Pilot Salary in the US

So you want to get into the aviation industry? There are so many career paths in the aviation industry, and one of the best you can go for is becoming a pilot. However, you want to know how much a pilot salary in the US is because you want to make money while living dreams.

This article is a guide to becoming a pilot in the US. It contains everything you need to know, and if you’re a new graduate or undergraduate wondering if the aviation industry is for you, the article will help you gain clarity and know how much is the pilot salary in the US.

This is because this article answers all the questions you have, which include:

  • Who is a pilot?
  • What do pilots do?
  • How long does it take to become a pilot in the US?
  • Pilot salary in the US
  • Responsibilities of a pilot in the US
  • Requirements to become a pilot in the US

However, if you are only here for the question of how much do pilots in the US earn, you could head straight to the point or continue to read.

Pilot Salary in the US

A Pilot Career

A pilot career can be fascinating and one of the best experiences one can ever gain.

This is because a pilot career allows you to travel to different places, and you make money while at it.

Basically, It is quite an alluring and adventurous career  

What is a Pilot?

Generally, the airplane is operated by a cockpit crew which is made up of the captain or the pilot and a co-pilot or first officer.

Usually, while in the air, these two crew members share the responsibilities for the flight duties such as steering the plane, monitoring instruments as well as communicating with air traffic controllers.

In the old aircraft, a flight engineer might be a part of the crew members. However, this role has been automated in newer airplanes.

Who is a Pilot?

Basically, a pilot is a professional who flies and navigates the airplane, helicopters as well as every other type of aircraft. 

Generally, their primary purpose is to transport individuals and cargo from one place to another on fixed schedules. Airline pilots work for specific companies on fixed plans, while commercial pilots work for companies that offer charter flights, aerial photography, or rescue options.

You need to go through school to become a pilot. So, you can pick a school from one of these 10 Best Aviation Schools in Canada.

What Do Pilots Do?

While the duties and responsibilities of pilots in the US as well as globally may vary, there are some which are common among pilots.

Generally, besides flying the aircraft, a pilot’s duties and responsibilities may include:

  • Selecting safe as well as more efficient flight routes to fly
  • Effectively communicating with the important personnel and agencies.
  • Conducting pre-and post-flight aircraft inspections
  • Collecting, organizing, and documenting detailed records for compliance purposes
  • Guaranteeing the safety as well as the comfort of the passengers, crew, and the aircraft.

However, there are different types of pilots as well as different types of pilot certificates in the US. The kind of pilot certificate you have determines your duties.

What are the Types of Pilot Certificates in the US?

There are different pilot certificates you can earn to be a pilot in the US. 

1. Student Pilot Certificate

To obtain the student pilot certificate, you must get instruction from a certified instructor as well as complete the FAA Student Pilot knowledge tests.

Below are the requirements you must meet; you must:

  • Be 18 years of age and above
  • Have a third-class FAA medical certificate
  • Provide proof of English proficiency
  • A valid driver’s license
  • Successful completion of the FAA knowledge tests for student pilots
  • Proof of approval by an FAA-Designated Pilot Examiner or FAA Inspector
  • Acknowledge that you must not fly passengers with a student certificate.

Basically, there is no stipulated number of hours fixed to determine the completion of the student pilot certificate. 

However, your instructor will give you the approval that will allow you to fly solo when you have successfully attained and mastered the following:

  • Safe takeoffs
  • Safe landings
  • The ability to maintain positive control of the aircraft
  • Consistently show good judgment and safety

Your student pilot certificate is valid for only two years.

Becoming a pilot can be very expensive. As a result, you may need some kind of funding to see you through college. If you need funding support, then read about this Fully Sponsored Pilot Training Program.

2. Sport Pilot Certificate

A sports pilot certificate in the US requires you to have obtained a student pilot certificate as well as log 20 hours of flight time before you can become a certified sports pilot.

The sport pilot certificate allows you to fly an aircraft that is:

  • Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA)
  • No more than two seats
  • 51ph max landing configuration
  • 138mph max straight as well as level flying
  • Static pitch or ground adjustable propeller
  • Fixed landing gear.
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Below are the things that a sports pilot certificate cannot allow you to do in the aviation industry: you must not:

  • Fly after dark
  • Fly in controlled airspace
  • Must not fly outside the US without first obtaining permission from the country you’re flying to.
  • Must not fly above 100,000 feet
  • Fly with passengers
  • Fly in visibility less than 3 miles
  • Must not sky in an LSA that goes over 100mph without training.

3. Recreational Pilot Certificate

This pilot certificate tends to have more regulations and restraints than a private pilot certificate.

It requires that you must be at least 17 years old and above and would have already obtained a student or sports certificate.

In addition to that, you will need to have already logged 30 hours of flight time, and 13 out of the 3p hours must be training.

Below are the things you cannot do with a recreational pilot certificate: you:

  • Cannot fly over 50 nautical miles from the airport from your training location
  • Cannot fly in airspace that would require communication with the control
  • Must not fly at night
  • Must not have over four seats
  • Cannot fly more than one passenger

However, the fantastic thing about the recreational pilot certificate is that it allows you to fly in the air quicker than a private pilot certificate can.

4. Private Pilot Certificate

  • This pilot certificate type requires you to first complete your student pilot certificate. It is one of the basic requirements, and the rest is as follows:
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Third-class FAA medical certificate
  • Least of 35 varied flight hours, which includes night training
  • Successfully obtaining the FAA knowledge and practical tests.

This pilot certificate type allows you to fly passengers and most airplanes. However, you must not be hired or paid for flights.

5. Commercial Pilot Certificate

This pilot certificate type requires higher standards of training and knowledge. This is because they are able to fly professionally after successfully completing their training and obtaining their certificate.

Below are the requirements to become a commercial pilot as well as get a commercial pilot certificate:

  • You must be up to 18 years and above
  • Be fluent in the English language
  • Have a second-class FAA medical certificate
  • Have obtained a private pilot certificate
  • Successfully completed an aeronautics written test of 100 questions
  • Successfully completed oral and flight tests by FAA inspector
  • Be an FAA-designated examiner 
  • Successfully complete the training as well as log hours for single or multi-engine land class rating requirements
  • Have up to 150 to 25 9hours of piloting time

Although this certificate type allows you to be paid for flying, you cannot fly passengers for hire. Also, you will be able to fly for cargo, crop dusting, aerial photography as well as other locations.

6. Airline Transport Pilot Certificate

This is the certificate type that every student strives to gain. This is mainly because this certificate style allows you to Professionally fly people in commercial airlines as well as other aircraft.

The process of obtaining this certificate can be quite rigorous. However, it can be hastened through LETU’s training as well as the professional flight B.S. program.

Below are the requirements for the airline transport pilot certificate:

  • You must be up to 2 3years of age and above
  • Have successfully completed a comprehensive written test
  • Successfully completed 1500+ hours of flight time in addition to 100 night flight hours as well as 500 hours cross-country
  • Possess good moral character
  • Have instrument rating

What is the Pilot Salary in the US?

How Much is Pilot Salary in the US? What is the average pilot salary in the US?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average pilot salary as well as for copilots, and flight engineers are as follows:

  • Median annual pilot salary: $140,340 ($67.47 /hour)
  • Top 10% annual salary: More than $208,000 ($100/hour)
  • Bottom 10% annual salary: Less than $65,690 ($31.58/hour)

Also, according to Money.usnews, the pilot salary in the US as of 2020 was $130, 440. However, the best-paid 25% of pilot salary in the US in the same year made $208,000 and the lowest, $90,470 per year.

Since Air Traffic Controllers also work in the aviation industry, you may want to read this article about the Air Traffic Controller Salary in the US.

What are the Requirements to Become Pilots in the US?

To become a pilot in the US, there are specific requirements you’ll need to meet, which include education, training, and certifications or licensing.

Education

For quicker employment, it will help to have a bachelor’s degree even though the minimum academic requirement to become a pilot is two years of college.

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In those two years, your coursework will be expected to include English, maths, physics, and aeronautical engineering.

Training

Before you become a pilot in the US, you just undergo the required training.

Usually, pilots receive their training either in the military or by attending the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-certified flight schools. 

Certification/License

To become a pilot in the US, you will need to obtain a commercial pilot’s license or a transport pilot certification. 

Also, you must be up to 18 years old and above with up to 1,500 hours of flight time as well as pass the required written and flight exams.

In addition, you must not have any physical handicap that may affect your job operations.

What are the Skills Requirements for Pilots in the US?

Basically, to become a pilot, there are some skill requirements needed. This includes soft skills as well as personal qualities.

The following are some skill requirements you need to become a Pilot in the US.

  • Effective communication skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Detailed oriented
  • Critical thinking
  • Teamwork
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Task management
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Professional demeanor
  • Adaptability

How is the Pilot Work Environment in the US?

Although a pilot career is quite adventurous, it comes with its own challenges.

A pilot career can be tiring and isolating. It can keep you away from your family and loved ones as the profession requires you to spend most of your time in the aircraft.

You must be ready and well informed about all a pilot career entails before getting in. 

What is the Pilot Work Schedule in the US?

Basically, pilots spend a standard of 75 hours flying each month as well as about 150 hours during in-flight duties.

Also, commercial pilots fly between 30 and 90 hours a month. Although these schedules may involve working several days in a row without a day off, there are also the chances of having several days off.

According to the mandate by the FAA, pilots must have eight hours of rest between flights.

How Do I Become a Pilot in the US?

Below are the steps on how to become a pilot in the US. These steps might vary for other countries, so we recommend checking out the criteria for other countries if your dream is not to become a pilot in the US.

Here are the steps to becoming a pilot in the US.

1. Research and explore pilot schools

Basically, the first step to becoming a pilot in the US is to research your training options or schools. 

To do this, you must ensure you first compare the available programs offered by the different flight schools and choose the one that best matches your interest or aviation goals.

2. Take part in an introductory training flight.

Before you can enroll in a flight training program, you will be required to first take an introductory training flight.

This will help you be familiar with the training, aircraft, as well as instructions a flight school will offer you during your flight training program.  

3. Apply for FAA medical certificate

If you just become a pilot, you need to meet the basic medical requirements to fly. You should apply for a first-class medical certificate through an Aeromedical Examiner )AME) if you want to fly professionally. 

4. Apply for the FAA student pilot certificate

This certificate is applied for through the FAA’s Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) website. Although a student pilot certificate is not required to enroll in a flight training program or school, you will need it to individually fly during your training. 

5. Begin your flight training lesson

Now, begin your flight training lessons at the programs or schools you selected. This will equip you with the aeronautical knowledge and pilot training experience you need to become a pilot in the US.

6. Successfully complete the private pilot knowledge test

This is a computer-based test by the FAA. However, you will need to receive an approval or recommendation from your flight instructor to be eligible to take the test

7. Successfully complete the private pilot practical exam

Taking the practical exam with a Designated Pilot Examiner is your final step in this journey to become a pilot in the US. It comprises oral and written tests which qualify you as a private pilot once successfully completed.

Are Pilots in Demand in the US?

Generally, pilots are in demand in the US. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2018, there were approximately 124,800 pilot jobs in the US as of 2016. 

The Bureau of Labour Statistics foresees the industry growing by 4% by 2026, which keeps it a little less than the 7% average for other jobs in the US.

However, jobs will be available as people begin to retire from the industry. This will further cause stronger competition in the field as there will likely be more pilots than job openings by 2026.

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What are the Best Pilot Schools in the US?

As someone looking to get into this field in the aviation industry, you need to find out the best schools to study aviation in the US.

Basically, since aviation is quite technical, there are only a specific number of universities and colleges that offer the program; however, there are trade schools that primarily provide certificate programs in aviation.

However, degrees are more considered in the US than certificates. These degrees can be earned at a university or college. Also, they are open to international students at various universities in the US.

13 Best Pilot Training Schools in the US in 2022

We have compiled a list of the best pilot training schools in the US or the best aviation schools in the US.

1. United States Air Force Academy

This pilot training school is basically a military academy with comprehensive curriculum courses in aircraft performance, liquid mobility, and aerothermodynamics.

2. Hallmark University

Hallmark University is prestigious among aviation intellectuals. It is primarily dedicated to experimental education and complies with the guidelines of the Federal Aviation Administration.

3. The United States Air Force Academy

This pilot training school is basically a military academy with comprehensive curriculum courses in aircraft performance, liquid mobility, and aerothermodynamics. 

4. Hallmark University

Hallmark University is yet another of the best aviation schools in the US. It is a university renowned among radiation intellectuals and complies with the guidelines of the Federal Aviation Administration.

5. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

This is one of the most prestigious pilot training schools in the US. Established in 1926, the university doubles as the oldest and largest aviation school in the US. It is set in Daytona Beach, Florida.

The Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is not just one of the best aviation schools in the US but also one of the best flight schools in the US.

6. Western Michigan University

Basically, this university is considered a renowned name in aviation.

7. University of North Dakota

The University of North Dakota is highly regarded as the most technologically refined and progressive campus complex with an outstanding training fleet.

The studies at the university include air traffic control as well as flight education with airport or aviation management.

8. California Institute of Technology

This is another one of the best pilot training schools in the US for your pilot training experiences.

You can read more details about the school here.

9. Purdue University

Purdue University is also another of the best pilot schools in the US.  Basically, it is a flight training school popular among conservatives who want to take high-end training for their pilot training.

10. Aerosim Flight Academy

Established in 1989, the Aerosim Flight Academy is another one of the best flight schools in the US.

11. Arizona State University Polytechnic

Located in Arizona, ASU, the Arizona University Polytechnic is also one of the best aviation training schools in the US.Set in Arizona, the Arizona State University Polytechnic is an expert in undergraduate programs for individuals looking to get into the aviation industry. 

12. Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology

Established in the 1930s, the Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology is one of the most prominent and exceptional technical aviation schools in the US.

The university aims to satisfy the needs of the growing demand for aircraft technicians in the US.

The University primarily focuses on the following areas:

  • Power Fuselage
  • Inspection
  • Amendment

FAQs Pilot Salary in the US

What do pilots do?

Besides flying the aircraft, a pilot’s duties and responsibilities may include:

1. Selecting safe as well as more efficient flight routes to fly
2. Effectively communicating with significant personnel and agencies.
3. Conducting pre-and post-flight aircraft inspections
4. Collecting, organizing, and documenting detailed records for compliance purposes
5. Guaranteeing the safety as well as the comfort of the passengers, crew, and the aircraft.

What are the Skills Requirements for Pilots in the US?

To become a pilot, there are some skill requirements. The following are some skill requirements you need to become a Pilot in the US.

1. Effective communication skills
2. Problem-solving skills
3. Detailed oriented
4. Critical thinking
5. Teamwork
6. Interpersonal skills
7. Task management
8. Ability to work under pressure
9. Professional demeanor
10. Adaptability

What is the Pilot Salary in the US?

The average salary for airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers is as follows:

1. Median Annual Salary: $140,340 ($67.47 /hour)
2. Top 10% Annual Salary: More than $208,000 ($100/hour)
3. Bottom 10% Annual Salary: Less than $65,690 ($31.58/hour)

Reference

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