The aviation industry is a highly specialized field that requires skilled professionals to operate and maintain aircraft safely. One of the most important roles in this industry is that of a pilot. Pilots are responsible for flying aircraft and ensuring the safety of passengers and crew on board. If you’re considering a career as a pilot in the USA, one of the key factors you may be interested in this career is what is the pilot salary in the US. But before that…
Do you know?
According to Payscale, the average salary for a pilot in the USA as of 2022 is $87,963 per year.
However, it’s important to note that this figure can vary significantly based on various factors, such as the type of aircraft flown and the level of experience. The salary of a pilot in the USA can vary widely based on several factors, such as the type of aircraft flown, the level of experience, and the employer. In addition to commercial airline pilots, there are also other types of pilots in the USA, such as corporate pilots, helicopter pilots, and military pilots. The salary for these types of pilots can also vary widely based on factors such as experience, location, and employer.
If you’re considering a career as a pilot in the USA, it’s important to understand the salary ranges and factors that can impact your earning potential. This blog post will provide you with a comprehensive overview of pilot salaries in the USA, as well as other information. Let’s dig in further to know more…
But before that, why don’t you have a look at…
Steps to Become a Pilot in the US
If you’re interested in studying in the USA or wanted to study a pilot course in the USA, there are several steps you’ll need to take to achieve your goal. Here are the typical steps to becoming a pilot in the US:
- Determine your eligibility: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) sets the requirements for becoming a pilot in the USA. You’ll need to be at least 17 years old to get a private pilot’s license and 18 years old to get a commercial pilot’s license. You’ll also need to pass a medical exam and be able to read, speak, and understand English.
- Get a student pilot certificate: To start your flight training, you’ll need to obtain a student pilot certificate from the FAA. This requires passing a medical exam and a knowledge test.
- Get flight training: You’ll need to complete a minimum of 40 hours of flight training, including both solo and instructor-led flights. You can choose to train at a flight school or with an independent instructor.
- Obtain a private pilot’s license: Once you’ve completed your flight training, you’ll need to pass a practical exam to obtain your private pilot’s license. This allows you to fly for recreation and not for compensation.
- Build flight experience: To become a commercial pilot, you’ll need to have at least 250 hours of flight time as a pilot. You can build this experience by flying on your own or with an instructor, or by getting a job as a pilot.
- Get a commercial pilot’s license: Once you have the required flight experience, you can take the practical exam to obtain your commercial pilot’s license. This allows you to fly for compensation.
- Build additional flight experience: Depending on your career goals, you may need to build additional flight experience and obtain additional certifications, such as an airline transport pilot (ATP) certificate.
Cost of pilot training in the USA
In this section, we will provide you with an overview of pilot training fees in the USA for Indian students.
Pilot training in the USA is a popular choice among Indian students who aspire to become pilots. The country has a well-established aviation industry, advanced infrastructure, and world-class flight training schools, which make it an attractive destination for pilot training. However, the cost of pilot training in the USA can be quite high, especially for international students.
The cost of pilot training in the USA depends on various factors, such as the type of license, the flight school, the location, and the training equipment. Generally, there are three types of pilot licenses in the USA: Private Pilot License (PPL), Commercial Pilot License (CPL), and Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL).
Private Pilot License (PPL)
The cost of obtaining a Private Pilot License (PPL) in the USA can range from $8,000 to $15,000. This includes the cost of flight training, ground school, books, and exams. The duration of PPL training can vary from 6 to 12 months, depending on the student’s pace and availability.
Commercial Pilot License (CPL)
The cost of obtaining a Commercial Pilot License (CPL) in the USA can range from $40,000 to $80,000. This includes the cost of flight training, ground school, books, exams, and other fees such as medical and license application fees. The duration of CPL training can vary from 12 to 18 months, depending on the student’s pace and availability.
Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL)
The cost of obtaining an Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) in the USA can range from $80,000 to $150,000. This includes the cost of flight training, ground school, books, exams, and other fees such as medical and license application fees. The duration of ATPL training can vary from 18 to 24 months, depending on the student’s pace and availability.
Apart from the above-mentioned costs, international students also need to consider other expenses such as accommodation, food, transportation, and visa fees. The cost of living in the USA varies from city to city, and students should research the living expenses of their preferred location before making any decisions.
Average Salary of Pilot in the US
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average pilot salary in the United States as of May 2022 was $154,330 per year. However, this figure can vary depending on several factors such as the type of aircraft being flown, the level of experience of the pilot, and the region in which they are based.
Commercial airline pilots typically earn the highest salaries, with the median annual wage for airline pilots, co-pilots, and flight engineers at $174,690 as of May 2022. However, this figure can vary depending on the size and type of the airline, with major carriers generally paying more than smaller, regional airlines.
Other factors that can affect pilot salaries include the type of aircraft being flown. Pilots who fly larger, more complex aircraft such as commercial airliners or cargo planes generally earn more than those who fly smaller planes or helicopters. In addition, pilots with more experience typically earn higher salaries, as do those who hold advanced certifications and ratings.
Comparison of pilot salary in the USA vs Globally
Here is the table showing a comparison of the salary of pilots in the USA vs other countries-
|Region||Average Pilot Salary|
|USA||$154,330 per year|
|Canada||CAD 95,000 per year|
|UK||£78,000 per year|
|Australia||AUD 124,000 per year|
|New Zealand||NZD 121,000 per year|
|Germany||€110,000 per year|
|France||€97,000 per year|
|UAE||AED 420,000 per year|
|China||CNY 427,000 per year|
|Japan||JPY 11,900,000 per year|
Note: These figures are approximate and may vary depending on factors such as level of experience, type of aircraft, and company size. They are based on data from various sources and may not be current or applicable to all pilots in each region.
High salary roles for pilots in the US
A pilot’s career path revolves around the first officer (second in command) and captain. As you advance in seniority, you progress from first officer to captain and from regional airlines to major airlines. The size of the payment largely depends on the seniority and the airline you work for.
According to statistics, the national average salary for the highest-paying pilot roles is as follows:
|Role||Description & Average Salary|
|Airline Pilot||Flies commercial airplanes to transport passengers or cargo. Requires an ATP certificate and thousands of hours of flight experience. Average Salary – $174,690 per year (BLS, May 2022)|
|Corporate Pilot||Flies private airplanes for businesses or individuals. Requires an ATP certificate or commercial pilot’s license and significant flight experience. Average Salary – $101,649 per year (Salary.com, March 2022)|
|Air Ambulance Pilot||Flies airplanes or helicopters to transport patients to hospitals. Requires a commercial pilot’s license and significant flight experience. Average Salary – $75,000 – $100,000 per year (Payscale.com, March 2022)|
|Agricultural Pilot||Flies airplanes or helicopters to spray crops with pesticides or fertilizers. Requires a commercial pilot’s license and specialized training. Average Salary – $50,000 – $70,000 per year (Payscale.com, March 2022)|
|Flight Instructor||Teaches flying to students to help them earn their pilot’s license. Requires a commercial pilot’s license and teaching certification. Average Salary – $45,000 – $80,000 per year (Payscale.com, March 2022)|
|Test Pilot||Flies airplanes or helicopters to test new aircraft designs or modifications. Requires an ATP certificate and significant flight experience. Average Salary – $85,000 – $130,000 per year (Payscale.com, March 2022)|
Bonus tip – How to maximize pilot salary in the US?
There are several ways that pilots in the United States can work to maximize their salaries:
- Gain Experience: Pilots with more experience generally earn higher salaries. To gain experience, pilots can work for regional airlines or smaller charter companies, and then move up to larger airlines or more advanced aircraft as they gain more hours.
- Pursue Advanced Certifications and Ratings: Pilots who hold advanced certifications and ratings, such as an Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate or a type rating for a specific aircraft, may be more in demand and able to command higher salaries.
- Specialize in a High-Demand Area: Pilots who specialize in high-demand areas such as corporate aviation, air ambulance, or aerial firefighting may be able to earn higher salaries due to the specialized nature of the work.
- Work for a Major Airline: Major airlines generally pay higher salaries than smaller regional airlines. Pilots can work to build their resumes and gain experience to qualify for a position with a major airline.
- Negotiate Salary and Benefits: When applying for a new position or negotiating a contract, pilots can work to negotiate a higher salary or better benefits package. This may involve doing research on average salaries for the position and using that information to make a case for a higher salary.
- Pursue Additional Opportunities: Pilots can pursue additional opportunities such as teaching flying or conducting flight tests. These opportunities may pay additional income on top of their regular pilot salary.
Becoming a pilot is a task that takes a lot of time and effort, but that investment pays off in the end. Because the US is the land of opportunity, you can land a job with some of the best airlines in the world and enjoy an adventure with a salary that justifies your responsibility and provides you with a rewarding career.
Nevertheless, do you need some handholding to get you through this? How about a discussion with our expert career counsellors to study abroad with decades of experience concerning education in this field?
Talk to our study abroad experts who have 20+ years of experience to know yourself in and out! We have helped several brilliant but confused minds intending to select their most-suited career choices. Hear the success story of Aayush who got an offer from the top 3 universities and is now studying at a University in Ottawa in Canada after getting career guidance from our industry experts!
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The highest-paid airline pilot in the USA in 2022 was a captain for Delta Air Lines, who earned an average annual salary of $250,000, according to data from airline industry sources. However, pilot salaries can vary widely depending on factors such as seniority, experience, and type of aircraft flown. It’s also worth noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the airline industry and may have affected pilot salaries.
Pilots can earn a good income in the USA, with the highest-paid pilots earning six-figure salaries. However, as with any profession, salaries can vary depending on a variety of factors.
Commercial airline pilots in the USA can earn an average annual salary of around $150,000, but this can vary depending on the airline, seniority, and type of aircraft flown.
Regional airline pilots in the USA typically earn less than their counterparts at major airlines, with an average annual salary of around $50,000 to $80,000. However, this can vary depending on factors such as seniority and the type of aircraft flown.
Yes, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the airline industry and may have affected pilot salaries. Many airlines have implemented pay cuts or furloughs as a result of the pandemic, and the long-term effects on the industry remain uncertain.
Anushree has 4+ years of experience in the career counseling industry as a Content Writer. She has also worked as a Social Media Marketing Expert for a startup and Content Quality Analyst for Publishing and E-learning Industry. She has done her Master’s in Commerce and PGDM in Finance & Trade and Marketing & HR, but she is currently following her passion for writing.