Commercial pilot salary

Commercial pilot’s salary is around $80,000 in the United States. Commercial pilot flies and navigates airplanes that are not part of the airline industry. They are often employed as pilots for air tours, cargo flights, ambulatory life-flight service, or agriculture planes. Some also work as flight instructors. They earn less than airline pilots with an average salary of $76,050 as of 2011. This is significantly lower than the $118,070 average annual pay for airline pilots. All kinds of pilots though have the advantage of seeing the world, an opportunity that not everybody has access to. It is a reward they deserve after spending a lot of time in flight school training and long hours of instructor-monitored flight practice before they are allowed to fly by themselves. It is only later when they are trusted to fly with passengers. Advancements are easy to come by though and after five years, pilots often exceed six figures. Keep reading for more information about commercial pilot salary and career requirements.

Commercial pilot job description

There are preflight duties of a commercial pilot. His first responsibility is to monitor the weather throughout his flight path and make sure that flight schedules are correct. It is also the pilot’s duty to make a preflight checklist to examine the engines, fuel, electronics, and hydraulics. Pilot should oversee that the cargo is loaded and properly placed all throughout the aircraft. Communication with the control tower before takeoff is also a must.

During the flight, the commercial pilot should carefully conduct the takeoff and landing of the plane to safely get everyone from the point of origin to the place of destination. Even commercial pilots for small aircrafts need copilots to help with navigation and monitoring everything while airborne. Again, contact with control tower is necessary before landing to obtain permission and the necessary instructions.

How much does a commercial pilot make?

Average commercial pilot salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for commercial pilot is $80,140 as of May 2012.

Commercial pilot salary in the USA

Based on PayScale surveys, a commercial pilot’s salary is between $29,963 and $139,875. Their median pay is around $64,683.

Starting pilots make around $45,600 to $100,000. Those with five to nine years of experience earn up to $156,594. Veteran pilots with over 20 years in this line of work take home around $44,250 to $227,000 per year.

According to the BLS, the highest level of commercial pilot employment is in the nonscheduled air transportation industry, which pays them around $82,180. This is followed by the technical and trade schools industry that gives an average commercial pilot’s salary of $70,770.

The top paying industries for commercial pilots included the residential building construction industry, which pays them $134,660 per year. The wired telecommunications carriers industry ranked second with a salary of $108,190. The aerospace product and parts manufacturing followed next at $102,340. The management, scientific, and technical consulting services and the employment services rounded up the list with an average commercial pilot’s salary of $101,820 and $101,420, respectively.

commercial pilot salary in Canada, UK and USA

commercial pilot salary

Commercial pilot salary by state / city in the USA

Among the states in the US, Georgia has the highest commercial pilot’s salary with an average of $105,030. Minnesota followed suit at around $101,210. Massachusetts ranked third with an average commercial pilot salary of $100,920. There is only a $10 difference between the fourth highest paying state, New Jersey, and the fifth, Connecticut with their average annual pay of $100,350 and $100,340, respectively.

In the metropolitan areas, the highest commercial pilot’s salary is in the Salinas, CA area of around $165,070. The New York-White Plains-Wayne, NY-NJ area ranked second with an average salary of $118,760 for their pilots with the Gary, IN ranking third for paying their pilots around $116,770. The West Palm Beach-Boca Raton-Boynton Beach, FL and the Jackson, MS areas ranked fourth and fifth with their commercial pilot’s salary of $112,100 and $111,430, respectively.

UPS pilot salary

The average commercial pilot’s salary for UPS pilot is around $182,000. In 2011, PayScale reported that the salary ranges from $31,987 to $211,490.

FedEx pilot salary

A FedEx commercial pilot’s salary averages around 194,000, which is higher than that of a UPS pilot. It ranged from $85,128 to $393,851, based on PayScale’s salary data from 2011.

Commercial pilot salary in Canada

A commercial pilot’s salary for those working in Canada is between C$24,151 and C$79,463, based on PayScale’s reports. Their median salary is shown to be around C$33,100. The starting salary is around C$28,496 to C$38,660.

A commercial jet pilot earns between C$41,500 and C$99,497, with a median salary of C$60,000.

Commercial pilot salary in Australia

The average commercial pilot’s salary in Australia ranges from AU$38,371 to AU$146,810, with the median pay being AU$68,025. They may have a bonus reaching up to AU$10,391 and a basic annual pay between AU$37,911 and AU$141,914.

Commercial pilot working in Queensland earns more with a yearly pay of AU$36,766 to AU$146,807. Those who are employed in New South Wales make a bit lower with an average commercial pilot salary of AU$110,000 to AU$144,828. Pilot in Western Australia takes home between AU$40,695 and AU$100,841, while those in Victoria earn around AU$65,000 to AU$81,648.

Commercial pilot salary in the UK

The median pay for commercial pilot in the UK is around £41,887. Their basic salary ranges from £19,392 to £82,174, but with a bonus of £250.50 to £15,000, the total salary ends up being £19,574 to £97,343.

Commercial pilot salary in South Africa

According to PayScale, the commercial pilot’s salary for those working in South Africa is between R101,367 and R1,147,208. This line of work has a median pay of around R416,000.

Commercial pilots who are just starting earn between R82,851 and R506,837. However, this increases to a minimum salary of R240,000 and a maximum pay of R990,000 for pilots with five to nine years of experience.

Depending on where they are working, the commercial pilot salary for those based in Johannesburg ranges from R97,313 to R1,420,309. Pilots in Cape Town earn a bit less at around R186,000 to R708,000.

Commercial pilot salary in India

Commercial pilots working in India make around Rs210,000 to Rs8,400,000 with a median pay of Rs1,184,000. Bonuses may reach up to Rs150,000. Starting pilots take home around Rs240,000 to Rs2,358,324.

Commercial pilot salary in New Zealand

The typical salary for experienced pilots in New Zealand is between NZ$40,000 and NZ$300,000. Entry-level and charter pilots often work part time and thus paid per hour. Agricultural pilots make around NZ$50,000 to NZ$70,000 per year. However, a few of them may earn as much as NZ$150,000.

Pilots with domestic routes and working as first officers often earn around NZ$80,000 when flying a jet aircraft or around NZ$50,000 when manning turboprops. They can make more as a captain with an average commercial pilot’s salary of NZ$110,000.

First officers with international routes earn around NZ$80,000, possibly increasing to NZ$92,000 once they qualify. Captains make as much as NZ$300,000.

How to become a commercial pilot

To become a commercial pilot, one has to take a flight training program or degree from a respected aviation school or community college. This is where the basics of aerodynamics, cockpit management, navigation methods, and emerge flight procedures are taught. These training programs can also provide plenty of flight practice to pass the Federal Aviation Administration’s licensure exam.

A commercial pilot license will only be obtained after complying with the requirements set by the International Civil Aviation Organization. Licensed pilots will then have the authority to fly a small aircraft or to serve as co-pilots to bigger planes. They are also authorized to fly helicopters, airplanes, airships, and balloons.

Conclusion about commercial pilot salary

The BLS reported the average commercial pilot salary is $80,140. The highest earners make around $134,990, while the lowest earners take home $38,520 or less.

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