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Airline Pilot Career

Discover a Delta Air Lines Pilot Salary (And How to get a Job There)

Delta Air Lines is a global commercial airline. Nearly 200 million passengers fly to over 300 destinations in 50 countries. Currently, Delta has over 13,000 pilots. Read on to learn how much you could earn on a Delta Air Lines pilot salary.

 

Where are Delta’s Bases?

 

  • Atlanta, GA – ATL (World’s largest airline hub)
  • Boston, MA – BOS
  • Detroit, MI – DTW
  • Los Angeles, CA – LAX
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN – MSP
  • Queens, NY – JFK
  • Salt Lake City, UT – SLC
  • Seattle, WA – SEA
  • Amsterdam, Netherlands – AMS
  • London-Heathrow, United Kingdom – LHR
  • Paris-Charles de Gaulle, France – CDG
  • Seoul, South Korea – ICN
  • Mexico City, Mexico – MEX
  • Tokyo, Japan – HND

 

What airplanes are in the Delta Air Lines Fleet?

 

  • Airbus A221
  • Airbus A223
  • Airbus A319
  • Airbus A320
  • Airbus A321
  • Airbus A332
  • Airbus A333
  • Airbus A339
  • Airbus A350
  • Boeing 717
  • Boeing 738
  • Boeing 739ER
  • Boeing 752
  • Boeing 753
  • Boeing 757-200 VIP
  • Boeing 763ER
  • Boeing 764ER

 

Delta Air Lines Planes on the ground

 

What are the Hiring Requirements for Delta Pilots?

For Delta Air Lines pilots there are two sets of requirements, or minimum qualifications. There’s the regulatory requirements set by the FAA, TSA, DOT, and even FCC. Then there are the individual airline requirements for the job.

Regulatory Requirements:

 

  • Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Certificate
  • Current First Class Medical Certificate
  • Radiotelephone Operator’s Permit
  • Secure Identification Display Area (SIDA) Badge eligibility
  • Successful completion of pre-employment drug test
  • Successful completion of Pilot Records Improvement Act (PRIA) evaluation
  • 1500 hours fixed wing flight time

Delta Air Lines Pilot Job Requirements:

 

  • At least 23 years of age
  • Graduate of a four-year degree program from a college or university accredited by a U.S. Dept. of Education recognized accrediting organization
    • Degrees obtained from a non-U.S. institution must be evaluated for equivalency to U.S. degrees by a member organization of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES)
  • Current passport or other travel documents enabling the bearer to freely exit and re-enter the U.S. (multiple reentry status) and be legally eligible to work in the U.S. (possess proper working documents)
  • Minimum of 1,500 hours of total documented flight time
  • Minimum of 1,000 hours of fixed wing turbine time (airplane and powered lift combined)
  • Minimum of 250 hours PIC or SIC as defined in 14 CFR §61.159(a)(5) in an airplane category
  • Minimum of 50 hours of multi-engine airplane time
  • TSA required fingerprint based Criminal History Records Check and a Delta background check

 

Delta Plane being towed

 

Delta Air Lines Pilot Salary

Delta’s pilots pay will vary heavily based on the plane you fly and the number of hours you fly during each bid period. They have a 74 hour monthly and reserve guarantee. Given this, the salary below is only a rough estimate of annual pay based on available sources.

Delta Air Lines First Officer Pay:

 

  • Year 1: $92,000
  • Year 5: $166,000
  • Year 8: $187,000

Delta Air Lines Captain Pay

 

  • Year 1: $251,000
  • Year 5: $260,000
  • Year 12: $274,000

Discover how much pilots earn for all the major and regional airlines in the USA on our pilot salary guide.

 

How Do I Apply for a Delta Air Lines Pilot Job?

If you meet all of the qualifications listed above you can visit the Air Delta Air Lines website. At the time of writing, Delta doesn’t have any pilot jobs posted but check back often to see when they start hiring pilots again.

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How to Get a Job as an Air Wisconsin Pilot

Air Wisconsin is a U.S regional airline that was originally founded in 1965 as its own company.

Now however, Air Wisconsin operates on behalf of United Airlines and United Express.  Air Wisconsin travels to over 70 cities in North America.  There are currently almost 600 pilots working for Air Wisconsin.

Where are Air Wisconsin Hubs?

  • Dulles, VA – IAD
  • Chicago, IL – ORD
  • Milwaukee, WI – MKE

What airplanes are in the Air Wisconsin Fleet?

  • Bombardier CRJ200

What are the Hiring Requirements for Air Wisconsin Pilots?

For Air Wisconsin pilots there are two sets of requirements, or minimum qualifications. There’s the regulatory requirements set by the FAA, TSA, DOT, and even FCC. Then there are the individual airline requirements for the job.

Regulatory Requirements:

  • Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Certificate
  • Current First Class Medical Certificate
  • Radiotelephone Operator’s Permit
  • Secure Identification Display Area (SIDA) Badge eligibility
  • Successful completion of pre-employment drug test
  • Successful completion of Pilot Records Improvement Act (PRIA) evaluation
  • 1500 hours fixed wing flight time
Air Wisconsin Aircraft

Air Wisconsin Pilot Job Requirements:

  • FAA commercial pilot’s license with multi-engine and instrument ratings
  • 50 hours of multi-engine fixed-wing flight time (may be reduced to 25)
  • 200 hours cross-country flight time
  • 250 hours fixed-wing PIC
  • 100 hours of cross-country as PIC
  • 100 hours of night flying
  • 75 hours of instrument time (actual or simulated – 50 hours must be in airplanes)
  • 25 hours of night PIC
  • Must be at least 21 years of age and finish ATP written prior to start of New Hire Training
  • Total flight time minimums:
    • 1,500 hours
    • 1,250 hours – with qualifying 2- or 4-year aviation university program with 30 aviation hours
    • 1,000 hours – with qualifying 2- or 4-year aviation university program with 60 aviation hours
    • 750 hours – military flight training graduates

Air Wisconsin Pilot Salary

 Air Wisconsin pilot’s pay will vary based on the number of hours you fly during each bid period. They have a 75 hour monthly and reserve guarantee. Given the factors above, the salary below should only be considered an estimate of annual pay based on available sources.

Air Wisconsin First Officer Pay:

  • Year 1: $37,000
  • Year 5: $49,000
  • Year 8: $53,000

Air Wisconsin Captain Pay

  • Year 1: $71,000
  • Year 5: $81,000
  • Year 12: $100,000

Discover how much pilots earn for all the major and regional airlines in the USA on our pilot salary guide.

How Do I Apply for an Air Wisconsin Pilot Job?

If you meet all of the qualifications listed above you can visit the Air Wisconsin website. At the time of writing, Air Wisconsin doesn’t have any pilot jobs posted but you can sign up for alerts to find out when they start hiring pilots again.

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How to Get a Job as a UPS Pilot

UPS is a U.S Cargo airline that was founded in 1988, in Louisville, KY.  Currently, UPS has close to 3,000 pilots working for them.

In 2019, UPS made $61 billion in revenue delivering close to 5.5 billion packages.  UPS delivers about 22 million packages per day to over 200 countries.

Where are UPS Hubs?

  • Anchorage, AK – ANC
  • Miami, FL – MIA
  • San Bernardino, CA – ONT
  • Columbia, SC – CAE
  • Chicago-Rockford, IL – RFD
  • Dallas-Fort Worth, TX – DFW
  • Philadelphia, PA – PHL
  • Hong Kong, China – HKG
  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – KUL
  • Shanghai-Pudong, China – PVG
  • Shenzhen, China – SZX
  • Cologne Bonn, Germany – CGN
  • East Midlands, England – EMA
  • Hamilton, Canada – YHM

What airplanes are in the UPS Fleet?

  • Airbus A300-F4
  • Boeing 747-100
  • Boeing 747-200
  • Boeing 747-400
  • Boeing 747-800
  • Boeing 747-SR
  • Boeing 757-200
  • Boeing 767-300
  • McDonnell MD-11

What are the Hiring Requirements for UPS Pilots?

For UPS pilots there are two sets of requirements, or minimum qualifications. There are the regulatory requirements set by the FAA, TSA, DOT, and even FCC. Then there are the individual airline requirements for the job.

Regulatory Requirements:

  • Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Certificate
  • Current First Class Medical Certificate
  • Radiotelephone Operator’s Permit
  • Secure Identification Display Area (SIDA) Badge eligibility
  • Successful completion of pre-employment drug test
  • Successful completion of Pilot Records Improvement Act (PRIA) evaluation
  • 1500 hours fixed wing flight time

UPS Pilot Job Requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university
  • Recent and type of experience will be considered; for example, preference given to candidates with demonstrated flight experience in transport category aircraft within the last 12 months from date of application.
  • Minimum of 1,000 hours Pilot in Command (PIC) hours in fixed-wing jet and/or fixed-wing multi-engine turboprop per 14 CFR 1.1 (UPS will allow military candidates to add a plus (.3) per sortie factor to flight time.)

UPS Pilots Salary

Just like the passenger airlines, UPS pilot’s pay will vary based on the plane you fly and the number of hours you fly during each bid period. They have a 81 hour monthly and reserve guarantee. Given the factors above, the salary below should only be considered an estimate of annual pay based on available sources.

UPS First Officer Pay:

  • Year 1: $50,000
  • Year 5: $200,000
  • Year 9: $235,000

UPS Captain Pay

  • Year 1: $50,000
  • Year 5: $312,000
  • Year 15: $329,000

Discover how much pilots make for all the major and regional airlines in the USA on our pilot salary guide.

How Do I Apply for a UPS Pilot Job?

If you meet all of the qualifications listed above you can visit the UPS jobs website. At the time of writing, UPS doesn’t have any pilot jobs posted but you can sign up for alerts to find out when they start hiring again.

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How to Get a Job as a PSA Airlines Pilot

Envoy Air is a U.S Regional airline founded in 1984 as American Eagle. It was a collection of regional airlines that carried the American Eagle brand name.

In 2014 the company changed its name to Envoy Air. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines Group. Envoy travels to over 150 cities in North America.  Envoy currently has over 2,500 pilots working for them and 185 airplanes.

Where are PSA Airlines Hubs?

  • Charlotte, NC – CLT
  • Dayton, OH – DAY
  • Arlington, VA – DCA
  • Philadelphia, PA – PHL
  • Knoxville, TN – TYS
  • Norfolk, VA – ORF

What airplanes are in the PSA Airlines Fleet?

  • Bombardier CRJ200
  • Bombardier CRJ700
  • Bombardier CRJ900
PSA Airlines pilot salary

What are the Hiring Requirements for PSA Airlines Pilots?

For PSA Airlines pilots there are two sets of requirements, or minimum qualifications to start your career. There’s the regulatory requirements set by the FAA, TSA, DOT, and even FCC. Then there are the individual airline requirements for the job.

Regulatory Requirements:

  • Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Certificate
  • Current First Class Medical Certificate
  • Radiotelephone Operator’s Permit
  • Secure Identification Display Area (SIDA) Badge eligibility
  • Successful completion of pre-employment drug test
  • Successful completion of Pilot Records Improvement Act (PRIA) evaluation
  • 1500 hours fixed wing flight time

American Airlines Pilot Job Requirements:

  • FAA commercial pilot’s license with multi-engine and instrument ratings
  • 50 hours of multi-engine fixed-wing flight time (may be reduced to 25)
  • 200 hours cross-country flight time
  • 250 hours fixed-wing PIC
  • 100 hours of cross-country as PIC
  • 100 hours of night flying
  • 75 hours of instrument time (actual or simulated – 50 hours must be in airplanes)
  • 25 hours of night PIC
  • Must be at least 21 years of age and finish ATP written prior to start of New Hire Training
  • Total flight time minimums:
    • 1,500 hours
    • 1,250 hours – with qualifying 2- or 4-year aviation university program with 30 aviation hours
    • 1,000 hours – with qualifying 2- or 4-year aviation university program with 60 aviation hours
    • 750 hours – military flight training graduates
American Eagle Aircraft operated by Envoy

PSA Airlines Pilots Salary

PSA Airlines pilot’s pay will vary based on the plane you fly and the number of hours you fly during each bid period. They have a 75 hour monthly and reserve guarantee. Given the factors above, the salary below should only be considered an estimate of annual pay based on available sources.

PSA Airlines First Officer Pay:

  • Year 1: $35,100
  • Year 5: $36,000
  • Year 9: $36,000

PSA Airlines Captain Pay

  • Year 1: $58,500
  • Year 5: $67,500
  • Year 15: $81,900

See more pilot salaries by airline.

How Do I Apply for an PSA Airlines Pilot Job?

If you meet all of the qualifications listed above you can visit the PSA Airlines jobs website and create a profile. After creating a profile, find which open position in which you’d like to apply. As you continue to fly be sure to update your profile regularly to improve your chances of being selected for an interview.

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How to Get a Job as an Envoy Air Pilot

Envoy Air is a U.S Regional airline founded in 1984 as American Eagle. It was a collection of regional airlines that carried the American Eagle brand name.

In 2014 the company changed its name to Envoy Air. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines Group. Envoy travels to over 150 cities in North America.  Envoy currently has over 2,500 pilots working for them and 185 airplanes.

Where are Envoy Air Hubs?

  • Dallas-Fort Worth, TX – DFW
  • Chicago, IL – ORD
  • Miami, FL – MIA

What airplanes are in the Envoy Air Fleet?

  • Embraer 140
  • Embraer 145
  • Embraer 175

American Airlines jets lined up - American Airlines pilot hiring requirements

What are the Hiring Requirements for Envoy Pilots?

For Envoy pilots there are two sets of requirements, or minimum qualifications to start your career. There’s the regulatory requirements set by the FAA, TSA, DOT, and even FCC. Then there are the individual airline requirements for the job.

Regulatory Requirements:

  • Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Certificate
  • Current First Class Medical Certificate
  • Radiotelephone Operator’s Permit
  • Secure Identification Display Area (SIDA) Badge eligibility
  • Successful completion of pre-employment drug test
  • Successful completion of Pilot Records Improvement Act (PRIA) evaluation
  • 1500 hours fixed wing flight time

AAG Regional Job Requirements:

  • FAA commercial pilot’s license with multi-engine and instrument ratings
  • 50 hours of multi-engine fixed-wing flight time (may be reduced to 25)
  • 200 hours cross-country flight time
  • 250 hours fixed-wing PIC
  • 100 hours of cross-country as PIC
  • 100 hours of night flying
  • 75 hours of instrument time (actual or simulated – 50 hours must be in airplanes)
  • 25 hours of night PIC
  • Must be at least 21 years of age and finish ATP written prior to start of New Hire Training
  • Total flight time minimums:
    • 1,500 hours
    • 1,250 hours – with qualifying 2- or 4-year aviation university program with 30 aviation hours
    • 1,000 hours – with qualifying 2- or 4-year aviation university program with 60 aviation hours
    • 750 hours – military flight training graduates

American Eagle Aircraft operated by Envoy

Envoy Air Pilots Salary

Envoy Air pilot’s pay will vary based on the plane you fly and the number of hours you fly during each bid period. They have a 72 hour monthly and 75 hour reserve guarantee. Given the factors above, the salary below should only be considered an estimate of annual pay based on available sources. Prices shown do not include per diem or bonuses.

Envoy Air First Officer Pay:

  • Year 1: $50,000
  • Year 4: $56,000

Envoy Air Captain Pay

  • Year 1: $83,000
  • Year 5: $91,000
  • Year 12: $106,000

See more pilot salaries by airline.

How Do I Apply for an Envoy Pilot Job?

If you meet all of the qualifications listed above you can visit the Envoy Air jobs website and create a profile.  By creating a profile you enter the hiring pool for Envoy Air. As you continue to fly be sure to update your profile regularly to improve your chances of being selected for an interview. Be sure to also check out their interview tips.

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How to Get a Job as an American Airlines Pilot

American Airlines dates their origins to 1926, when Charles Lindbergh flew the first official American Airlines flight carrying mail from St. Louis, MO to Chicago, IL. Over 90 years later American Airlines is one of the largest in the US, flying thousands of flights every day to over 350 destinations across over 50 countries.

Currently, American Airlines has a little over 15,100 pilots, and in 2019 nearly 900 new pilots launched their career with American Airlines.

Where are American Airlines Bases?

  • Chicago, IL – ORD
  • Boston, MA – BOS
  • Los Angeles, CA – LAX
  • Arlington, VA – DCA
  • Dallas-Fort Worth, TX – DFW
  • Queens, NY – LGA
  • Miami, FL – MIA
  • Philadelphia, PA – PHL
  • Charlotte, NC – CLT
  • Phoenix, AZ – PHX

What airplanes are in the American Airlines Fleet?

  • Airbus 319
  • Airbus 320
  • Airbus 321
  • Boeing 738
  • Boeing 752
  • Boeing 763ER
  • Boeing 772ER
  • Boeing 773ER
  • Boeing 778
  • Boeing 789

American Airlines jets lined up - American Airlines pilot hiring requirements

What are the Hiring Requirements for American Airlines Pilots?

For American Airlines pilots there are two sets of requirements, or minimum qualifications to start your career. There’s the regulatory requirements set by the FAA, TSA, DOT, and even FCC. Then there are the individual airline requirements for the job.

Regulatory Requirements:

  • Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Certificate
  • Current First Class Medical Certificate
  • Radiotelephone Operator’s Permit
  • Secure Identification Display Area (SIDA) Badge eligibility
  • Successful completion of pre-employment drug test
  • Successful completion of Pilot Records Improvement Act (PRIA) evaluation
  • 1500 hours fixed wing flight time

American Airlines Pilot Job Requirements:

  • Minimum age of 23
  • Ability to learn and work with PEDs
  • Fluently speak and understand English
  • Must have the right to work in the United States
  • Distance vision corrected to 20/20 and near vision corrected to 20/40 or better in each eye
  • Must be able to secure appropriate authority or Customs security badges

American Airlines airplane at the gate

American Airlines Pilots Pay

American’s pilot’s pay will vary based on the plane you fly and the number of hours you fly during each bid period. They have a 73 hour long call and 76 hour short call reserve guarantee. Given the factors above, the salary below should only be considered an estimate of hourly pay based on available sources.

American Airlines First Officer Pay:

  • Year 1: $90,000
  • Year 5: $169,000
  • Year 12: $190,000

American Airlines Captain Pay

  • Year 1: $255,000
  • Year 5: $263,000
  • Year 12: $278,000

Discover pilot pay for all the major and regional airlines in the USA on our pilot salary guide.

How Do I Apply for an American Airlines Pilot Job?

If you meet all of the qualifications listed above you can visit the American Airlines job website to see if they are hiring. It’s important to note that American Airlines largely hires new pilots from their regional airline partners.

In order to start your American Airlines pilot career you’ll first need to work at a regional and then apply to an open position for American. If your career goal is to fly for American Airlines take a look at the pilot hiring requirements at Envoy or PSA Airlines.

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Fedex Pilot Salary – How to Get a Job as a Fedex Pilot

Fedex Pilot Salary – How to Get a Job as a Fedex Pilot

FedEx operates a global cargo fleet that delivers packages around the world. Thousands of businesses and millions of consumers use FedEx every month. Currently, FedEx has over 5,000 pilots and with 100+ pilots retiring every year they are constantly hiring.

With the continued growth of ecommerce it’s expected that delivery needs around the world will continue to increase which is great news for FedEx and provides job security for their pilots.

Where are FedEx Bases?

  • Los Angeles, CA: LAX
  • Memphis, TN: MEM
  • Anchorage, AK: ANC
  • Cologne, Germany: CGN
  • Hong Kong: HKG
  • Indianapolis, IN: IND

What airplanes are in the FedEx Fleet?

  • Boeing 757-200
  • Boeing 767-300
  • Boeing 777F
  • Airbus A300
  • McDonnell Douglas MD-10
  • McDonnell Douglas MD-11

What are the Minimum Qualifications for FedEx pilots?

For FedEx pilots there are two sets of requirements, or minimum qualifications. There’s the regulatory requirements set by the FAA, TSA, DOT, and even FCC. Then there are the individual airline requirements for the job.

Regulatory Requirements:

  • Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Certificate
  • Current First Class Medical Certificate
  • Radiotelephone Operator’s Permit
  • Secure Identification Display Area (SIDA) Badge eligibility
  • Successful completion of pre-employment drug test
  • Successful completion of Pilot Records Improvement Act (PRIA) evaluation
  • 1500 hours fixed wing flight time

FedEx Pilot Job Requirements:

  • 1500 hours fixed wing flight time (1000 hours PIC in jet aircraft is preferred; multi-engine turbo-prop aircraft, 12,500 pounds or greater; certain single engine turbo-prop aircraft, or combination of these).
  • 500 PIC required
  • Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university

FedEx Pilots Pay

Just like the passenger airlines, FedEx pilot’s pay will vary based on the plane you fly and the number of hours you fly during each bid period. They have a 74 hour monthly and reserve guarantee. Given the factors above, the salary below should only be considered an estimate of annual pay based on available sources.

Fedex First Officer Pay:

  • Year 1: $75,000
  • Year 5: $165,000
  • Year 15: $203,000

Fedex Captain Pay:

  • Year 1: $227,000
  • Year 5: $257,000
  • Year 15: $280,000

Discover pilot pay for all the major and regional airlines in the USA on our pilot salary guide.

How Do I Apply for a FedEx Pilot Job?

If you meet all of the qualifications listed above you can visit the FedEx jobs website and create a profile. By creating a profile you enter the hiring pool for FedEx. As you continue to fly be sure to update your profile regularly to improve your chances of being selected for an interview. Be sure you also take a look at their knowledge test outline in order to prepare.

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Airline Pilot Salary – How Much Do Pilots Make?

Airline Pilot Salary – How Much Do Pilots Make?

Nearly all pilots choose the career because of their love for flying- but the pay is a nice bonus.

But if you’re considering becoming an airline pilot you’re likely wondering, “how much do pilots make?”

How is a Pilot's Salary Calculated?

Airline pilots don’t necessarily get paid a “salary”. Instead, pilots are paid per flight hour. As of August 2020, the average airline pilot salary in the United States was $102,851 .  But if you’re researching this as a possible career there is a lot more to consider than just the national average.

In order to ensure pilots are not over worked, airline pilots are limited to 1,000 flight hours per year. With that information and the pilots hourly rate, you can find out what your maximum earning potential is for an airline pilot’s salary.

It’s important to note that there are other benefits to working for an airline beyond the salary, but we’ll get into that later.

Factors That Determine Airline Pilot Salary

Just like any other career, an airline pilot’s salary varies depending on a variety of factors. Each airline sets its pay rates based on the contracts it signs. These rates may be based on many different inputs.

Years of Experience

Years of experience is a key factor in the hiring of all commercial pilots, not just airline pilots. While the hiring at the airlines is based on experience, the offers for compensation are set by the contracts the airline has signed with their pilots. In relation to other commercial airline pilot opportunities, experience may dictate the amount of pay you are offered.

For example: A small corporation is looking to hire a commercial pilot for their multi-engine airplane and has two pilots pursuing the same job. One flew 5 years for a banner tow company in a Citabria, and the other was a contractor for 5 years and has flown a variety of single-engine and multi-engine aircraft. The contractor will likely receive a higher offer as he/she has flown in a wider variety of aircraft and has more overall experience.

Total Flight Hours

As mentioned earlier airline pilots are paid on an hourly basis, specifically per flight hour. Logically this means that pilots who fly monthly schedules with higher flight times are going to get paid a larger amount.

Aircraft Type

The airlines pay their pilots different hourly rates depending on which aircraft they fly. As a general rule, the larger the aircraft, the higher the hourly rate.

You get to pick your monthly schedule of hours as well as the airplane you fly based on your seniority number (which is a very important aspect of being an airline pilot, as we have discussed in other blog posts. ) As your seniority number improves, you have more say in which aircraft and schedule you fly.

Major Airline Captain Salaries

All salaries listed below are based on flying 1,000 hours per year and are an approximation  based on available information. Note that airline pay changes regularly.

A pilots salary will vary based on the aircraft they fly. Where available, we’ve included the plane associated with the listed pay.

Airline

Plane

Year 1

Year 5

Year 12

Air Canada

A320

$190,000

$198,000

$211,000

American Airlines

A320

$255,000

$263,000

$278,000

Delta Airlines

A320

$251,000

$260,000

$274,000

Frontier Airlines


$184,000

$208,000

$245,000

Hawaiian Airlines

A321

$233,000

$241,000

$254,000

JetBlue Airlines

A320

$234,000

$246,000

$269,000

Southwest Airlines

737

$241,000

$253,000

$274,000

Spirit Airlines

A320

$186,000

$210,000

$247,000

United Airlines

A320

$260,000

$268,000

$283,000

Major Airline First Officer Salaries

Airline

Plane

Year 1

Year 5

Year 12

Air Canada

A320

$56,000

$151,000

$190,000

American Airlines

A320

$90,000

$169,000

$190,000

Delta Airlines

A320

$92,000

$166,000

$187,000

Frontier Airlines


$58,000

$130,000

$162,000

Hawaiian Airlines

A321

$58,000

$149,000

$177,000

JetBlue Airlines

A320

$89,000

$158,000

$180,000

Southwest Airlines

737

$84,000

$164,000

$191,000

Spirit Airlines

A320

$58,000

$131,000

$164,000

United Airlines

A320

$91,000

$172,000

$193,000

Salaries posted above do not include sign-on bonuses or other benefits.

Pilot Salary - A Timeline

It goes without saying- you earn the least at the beginning of your career and the most towards the end. Before beginning your path towards a career as an airline pilot, it’s important to understand how much you will be making throughout your entire career.

The figures above are based on averages across different airlines but can give you a good idea of the airline pilot salary you can be expecting as your career progresses. It’s also worth noting that the timeline above is stretched out a little longer than what some would experience.

With the current pilot shortage the world is experiencing, some pilots have found the move from a regional airline to a major airline even faster.

For example, prior to Covid many regional airline pilots made it to the majors after only 3-5 years.

You probably noticed that at a couple of spots on the graph, the bar line drops, particularly when you jump from being a regional airline pilot to a pilot for a major airline. This does not necessarily mean you get a drop in pay.

As an incentive for pilots to start at a new airline, sign-on bonuses are sometimes distributed. You would technically earn more money during your first year due to that sign-on bonus.

Sample Pilot Salaries for Regional Airlines

Regional Airline Captain Salaries

Airline

Plane

Year 1

Year 5

Year 12

Air Wisconsin

CRJ200

$71,000

$81,000

$100,000

Endeavor Air

CRJ200

$86,000

$94,000

$110,000

Envoy Air

CRJ700

$83,000

$91,000

$106,000

Horizon Air


$70,000

$80,000

$101,000

Mesa Airlines

CRJ700

$62,000

$69,000

$84,000

Piedmont Airlines

ERJ 145

$76,000

$83,000

$96,000

PSA Airlines


$82,000

$90,000

$104,000

Republic Airways


$90,000

$99,000

$116,000

Skywest Airlines

CRJ200

$75,000

$83,000

$102,000

Regional Airline First Officer Salaries

Few pilots remain first officers at the regional airlines for very long. Most will become a captain at a regional airline within a few years and then from their move to a major airline. This is why some salaries aren’t listed for year 5 and beyond.

Airline

Plane

Year 1

Year 5

Year 8

Air Wisconsin

CRJ200

$37,000

$49,000

$53,000

Endeavor Air

CRJ200

$51,000

$64,000

$67,000

Envoy Air

CRJ700

$83,000

$56,000


Horizon Air


$40,000

$49,000

$52,000

Mesa Airlines

CRJ700

$36,000

$41,000

$49,000

Piedmont Airlines

ERJ 145

$50,000

$56,000


PSA Airlines


$50,000



Republic Airways


$46,000

$55,000


Skywest Airlines

CRJ200

$45,000

$58,000


Do Airline Pilots Receive Signing Bonuses?

At this time most regional airlines give out signing bonuses to attract pilots due to the pilot shortage. Bonuses may vary based on the pilots experience. We’ve seen bonuses ranging from $5,000 to over $15,000.

For example, if you already have a type rating for one of the aircraft you’d be flying the airline may give you a bigger signing bonus since they don’t have to spend as much money training you.

Searching for the perfect headset? Check out our guide on choosing the best pilot headset.

Additional Airline Pilot Benefits

Pilots enjoy plenty of benefits aside from the pay. Especially during times when the industry is strong and, airlines are struggling to compete with the other airlines to bring qualified pilots to their airline.

Free Travel

Most airlines allow their pilots free travel on flights that have empty seats, including a seat for a friend or family member.

Many pilots use these free trips to explore the world or to simply visit friends and family regularly.

Per Diem

Airline pilot‘s receive a very attractive per diem on top of their hourly wage. This amount is to cover your expenses while on trips. Often, the amount is larger than what you spend so could add to your annual income.

Healthcare and Insurance

To remain competitive with the other airlines, most companies have very attractive healthcare and life insurance benefits for their pilots.

Bonuses

While bonuses are not guaranteed in any business, in the good times airlines will offer sign on bonuses to be competitive in hiring. Others offer yearly profit sharing based on the airlines income as well as other contractual agreed upon amounts.

Other Types of Pilot Jobs and How Much They Pay

Flight Instructor

Many will opt to work at a flight school as an instructor as their method of gaining their FAA required minimum hours, but some love it so much they choose to become a career instructor. A career instructor can expect to earn anywhere from $40,000 to $75,000 annually.

Many instructor’s will go on to work as a chief flight instructor for a flight school where your salary can go even higher.

Cargo Carrier

In terms of pay, this is probably the most competitive with commercial airlines. Cargo Carriers.

The pay structure for cargo pilots is very similar to that of major airline carriers.

Cargo Airline Captain Salaries

Airline

Plane

Year 1

Year 5

Year 8

Air Transport International

767

$140,000

$223,000

$268,000

Atlas Air

767

$142,000

$160,000

$196,000

FedEx Express

767

$268,000

$301,000

$317,000

Kalitta Air


$150,000

$238,000

$286,000

Southern Air

767

$142,000

$160,000

$196,000

United Parcel Service


$50,000

$312,000

$329,000

Cargo Airline Pilot First Officer Salaries

Airline

Plane

Year 1

Year 5

Year 8

Air Transport International

767

$83,000

$151,000

$181,000

Atlas Air

767

$87,000

$108,000

$137,000

FedEx Express

767

$81,000

$193,000

$226,000

Kalitta Air


$116,000

$162,000

$193,000

Southern Air

767

$87,000

$108,000

$137,000

United Parcel Service


$50,000

$200,000

$235,000

Charter Pilot

Charter services offer private flights to businesses or individuals. A charter pilot needs to have a professional attitude as they will be dealing with clients even more directly than pilots flying for airlines.

The salary is higher than most time-building jobs, with the average charter pilot in the US earning ~$75,000.

Charter Pilot Captain Salaries

While there are quite a few small charter airlines across the United States, here are a few of the larger operations that post their pay publicly. These charter airlines typically fly large jets which is why their pay closely resembles airline pilot pay.

Airline

Year 1

Year 5

Year 8

iAero Ways

$168,000

$178,000

$192,000

Miami Air International

$96,000

$116,000

$163,000

Omni Air International

$176,000

$227,000

$273,000

Charter Pilot First Officer Salaries

Airline

Year 1

Year 5

Year 8

iAero Ways

$90,000

$98,000

$100,000

Miami Air International

$47,000

$83,000

$98,000

Omni Air International

$118,000

$154,000

$184,000

Corporate Pilot

A career as a corporate pilot is similar to a career as an airline pilot in many ways.

It’s a very competitive job, you will likely need a high number of hours to be considered, and you are typically flying larger turbine aircraft.

The differences are of course the number of passengers, type of aircraft you are flying, and where you will be flying. Many may consider corporate pilot as more attractive than airline pilot due to the more consistent schedule and locations.

You will likely not be required to move like you would early in your career as an airline pilot.

A corporate pilot may start out around $60,000 annually (first officer) but has the potential to earn $180,000 or more as they gain more experience and stay with a corporation longer.

Stunt Pilot

For the extreme thrill-seekers, aerobatics might be a fun career for you. Aerobatic pilots, or stunt pilots, perform in aerial shows, compete with other aerobatic pilots, and train pilots in aerobatic flight.

The pay of stunt pilots varies tremendously, but the median earnings of this job pay between $50,000 and $70,000.

It is a very difficult career to break into, and you will need to be passionate about the job in order to break out.

Tour Guide

The job of a tour guide could be for you if you enjoy small groups and consider yourself a people person. The job is location-dependent and can vary greatly in hours.

You could be doing a lot of hours during peak-season, and be earning very little during the off-season, so this gig isn’t for everyone. Average earnings are around $52,000 annually.

Banner Towing

Like instructing, most who tow banners are using the job as a way to build hours. The pay is similar to instructing and can range from $20-$50 an hour.

Crop Duster

One of the more unique and niche jobs on this list, a crop duster (also known as “Aerial Applicator” or “Agricultural Pilot”) is a pilot that uses aircraft to aid in agricultural care.

They may apply pesticides, fertilizers, or even plant seed using their aircraft. This job requires not only aviation training (commercial rating) but agricultural knowledge.

You will need to be knowledgeable on different types of pesticides and fertilizers, and familiar with agricultural practices. If you are able to overcome this knowledge hurdle, you are rewarded with a job that can pay higher than $100,000.

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Going to College to Become an Airline Pilot

Going to College to Become an Airline Pilot

There’s a lot of conflicting information online about whether or not a 4-year college degree is required to become an airline pilot. But do you need a degree to be a pilot at the airlines?

Some sources claim it’s absolutely mandatory, while others say you don’t need one at all. As is often the case, the truth lies somewhere in between.

Aviation College- The Bottom Line

To cut right to the chase – you do not need a degree to be an airline pilot, but by the time you move on to the majors it’s a good idea to have one.

Most majors list 4-year degrees as preferred and some even mandate them. Even during pilot shortages, the majors are very competitive when compared to the regional airline, so it’s always advisable to get whatever edge you can over your competition.

Airlines

Degree Requirements

American Airlines

Southwest

Delta

United Airlines

This is not necessarily the case at the regionals. Pilot demand always hits the regionals before the majors so they can’t afford to be as picky.

These regional airlines hire directly out of flight schools. Since the typical route for an airline pilot is to start at the regionals and work up to the majors, it’s common for pilots to use their time at the regional airlines to complete their 4-year degree via online resources.

Alternatively, getting your degree prior to or in conjunction with your flight training offers you the option of reducing your required hours prior to being eligible for an airline pilot position. The FAA’s “1,500 hour rule” can be done in just 1,250 or 1,000 hours depending on what type of degree you obtain (see §61.160 for details.)

So the question becomes: how should you balance going to college with flight training?

There are a few different options and each one is going to work better for different individuals depending on their situation.

Most major airlines have 4-year degrees as a “preferred” requirement. Updated as of 6.25.2020

As you weigh your options on becoming an airline pilot, you should also consider how much you’ll be paid based on the path you choose. Take a look at our pilot salary guide to get an idea of how much you could earn.

Take your FAA written exam

1. Attend a 4-year university that offers flight training

Many choose to get their flight training through a 4-year university that offers flight training, a route that will have you flight training while following the traditional college timeline.

Typically you’ll finish all of your ratings by the time you’ve completed your degree program (usually an aviation related degree to take advantage of the hour reductions mentioned above) and then you’ll need to either instruct or find another job as a pilot to reach the rest of your required hours. If you’re instructing this typically takes around a year.

Timeline to Airline Job:

5-6 years

Pros:

• Obtain degree along-side your flight training

• Complete your degree and flight training in one location

• Reduced required hours if obtaining aviation degree

• Student loans are more readily available for individuals unable to finance their flight training on their own or with parents’ assistance

Cons:

• Expensive

• More than 4 years to start flying for the airlines

• Training is not accelerated, meaning you spend more total time on flight training

• No fallback – an aviation degree is only good for aviation

Best for:

Those that are unable to finance without Title IV assistance

• Students who may want to wait a few years and enjoy the “college experience” before starting a job

2. Attend a 4-year university and flight train elsewhere

Although perhaps one of the least-traveled paths, some choose to begin their flight training after obtaining a 4-year degree. Typically those who take this path obtain a degree outside of aviation, and begin flight training at a pilot school shortly before or after graduating.

This is the longest and most expensive option, but it does give the student the most flexibility in their career pathway.

Timeline to Airline Job:

6-7 years

Pros:

• Multiple career options after completing training

• Ultimately spend less on your flight training vs doing it at a University

• Degree offers security in the event of an industry downturn

Cons:

• Most expensive, as you are paying for both a 4-year degree and flight training separately

• Takes 6+ years. As important as seniority is in the airlines, you will have to determine if this is a deal breaker for you.

Best for:

• Those who aren’t 100% sure they want to be pilots

• Students who have the means to spend extra money on their education to have flexible career options later in life

3. Attend a flight school and finish your degree online

For those that know they want to be an airline pilot and want to get there as quickly as possible, this is the most attractive option.

Many online university programs will offer credit for the ratings you’ve obtained from flight schools, and you could use this to get up to 45 credit hours. This would reduce your bachelor program after flight training to about two years.

The most efficient way to do this is to attend a flight school with an accelerated airline pilot program (usually takes 8-10 months to complete) and once you obtain all your ratings, begin taking online classes while working as a flight instructor.

This way you are getting the aviation degree needed to take advantage of the 250-500 hour discount, and simultaneously instructing to start knocking those hours out.

Given the right circumstances, this pathway could get you through all of your ratings, all of your FAA required hours, AND your bachelor degree in just 3-4 years. You could even be flying for a regional during the end of that timeline if you fly enough to reach the required hours prior to obtaining your degree. This is attractive when considering seniority numbers in the airlines.

Timeline to Airline Job:

2-3 years

Pros:

• Most cost effective

• Quickest method to get a seniority number

• Reduced required hours if obtaining an aviation degree

Cons:

• No fallback – aviation is the only career an aviation degree will be useful in

• No “college experience”- if the college campus experience is important to you, then you’re going to be missing out (although Thrust Flight has a pretty similar atmosphere.)

• Title IV loans rarely available at flight schools

• Very demanding schedule

Best for:

• Those who want to get to the airlines as soon as possible

• People who can forego student loans in order to save more now and earn more in the long term

• Students who are positive they want this career

Do Your Research

Before making a decision on which path is right for you, make sure you understand the concepts of the 1,500 hour rule as well as seniority numbers in the regionals.

These factors may affect which path is best for you. Each student is different. We talk to people every day with different recommended paths, because accelerated flight training from zero time through all your ratings is not the best option for everyone. Do your research. Call different schools. Talk to pilots and student pilots. In the end, you want to make the decision that is best for YOU.

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How to Become an Airline Pilot

How to Become an Airline Pilot

Do you dream of taking to the skies as a qualified airline pilot?

Whether you’re looking for a career change or pursuing a lifelong dream, in this guide we’ll walk you through all of the requirements you’ll need to fulfill to become a commercial airline pilot.

Use the navigation to skip down to navigate to any specific section you’d like to learn about first.

The Pilot Shortage

Right now is perhaps one of the best times to become an airline pilot.

Currently, there is a massive shortage of qualified pilots, and airlines all over the world are looking to hire talent. In most cases, the companies are desperate for you to join their flight team.

The demand for pilots is largely being driven by the ever growing demand for air travel.

According to research by Boeingthe industry will need more than 804,000 new pilots by 2037. Airbus also shows an analysis that states it requires over 450,000 new airline pilots by 2035.

Every airline is feeling the pilot pinch.

According to 2017 data from the FAA, there were 609,000 active pilots in the industry. That number slipped from 827,000 pilots taking to the skies in 1987, for a 30-percent reduction in active pilots.

Retirements and tightening industry regulations are to blame for the current pilot crisis.

Two airline pilots in the cockpit

 

However, it means that there’s plenty of opportunities if you want to become an airline pilot. And you won’t struggle to find work once you’ve met all the requirements.

The current pilot shortage stretches around the globe. Markets in the Middle-East and the Asia-Pacific region in particular present enormous opportunities for airline pilots. Almost every company offers competitive and attractive packages for pilots that are willing to join their team.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Commercial Airline Pilot?

It may surprise you to learn that it only takes 2-3 months for you to obtain your private pilot certificate. After that it usually takes about 2-years to gain the flight time you need to qualify to become a commercial airline pilot.

During those two years of flying you’ll gain more certificates (detailed below) and slowly build up your hours.

Every pilot in the USA must have 1,500-hours of flight time in their logbooks before they get the chance to become an airline pilot.

What are the Medical Requirements to Become an Airline Pilot?

Before you take the necessary steps to become an airline pilot, you’ll need to ensure you’re medically fit to take on the responsibility. Here is a list of the qualifying medical criteria you’ll need to meet.

FAA Medical Ratings

The Federal Aviation Authority awards first, second, and third-class medical certificates to pilots.

The first-class certification is the highest rating.

Qualifications for a First-Class FAA Medical Certificate

  • Pilots must pass a voice test requiring them to hear an average conversation from a distance of 6-feet.
  • Prospective pilots must have 20/20 vision, or eyesight corrected to 20/20 with glasses or contacts.
  • Pilots must meet medical standards for cardiovascular and neurological health.
  • Pilots also can’t be colorblind

Looking out an airplane window at the wing of a plane

FAA Qualification Disqualifying Conditions

The FAA has a list of 15-disqualifying criteria for a medical certificate. Prospective pilots with a history of heart attack, other heart issues such as a valve replacement, and any history of drug abuse disqualify you from certification.

If you have more than 3-DUIs on your driving record, then you void your chances of receiving certification.

Is a College Degree Required to become an Airline Pilot?

To become a commercial airline pilot, you do not need a college degree. It’s a bonus that many airlines look favorably upon, and if the job opportunities do decrease, having a college degree may give you a leg up.

Some common degrees pilots pursue include:

  •  Airport Management
  • Aviation Management
  • Aeronautical Engineering
  • Aeronautical Science

If you decide to go to college while also pursuing your pilot credentials, it’s a good idea to join the Air Line Pilots Association International, (ALPA) ACE club. Joining helps you start to build your network, giving you further insight into the industry, while making it easier for you to find a good job after graduation.

How Much Do Airline Pilots Earn?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the average airline pilot earns $115,670 in 2018.

Airline pilots will typically begin their career at a regional airline as a First Officer. After a few years of work experience you can expect to become a Captain at a regional airline. Your salary will increase each year with a larger jump once you become a captain.

If you decide to make the jump from a captain at a regional airline to a first officer at a major airline you can expect to see a small pay cut your first year or two but that will quickly recover.

International airline pilots are the highest paid pilots.

If you want more details on pilot pay check out our pilot salary guide.

Airplane on the tarmac

What are the Steps to becoming an Airline Pilot?

Step 1 – Earn Your Private Pilot Certification

The first step on your path to becoming a professional pilot is to earn your Private Pilot certificate. You’ll start in a single-engine aircraft, and your training focuses on learning the fundamentals. You’ll spend many hours on the ground and in the air with an instructor who will properly train you in becoming a pilot.

You’ll need to earn a minimum of 40 hours of flight time and pass an exam with an FAA examiner. It’s important to note while 40 is the minimum required, most pilots will need to fly more than that to be ready for their checkride.

Step 2 – Add the Instrument Rating Qualification

After earning your private pilot certification, you’ll need to qualify for your instrument rating certification. This qualification permits you to fly under all types of weather, and under the Instrument Flight Rules, (IFR).

You’ll need to achieve an additional 40 hours of flight time on top of the 40 to obtained for your private.

Step 3 – Earn Your Commercial Pilot Certificate

commercial pilot certificate increases your knowledge and experience with handling an aircraft and maintaining flight procedures.

It also allows you to start earning an income as a pilot. There are a number of rules around promoting yourself as a pilot so be sure to study the rules carefully before you decide to break out on your own.

Step 4 – Earn Your Flight Instructor Certificate

After earning a  CFI (certified flight  instructor) certificate, you’re legal to train other pilots. This qualification allows you to make a living from your vocation, while you log flight time to qualify as a commercial airline pilot.

To obtain your CFI you’ll need to attend a CFI academy where you’ll learn how to teach other pilots.

Step 5 – Add the Multi-Engine Rating

As the name suggests, you’ll need a multi-engine rating to fly airplanes with more than one engine. Since airlines all fly jets with more than one engine you’ll need this rating along with a decent number of hours.

Small plane to train in when becoming an airline pilot

Step 6 – Gain Your Flight-time Experience

All that’s left is for you to log 1,500-hours of flight time, and you’re ready to apply for your first airline pilot job.

What Is an Airline Transport Certificate?

The Airline Transport Pilot Multi-Engine certificate is the holy grail of pilot ratings. You’ll need this certification to fly cargo or passengers, as per the Part 121 and some Part 135 operations requirements.

Pilots who obtain the ATP certification fly at a higher safety standard than other commercial pilots and are in much higher demand by the airlines. You only need this certification to fly Part 121 and 135 operations, but it is now the benchmark for the majority of professional flight departments.

Jet Rating

Before you can begin actually flying with the airlines you’ll also need a type rating in the jet you’re going to fly. These ratings are done in simulators and can cost thousands of dollars.

Fortunately, you won’t actually pursue this rating until you’re hired by an airline and they’ll foot the bill.

How Much Does It Cost to Become an Airline Pilot?

Becoming an airline pilot is not a cheap endeavor. You’ll have to shell out a significant amount of money for your training and certification, with the majority of the expense occurring while you’re collecting ratings and time before you receive your CFI certificate.

Studies suggest that it takes pilots anywhere between eight to ten years to recover the funds they spend on their education, training, and certification, once they start working.
Female airline pilot doing preflight

 

Some pilot schools offer programs that take you through every step of the certification and training program.

These schools typically cost anywhere between $70,000 to $80,000. Most of these schools provide you with 250-hours of flight time toward your 1,500-hour goal.

However, by this stage, you’ll be able to operate as a qualified flight instructor. You’ll be able to earn an income while gaining experience, and building hours.

At Thrust Flight we offer a Zero Time to Airline program that gives you a direct path to one of our airline partners.

By jumping in with both feet and training full time you’ll progress quickly through your ratings and the hours you need to be airline ready.

With our program you’ll be able to start your first job at the airlines only two years from the day you begin your journey.

What It’s Like to Be an Airline Pilot

A day in the life of an average airline pilot at a regional airline looks a bit like this:

  1. Show up to flight operations at least an hour before the flight
  2. Meet with the flight crew and begin preflight operations
  3. In preflight you review the planned route and alternate routes prepared by the dispatcher. Also review weather along the route and make any necessary changes.
  4. Then head to the plane and review the airplanes log books.
  5. The first officer will normally preflight the plane and load the route into the flight management computer while the captain conducts a briefing with the crew.
  6. Captain and First Officer will again review the flight plan and everything in the flight management computer. Once that’s complete and passengers are all on board they call for pushback.
  7. Throughout the flight monitor weather along the route and make any necessary adjustments.
  8.  Prepare for arrival by reviewing arrival routing and approach. Review any local rules (landing in other countries) and then land the plane.
  9. If it’s a short route the crew may prepare for the flight back or, for longer flights, they’ll head to their hotel to get some rest.

If you want more details read about a day in the life of an international airline pilot.

Two airline pilots training

 

While the life of a commercial airline pilot will mean a significant amount of time away from home, you can still expect to get a reasonable amount of downtime each month.

When you reach a senior position with your company, you can expect plenty of flexibility with your schedule. However, as a brand new pilot, you’ll have to put in the hours to progress up the ranks. And you can expect to have to work some weekends and public holidays.

One of the best advantages of working as an airline pilot is traveling to new cities and countries. You get to broaden your world-view and experience the culture and people of new cities and countries.

As an airline pilot, you’ll get to feed your natural wanderlust and spend plenty of time exploring the nightlife and tourist attractions of the locations after touching down.

Regional Airlines Vs. Major Airlines

If your goal is to reach the major airlines, you’ll have to make a stop at the regional airlines first.

Regional airlines typically fly routes between smaller cities that the major airlines don’t service. And they generally fly smaller aircraft. Many regional airlines partner with a major airline. They’ll be painted just as the major airline and customers often don’t even know they’re flying on a regional airline.

As a pilot for a regional airline you’d work for the regional even if you’re flying as a partner for a major.

You’ll become a regional airline pilot first because they have lower hour minimums. After flying for a regional ailrine for a few years many pilots make the jump to the major airlines.

If you’re looking to make money and fly around the world, then working for a major airline is your goal. Regional airlines pay pilots less, but you get more flexibility in your schedule and more downtime.

It’s a personal decision. If you’re willing to put in the hours and don’t have an issue with flying into new time zones where you may experience jet-lag, then a major is your top choice. If you have a family and want to spend more time at home, then consider working for a regional company.

Becoming a Pilot through the Military

The skills developed in the military make it a smooth transition into the commercial pilot industry. Here’s what you need to know about how to become an airline pilot after leaving the military.

Do Military Personnel Need to Go to Flight School?

If you have experience flying planes and helicopters with the military, then you probably can skip the flight school training.

However, many airlines recommend that you still attend a flight school to gain experience flying different types of aircraft. You can also use your flight-time logged with the military to count toward your 1,5000-hours.

Obtaining Your Commercial Pilot’s License

Military pilots already have some form of pilot’s license. However, you’ll need to achieve your commercial license for the FAA before you can work for the airlines.

You’ll need to pass an exam at an FAA testing center, with questions surrounding the different types of aircraft, how to handle specific situations in the air and on the ground, as well as general knowledge on the industry and operations. Instructors will take you into the air to allow you to prove your skillset and knowledge.

Airplane on the tarmac waiting to takeoff
What is the Difference Between Being a Commercial Pilot and an Airline Pilot?

A pilot must receive a commercial certificate in order to be paid to fly. To receive your commercial certificate you must have at least 250 hours of flight time. An airline pilot is a type of commercial pilot but one with stricter requirements.

As you may have noticed in the outline above, most pilots achieve their commercial certificate fairly early in their career. Once you achieve a commercial certificate you can officially be hired to fly an airplane.

Prior to that you cannot be paid to fly.

Once you obtain a commercial certificate you can start looking for a job as a pilot. Unfortunately, most pilots still only have a few hundred hours by the time they obtain a commercial certificate so they’ll start working as a flight instructor. Other common jobs for lower hour pilots is airplane tours, traffic flying, and occasionally oil pipeline flying.

The more hours you build, the more job opportunities you’ll discover. Many commercial pilots will go their entire career without ever working as an airline pilot.

Wrapping Up – The Rewards Are Worth the Effort

If you dream of becoming an airline pilot, now you have the knowledge you need to start your journey. Put in the time and effort, and you’ll soon be taking to the skies as a qualified pilot.

If you’re ready to pursue a career as an airline pilot check out our Zero Time to Airline program. With this unique program you’ll start your job at the airlines in two short years.

We’ll take you through all of the required certificates and help you build up your 1,500 hours of flight time.  Click the link above or give us a call to learn more about this incredible program. 469.480.2211

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A pilot must receive a commercial certificate in order to be paid to fly. To receive your commercial certificate you must have at least 250 hours of flight time. An airline pilot is a type of commercial pilot but one with stricter requirements.

As you may have noticed in the outline above, most pilots achieve their commercial certificate fairly early in their career. Once you achieve a commercial certificate you can officially be hired to fly an airplane.

Prior to that you cannot be paid to fly.

Once you obtain a commercial certificate you can start looking for a job as a pilot. Unfortunately, most pilots still only have a few hundred hours by the time they obtain a commercial certificate so they’ll start working as a flight instructor. Other common jobs for lower hour pilots is airplane tours, traffic flying, and occasionally oil pipeline flying.

The more hours you build, the more job opportunities you’ll discover. Many commercial pilots will go their entire career without ever working as an airline pilot.