Commercial Pilots: Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Stan T.Career, Overview

Job description

Commercial Pilots pilot and navigate the flight of fixed-winged aircraft on nonscheduled air carrier routes, or helicopters. Requires Commercial Pilot certificate. Includes charter pilots with similar certification, and air ambulance and air tour pilots.

  • Use instrumentation to pilot aircraft when visibility is poor.
  • Start engines, operate controls, and pilot airplanes to transport passengers, mail, or freight according to flight plans, regulations, and procedures.
  • Monitor engine operation, fuel consumption, and functioning of aircraft systems during flights.
  • Check aircraft prior to flights to ensure that the engines, controls, instruments, and other systems are functioning properly.
Read more about what does a Commercial Pilot really do at work and what is it like being and working as one.

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Average salary
$96530 per year

Commercial Pilots with little to no experience tend to make between $44660 and $61950 while the more experienced ones can earn over $115280 per year.

Top 5 paying states Hourly Annual
GA $- $130,760
CT $- $127,950
NY $- $127,590
FL $- $110,540
MD $- $110,240

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as a Commercial Pilot is to move to a higher paying state like GA. Right now, the highest paying states for Commercial Pilots are GA, CT, NY, FL and MD.

However, a higher pay at GA doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at GA might be twice as high than where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as a Commercial Pilot is the degree you hold, the industry you work in, and lastly the company you work for.


Recommended degree level
Bachelor’s degree

We asked other Commercial Pilots what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a Bachelor’s Degree followed by a Post-Secondary Certificate.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Airline/Commercial/Professional Pilot and Flight Crew
Flight Instructor
Read more about how to become a Commercial Pilot and the degree, training and education you need.

Pros and Cons

Here are some of the pros and cons of being a Commercial Pilot.

Suitable for people who likes practical and hands-on work
Suitable for people who wants to work in a supportive work environment
This career is perfect for people who love to work outdoors.
It is not too difficult to get into this career. Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.
Demand for this career is growing fast
Not suitable for people who likes to work with designs
Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week)

What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Is this job meaningful

77% of Commercial Pilots said they were satisfied with their job and 65% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.

Is this right for me

Best personality for this career
The Builders and The Thinkers

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery..

They also like working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Learn more about Commercial Pilots

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