographics

Pilot Education

Majors

Degrees

Bachelors

45.2%

High School Diploma

15.7%

Masters

15.5%

Top Colleges for Pilots

1. SUNY Farmingdale

Farmingdale, NY

Tuition and fees
$8,306
Enrollment
9,394

2. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Champaign, IL

Tuition and fees
$15,094
Enrollment
32,974

3. Stanford University

Stanford, CA

Tuition and fees
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

4. Baylor University

Waco, TX

Tuition and fees
$45,542
Enrollment
14,159

5. University of Minnesota - Crookston

Crookston, MN

Tuition and fees
$11,822
Enrollment
1,834

6. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA

Tuition and fees
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

7. Bowling Green State University

Bowling Green, OH

Tuition and fees
$11,105
Enrollment
13,729

8. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL

Tuition and fees
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

9. Siena Heights University

Adrian, MI

Tuition and fees
$27,124
Enrollment
2,035

10. Arizona State University at the Polytechnic Campus

Mesa, AZ

Tuition and fees
$9,840
Enrollment
4,495
See More Education Info

Entry Level Jobs For Becoming A Pilot

Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

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, 12.2% of pilots listed flight operations on their resume, but soft skills such as observational skills and problem-solving skills are important as well.

  • Flight Operations, 12.2%
  • PIC, 10.4%
  • Pilot-In-Command, 9.9%
  • ATP, 7.4%
  • Federal Aviation, 5.0%
  • Other Skills, 55.1%
  • See All Pilot Skills

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 Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, and New York. Pilots make the most in Oklahoma with an average salary of $87,903. Whereas in Kansas and Arkansas, they would average $87,846 and $87,698, respectively. While pilots would only make an average of $87,619 in New York, 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. Iowa

Total Pilot Jobs:
32
Highest 10% Earn:
$125,000
Location Quotient:
3.08
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Oklahoma

Total Pilot Jobs:
15
Highest 10% Earn:
$125,000
Location Quotient:
2.11
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. New Mexico

Total Pilot Jobs:
14
Highest 10% Earn:
$121,000
Location Quotient:
2.88
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
View Full List

Pilot Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming a pilot. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

At Zippia, we went through countless pilot resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Write a Pilot Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless pilot resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

How Do Pilot Rate Their Jobs?

Zippia Official Logo

5.0

Airline PilotSeptember 2019

5.0

Zippia Official LogoAirline PilotSeptember 2019

What do you like the most about working as Pilot?

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 Show More

What do you NOT like?

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 Show More

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Top Pilot Employers

1. US Army
4.0
Avg. Salary: 
$53,674
Pilots Hired: 
62+
2. Mesa Airlines
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$34,150
Pilots Hired: 
51+
3. American Airlines
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$45,622
Pilots Hired: 
41+
4. Subway
4.3
Avg. Salary: 
$22,742
Pilots Hired: 
41+
5. SkyWest
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$45,501
Pilots Hired: 
36+
6. Wendy's
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$22,656
Pilots Hired: 
32+

Pilot Videos

Recently Added Pilot Jobs

Updated October 2, 2020