Pilot Opportunities for Advancement

Pilots are responsible for guiding and ensuring safety on aircraft. They may wish to consider other flight positions or scientific positions working with aircraft.

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Career Growth Opportunities for Pilots

Pilots have an important job navigating and ensuring safety on commercial airlines. They are required to possess a bachelor's degree and a pilot's license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The work expectations for pilots can be stressful, and the job can be carried out during non-standard working hours. Some pilots may wish to consider other positions directly related to flying, such as piloting a corporate jet or teaching others to fly, or they may wish to consider a position more closely related to the scientific side of flight as an aerospace engineer.

Job Title Median Salary Job Growth (2016-2026)* Education
Aircraft Pilot, Corporate Jet $92,513 (2018)** 4%(airline and commercial pilots) Flight licenses and certifications
Flight instructor $69,356 (2018)** 4%(airline and commercial pilots) Commercial aviation license
Aerospace Engineer $113,030 (2017)* 6% Bachelor's degree

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), **PayScale.com

Career Information

Corporate Jet Airline Pilots

Airline pilots enjoy flying and operating their aircraft. Pilots who are looking to continue to build their experience with flight but have more regular hours and passengers may consider moving to a carer as a pilot for a corporate jet. Pilots for corporate jets work for multinational firms or for contract agencies. They fly executives in corporations to business meetings and conferences. Corporate jet pilots must be responsible for filing and updating flight plans for the plane. They are also responsible for the safety of the jet and of the passengers. Extensive flight experience and all appropriate flight certifications are required to undertake work as a corporate jet pilot.

Flight Instructor

Airline pilots have extensive experience in flying and controlling aircraft. Teaching this skill to others might be a next step for pilots who no longer wish to be traveling each day. Flight instructors typically begin by teaching students on the ground, to help them understand safety rules and regulations. They then begin flying instruction in the air, working students through a series of exercises designed to help them become comfortable with the operation of the aircraft. Depending on the experience level of the student, flight instructors may then help guide them through the education necessary to fly various types of aircraft. Documentation of all instruction will be required. Flight instructors typically work at flight schools and maintain normal daytime hours. A commercial aviation license is required.

Aeronautical Engineer

Many pilots become highly interested in the technology behind the aircraft they pilot. As such, they may wish to seek further education to become aeronautical engineers. Aeronautical engineers work to design and make aircraft. They evaluate potential designs based on their knowledge of engineering principles to ensure that safety standards will be adhered to. They also study damaged pieces to determine why these pieces malfunctioned. To become an aeronautical engineer, a bachelor's degree in a program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) is required. A master's degree is recommended to advance in the field.

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