How Much Do Commercial Pilots Make?

A pilot might be one of the most dreamed-of jobs in the world. Children and adults alike daydream about cruising the skies for hours at a time—and getting paid to do it. But as a serious career option, what is the benefit of becoming a pilot, and how much money could you make?

How Much Does the Average Pilot Earn?

Piloting a plane is a highly skilled career, and the pay appropriately reflects the skill needed to do this job safely. For an airline pilot, the average yearly wage is about $140,340. For a commercial pilot working in other areas, the average pay settles around $82,240. The main reason why airline pilots earn more is due to the sheer number of passengers they will carry and the success of the airline itself. 

Pilots working for a private jet company are also paid more than a regular commercial pilot, usually earning an average of $111,080 annually. So flying a private jet charter to Naples or Hawaii or Mexico will earn pilots a higher wage than flying a public flight the same distance. Private jet companies are often unionized, and with the elite clientele they serve, it is no surprise that the payout is high.

What Are Working Conditions Like?

Commercial pilots fill a variety of roles worldwide. Becoming a pilot is no mean feat, and learning to fly a plane can take many years of work. Pilots can work varying hours throughout the year, including overnight flights.

Piloting is no 9–5 job. Although one drawback that dissuades many from pursuing piloting is the amount of time that will necessarily be spent away from family, it’s made up for by ample vacation time. Pilots often work for days away from home, but then receive several days off at a time.

Job Outlook 

If you were to choose to become a pilot, what would your career outlook and job security look like? As with any career choice, it is important to know the level of job security in your field. Luckily, there is currently very high job security for pilots. The extensive skills, training, and experience it takes to become a pilot mean there aren’t an excess of skilled candidates for piloting positions. Overall, air travel is set to continue rising, so becoming a pilot is a secure career choice.

Demand for Pilots

There are currently more open positions than there are certified pilots, meaning there is a high demand for skilled workers in this career path. And it is predicted that there will be a need for over 600,000 more pilots by the time we reach 2035. So if you are looking for a career change, this industry is a solid career bet for years to come.

In the USA, the main reason for a shortage in pilots is the aging of current pilots. Pilots are required to retire at the age of 65, and many of the pilots who fly for US airlines are now reaching that age. So companies are looking for young blood to carry the airlines into the next few decades.

The US has a high demand for pilots, but many international airlines and other countries are even more desperate for skilled employees to pilot their planes. The demand is so high that many Asian airlines are offering extremely high pay to American pilots willing to move to their country to pilot for them.

How Much Does It Cost to Become a Pilot?

To become a pilot, you must undergo intense training for a number of years. The cost of training can be steep, and this is a main reason why many choose not to pursue this path—hence the demand that follows.

It is important if you are considering taking up a pilot job that you look into the cost of training and whether this is affordable for you. Generally, flight training will cost around $63,995, not including extra fees such as the FAA Examiner’s Fees that come along afterwards. Make sure you understand the full financial burden of piloting a plane before you decide on this career path.

Becoming a pilot can be an incredibly secure career choice, and it is one that will pay a lucrative income. If you are considering a change in your career path, perhaps piloting is the right answer for you this year.