Aircraft aren’t the only fast movers in the aviation industry today. With all the job prospects available for well-trained pilots now, it is the most exciting industry in the world to begin and pursue a career. You can begin flight training today and be flying a Boeing 787 across the Atlantic before you are through. That is fantastic news to veterans of the airline industry, and it is only one track that you can take once you have become a commercial pilot. Here are a few:
Flying for the Airlines
Pilots who fly for the Legacy Airlines, such as United, American and Delta, fly large jet equipment built by Boeing and Airbus. The average salary for an airline pilot flying for one of these carriers is in the mid $100,000 range, with senior captains flying the largest aircraft on the longest routes earning over $200,000 annually while actually flying less than two weeks per month.
Major airlines, such as Southwest, JetBlue, Spirit and Allegiant pay just slightly less than the Legacy Airlines and have similar working schedules.
Regional Airlines are working hard to make flying for them more than a stepping stone to the Major and Legacy Airlines. Starting pay at a regional airline has risen to over $30,000 per year. Pilots flying under ATP’s Tuition Reimbursement Program will earn an additional $6,000 their first year. Captains can make over $100,000 per year and First Officers can make up to $60,000 before upgrading to Captain.
Corporate Flight Departments
Any aircraft not flown for the airline industry falls under the classification of General Aviation. There are many highly rewarding careers available flying these aircraft, such as LearJets, Falcons, King Airs and others and are flown for business purposes.
These pilots will fly passengers to many airports of all sizes to conduct business, or fly important items that need to be moved quickly.
A Captain for one of these corporate flight departments can earn over $100,000 per year, with First Officers earning $60,000 or higher before upgrading to Captain. Corporate pilots flying smaller turbo-prop aircraft will earn slightly less.
On-demand Charter Operations
There are close to 15,000 airports in the United States and only a few hundred of these airports have scheduled airline service. To make matters worse, the number of airports with airline service is shrinking monthly due to the shortage of qualified airline pilots.
However, many of those airports without airline service are served by on-demand charter operations. If business or personal traveler has a need to quickly get to one of those airports, a reputable charter company may be the answer.
Charter Pilots will fly a variety of aircraft from light twins to expensive business jets, and they can expect to earn over $100,000 when flying the larger aircraft as a Captain, and at least $40,000 as a First Officer.
Flight Instructors are the most important links to the future of aviation. At ATP they teach important flying skills to the next generation of professional pilots who will use those skills throughout their flying careers.
Flight instructors also work for large flying operations in the airline industry, corporate flight departments and any operation requiring their pilots to undergo proficiency training. Instructors working in this capacity earn between $45,000 and $60,000.
Federal and State Governments
Both federal and state governments employ tens of thousands of civilian pilots to fly various missions. They fly all types of aircraft ranging from turbo-props such as King Airs up to Boeing 737s.
These civilian pilots will fly for other government agencies as well such as the FAA, NASA and the Drug Enforcement Agency to name a few. State Government’s flight departments fly politicians and their staffs to various locations as well as law enforcement missions.
These pilots earn between $40,000 and $150,000 along with generous benefit and retirement packages.
Air ambulance service is an important part of our healthcare system. When a patient needs life-saving medical treatment quickly, flying them to a hospital is required and they are flown in aircraft equipped much like an ambulance.
The pilots who fly these aircraft fly in a very rewarding environment and actually save lives with their service. These pilots usually fly jet aircraft such as Learjets and other relatively small business jets and earn salaries ranging from $60,000 to over $100,000 annually.
There is one thing that all of these flight operations share, that is a shortage of commercial pilots to fly for them. Begin flight training now to capture the opportunity to fly for a living. These operations offer careers that are like no others with each day bringing new adventures and challenges, and you can get there ahead of your competitors by joining the long blue line of proud professional pilots who began their flying careers by training with ATP.