Commercial Pilot Jobs

Commercial Pilot Job Description

Commercial pilots fly aircraft for rescue operations, firefighting, charter flights, crop dusting, and other reasons. They are different from airline pilots, who transport passengers and cargo.

The exact responsibilities for commercial pilot jobs vary depending on the position, but normally include:

  • Checking the aircraft prior to takeoff.
  • Contacting control towers for takeoff clearance.
  • Monitoring engine operation.
  • Coordinating flight activities with the ground crew.
  • Maintaining flight time and altitude records.

Work Environment and Schedule

The majority of commercial pilots work for private businesses, hospitals, charter companies, and private businesses.

The act of flying doesn’t normally require a lot of physical effort, but it can be a mentally demanding occupation. Paying close attention to details during long flights can be emotionally draining, and flying during poor weather conditions is sometimes very stressful.

Work schedules for commercial pilots vary. They can fly anywhere between 30 and 90 hours a month, but have many other responsibilities on the ground that demand most of their time. Scheduling flights, loading luggage, and maintaining the aircraft are a few examples of tasks that these pilots may have to perform.

Unlike airline pilots, commercial pilots are normally able to spend most of their time near home. However, odd hours are often required, especially for those who work in the chartering or emergency services businesses.

How to Become a Commercial Pilot

Historically, most commercial pilots learned to fly in the military. However, it’s becoming more common for people to learn to fly by attending flight school. The FAA certifies many flight schools, and some colleges even offer certified training as part of their aviation programs.

If you’re thinking of attending a flight school, make sure it’s certified by the FAA. If it isn’t, you may find that you will need to start all over to pursue a career in this occupation.

A commercial pilot’s license is required to fly a commercial aircraft. To qualify, you must be at least 18 years old, have good vision, be in good physical health, and have a minimum of 250 hours of flight experience.

In addition to the the commercial pilot’s license, you will also need to earn an instrument rating. This rating demonstrates that a pilot can fly in conditions that cause low visibility.

More and more airlines are requiring a bachelor’s degree for their commercial pilot positions. Math and physics are popular degrees, but commercial pilots come from all sorts of academic backgrounds.

Employment Outlook

There are currently 32,700 commercial pilots in the United States, with 1,930 new commercial pilot job openings created each year.

Commercial Pilot jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.

Commercial Pilot Salaries

Overall Salaries

Commercial Pilot salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most commercial pilots make between $50,800 – $92,300 per year, or Not Available per hour.

Updated: 05/04/2017

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