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Career Options For Commercial Pilots

While many enjoy flying as a hobby, others are interesting in making their favorite pastime into their full-time job. Becoming a commercial pilot is a highly rewarding and is a great way to make a living. Often, amateur pilots dream of completing an integrated training program and landing a job as a first officer for a commercial airline – transporting passengers around the world safely. But while this conventional career path might seem ideal for many pilots, there are a huge variety of other jobs and careers you can get in the aviation industry once you have completed the necessary training.


Here are seven career options for commercial pilots – keep reading to uncover the perfect job for you!   


Airline Pilot

Of course the first on our list is the most popular – a commercial airline pilot. Many pilots dream of taking the helm of a Boeing 747, flying internationally and working with other highly skilled aviators. There are several ways to become an airline pilot, and no path is technically “normal”, but ultimately, you’ll need to obtain either an ATPL (airline transport pilot license) or an MPL (multi-crew pilot License). You will start off as a first officer, or co-pilot. If you want to move up from there to larger cargo or passenger airlines, you will generally need to gain experience as a captain in a turbojet-powered aircraft, usually around 1,500-2,000 hours as a captain, or about two to four years of additional experience. For some pilots, working for a good regional airline might be ideal, which can be quite fulfilling. While the competition can be fierce for these highly desired positions, those who make it can fulfill their dream of flying for a major airline as one of the top in their class.


Corporate Pilot

If you favor smaller jets rather than the big passenger planes, a corporate pilot career may be the right choice for you. Unlike airline pilots, corporate pilot jobs are generally less stressful, offering quicker turnaround on trips. Corporate pilots transport their clients to and from business meetings, and generally stay to wait for clients before flying back home or onward to another destination. As exceptional pilots and service providers, corporate pilots get to experience flying in a different way than most, visiting new, exotic destinations – as they say, being a corporate pilot is a lifestyle as much as it is a profession. Corporate pilots are much more involved in developing flight plans, and also play a key role in customer service.

U.S. Forest Service

If you’re looking for something more thrilling than an airline or corporate pilot, the U.S. Forest Service employs aerial firefighters. With this career, you can help fight wildfires and fly planes at the same time. As the largest federal contractor of aerial firefighting services, the U.S. Forest Service hires many pilots that assist with emergency/disaster relief efforts. Not only is it a noble and exciting career path, it pays well – according to Flying Magazine, the average annual salary range for a Forest Service Pilot is $73,600 to $113,800.


Freight Pilot

For the pilot that doesn’t want to deal with passengers, a freight career is for you. Flying freight on international routes can be a rewarding and exciting career path for a commercial pilot. In this job, you’ll could fly anything from a single-piston Cessna to an Airbus A300. As in other commercial pilot career paths, you’ll start off in smaller aircraft and work your way up. Becoming a freight pilot works similarly to the airlines; you’ll start by flying regional feeder routes to gain experience before you command larger, more advanced aircraft and extensive flight plans. In this job, you’ll fly solo a lot, which can be challenging but rewarding. While you will certainly have a co-pilot for large operations, you’ll be able to hone your problem-solving skills and learn how to rely on instinct.


Certified Flight Instructor

As a flight instructor, you’ll get to teach students how to fly planes. It’s truly one of the most rewarding career paths in the aviation industry. It can also be a great way to increase your flying hours, gain experience and become a better pilot. By providing personalized, hands-on education to students, you’ll become a master at theoretical concepts, flying maneuvers, instrument control and more. Pilots with teaching experience are also highly attractive candidates on the job market when airlines start recruiting. Since they have more Pilot in Command time and flying experience, they have a jump start on becoming a pilot and often can do so in a shorter amount of time.


Commercial Pilot Career Paths: In Conclusion

Now that you have these ideas on commercial pilot career paths, the next steps are to obtain the right type of pilot license in order to pursue the one that is  calling to you. A pilot training company can help you determine the education and training you need to achieve the right license that will help you begin your new, exciting career, and get paid to fly!


Ready to Get Started with Your Pilot Career? Get in touch with Inflight Pilot Training today!


Inflight is a leading pilot training company serving Minneapolis/St. Paul and the surrounding areas. With a reputable training program and deep roster of highly skilled, certified flight instructors, the organization’s goal is to help those who’ve dreamed of flying realize their potential of becoming a commercial pilot. We can help you pursue a career that you love – get in touch with our team of flight instructors to find out more.


For additional information on Inflight training programs, contact us today or call (952) 698-3000.