New data reveals that a young American pilot starting out in today’s market can potentially earn $7 million over the next 44 years, assuming they make the right career moves along the way. Coast Flight projects that a 21-year-old aviator starting out as a flight instructor, following the school’s Airline Career Training (ACT) program, may be able to earn $7 million by the time they’re 65, assuming they follow the suggested path to a position as Captain for a major airline. Of course, salaries for airline pilots can vary widely based on factors such as experience, schooling, and the airline they are working for. When you look at the facts, though, there’s no denying that career aviators stand to earn a great deal of money in a job they love if they can go the distance. In the following post, we explain more about how pilots are paid, and how to get the most out of this rewarding career.
Encouraging Projections from Delta and SkyWest
Coast Flight’s Airline Career Training program is unique because it provides conditional job placement at SkyWest Airlines for the elite student pilots accepted into its ranks. According to PilotJobs.com, a First Officer at SkyWest Airlines may earn approximately $28,400 their first year, but by their fifth year they could be earning as much as $48,880. And if they are promoted to Captain in their sixth year, they could see this salary increase to as much as $81,520, which will continue increasing exponentially as their career advances. Moving on to a major airline such as Delta is recommended, though. Starting pay for a Delta Airlines 737-800 Pilot is $66,000. Upon promotion to Captain, though, Delta pilots earn a starting pay of $189,000. The top pay for a Delta Airlines Captain is approximately $205,000, but those flying a Boeing 777 can potentially earn $298,500 per year plus bonuses, or as much as $350,000 in one year.
Going the Distance Pays Off
These figures may seem confusing, and if you’ve tried to do your own research on aviation salaries, you may be even more confused, as starting and ending pay for airline pilots varies so much. Each company pays its pilots differently, and since pilots are paid hourly the salary depends on how many hours one works in a year. There are wide variances between the pay for regional airline pilots and the pay for major airline pilots as well. According to figures from The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for airline pilots is $114,200, but starting pay for a regional airline First Officer could be as little as $28,000, while ending pay for a major airline Captain could be several hundred thousand per year. What this shows, however, is that going the distance pays off in the field of commercial aviation. Airline pilots have the potential to earn some of the top salaries in today’s job market, but it takes a few years to get there.
A Suggested Path for Career Pilots
Coast Flight’s ACT program is designed to give graduates a clear path to a career as an airline pilot, with job placement at regional SkyWest Airlines following the completion of their training in school and job experience as a flight instructor. After two years in flight instruction, pilots are ready to begin their placement as a First Officer for SkyWest Airlines. Three years later, the same pilot should be qualified to move up to a position of Captain for SkyWest. Ultimately, however, a pilot must take their years of experience at a regional airline to a position at a major airline to make the most out of this career. So, pilots are encouraged to move on to a position of First Officer for Coast’s partners at Delta Airlines by the end of their first decade in the field, which could potentially translate to a position as a Delta Airlines Captain some eight or so years later.
It all depends on the skill, discipline, hard work, and tenacity of the pilot, of course. But assuming that you have what it takes, you could start out making less than $30,000 a year as a flight instructor and end up making well over $200,000 a year by the time you retire from a major airline.
The aviation industry appears to be entering a golden age for new pilots as we continue into the New Year. The generous compensation and retention programs of airlines such as Endeavor Air, a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines that flies as Delta Connection, are evidence of this positive trend. The airline recently announced that it is beginning an $80,000 Pilot Retention Payment program to attract the best and brightest to its cockpits. With pilots earning more of the compensation, downtime and respect they deserve, it is an excellent time to enter this critical and esteemed profession – if you have what it takes.
Endeavor’s Plan to Hire and Retain the Best
Endeavor Air, which describes itself as evoking “an image of innovation, excitement and the adventure of a journey,” will now provide pilots hired between 2015 and 2018 the opportunity to earn $20,000 in retention payments per year for the first four years of employment – that’s up to $80,000 just in bonus compensation! This generous opportunity comes in addition to the company’s competitive compensation package. Endeavor Air states that new pilots will earn $44,000 in their first year thanks to this new bonus, and their earnings will go up each year with a fourth year salary totaling over $80,000. If you’re looking for even more incentive, Endeavor pilots are also given up to 15 days off every month to relax or earn additional income, and have the opportunity to take as many as 35 days of vacation throughout the year. New hires aren’t the only ones with an opportunity to earn additional compensation at the airline, though. All current Endeavor pilots will have an opportunity to earn $2,000 for each new pilot they refer who successfully finishes the airline’s training program and joins the team.
What This Means for Prospective Student Pilots
Completing a flight training program, such as Coast Flight’s Airline Career Training (ACT) program, puts new pilots in an excellent position. There’s no denying that the airline industry is facing a shortage of pilots, and airlines like Endeavor are clearly in need of skilled new aviators to join their ranks. This pioneering retention program may be the most generous in the nation for regional pilots, but it isn’t the only one of its kind being offered at the moment. Other regional airlines such as Envoy Air, GoJet Airlines and Silver Airways have also announced signing bonuses ranging from $5,000 to $12,000 for new pilots.
With regional airlines going out of their way to attract new pilots, it looks like 2015 is an excellent time to begin training for a career in aviation. Contact Coast Flight to learn more.
Airlines will continue to add incentives to an aviation career as the 2015 Pilot Shortage shows no sign of slowing down.
There is a commercial pilot shortage plaguing airlines across the nation, and as we look forward to 2015 it appears that this trend is only going to intensify. The current state of the aviation industry in the United States is causing headaches for airlines struggling to meet the demand for flights while ensuring their pilots are given the adequate rest they need. This shortage is also creating an ideal environment for new pilots completing flight school and embarking on a career in commercial aviation. With increasing demand for commercial pilots and continued growth in this job market is expected over the next 20 years! The current pilot shortage is creating new opportunities for aviators to enter this highly regarded profession.
Understanding the Pilot Shortage
Many factors have contributed to the current commercial pilot shortage, which is expected to escalate in 2015 and beyond. The Federal Aviation Administration’s new rules for First Officer Qualifications include an increase in the number of hours that first officers are required to complete – to 1,500 hours – effectively reducing the number of qualified pilots in the job pool. Another new rule added to the Federal Aviation Regulations, FAR Part 117, has also increased the number of pilots that air carriers are required to employ to ensure adequate rest hours between shifts. This new rule alone has created an estimated increase in over 8% of total airline pilots the airlines must hire to comply.
With older pilots retiring year after year, the demand for new pilots with adequate training and sufficient flight hours is that much greater. The demand is particularly intense for regional airlines in the U.S., which currently employ fewer than 18,000 pilots in total. At the same time, our nation’s major airlines are expected to require more than 18,000 new pilots due to retirements over the next decade, and Boeing even predicts that half a million new pilots will be needed over the next two decades. Many of the pilots currently working for regional airlines are expected to leave their current positions to help fill this void within major airlines, essentially shifting the shortage from one area of the industry to another. Airports across the nation are losing service, and many more are at risk. United Airlines has even ended its Cleveland service due to its shortage of qualified pilots available to fly.
What This Means for Budding Pilots
The situation appears dire for regional airlines and their passengers around the United States, but for those considering a career in aviation this shortage is creating abundant opportunities to join the work force. Pay rates are on the rise and many airlines offer signing bonuses to entice new pilots and to fill the increasing number of vacancies in the industry. Coast Flight even offers student pilots the opportunity to interview with SkyWest and secure a Conditional Offer of Employment, so those who have what it takes will already have a job waiting for them upon completion of their required training and flight hours.
There couldn’t be a better time to become an airline pilot. Contact Coast Flight today to learn more about what it takes.
See how airlines are reacting to this news in 2015 by reading about Endeavor’s Pilot Retention Program!
United States Army Veteran Scott Miller’s story is a compelling and inspiring example of a man facing adversity yet refusing to give up on his dreams. On November 25, 2014, Scott completed his private pilot check ride and medical flight test at Coast Flight’s college partner, Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, Iowa. Becoming a certificated private pilot after serving in the National Guard is an impressive set of achievements on its own, but Miller’s circumstances make this feat all the more remarkable. Scott Miller lost the use of his legs after a motorcycle accident several years ago, but he didn’t let this impede his positive attitude and drive to succeed. Miller’s story serves as motivation for all future pilots and anyone who faces challenges on the road to success.
Many people would have given up and accepted defeat after losing the use of their legs, but not Scott Miller. The National Guard soldier fractured two vertebrae during a motorcycle accident following a drill weekend in Des Moines, Iowa several years back, which left him paraplegic. He was headed towards his home in the neighboring town of Albia that day when he hit a pothole and landed on railroad tracks near by. But instead of giving up on or settling for a lesser dream, Scott started flight training at Indian Hills Community College in late 2012.
Scott’s Path to an Aviation Career
After learning the basics in the college’s Redbird simulator, Miller began the required training and flight hours to prepare for his pilot check ride and medical flight test at Indian Hills Community College. He was able to complete all the required flight training to become a certificated private pilot. In large part, Miller’s success can be attributed to a Union hand control specially designed by a local aviation expert for the Cessna 172 he used during his private pilot training. Miller passed both tests with flying colors on November 25, 2014. His next goal is to complete the college’s advanced flight training, notes Indian Hills Chief Flight Instructor Darren Graham. “A group like this who believes in you and encourages you is what makes me have the drive to keep going,” Miller said during a recent interview The Ottumwa Courier. “Anyone can do it,” he later added.
After completing his advanced flight training, Scott’s next goal is to purchase his own airplane that he can use for charter flights, crop dusting, banner towing, firefighting or flight instruction. At that time he will be legally qualified to fly any private type of plane, excluding jets and airlines.
Proud College Partners
Coast flight is proud to call Indian Hills Community College a partner, enabling new opportunities for pilots-in-training to earn an accredited, online associate’s degree in Aviation Pilot Training while undergoing flight training at Coast’s San Diego campus. After completing the required flight ratings, students can even begin working as a commercial pilot as soon as they finish the online degree. See Scott’s experience at http://youtu.be/cMKKpX_u490
Contact Coast Flight today to learn more.
There are many reasons why people become pilots. These reasons are often rooted in some childhood dream, or an innate desire to travel, or the sheer joy of taking flight, or a desire to lead and take care of others. Training to become a professional pilot is certainly one of the most respected, challenging, action-packed and fulfilling career paths a person can take. There are other considerations you need to make before choosing a career and investing in your education, though. Most people must also factor in the cost of their education and the potential salary they could earn once they enter their career field. Fortunately for pilots, the return on investment is excellent compared to other industries. Just consider how the ROI for professional pilots’ education and training matches up to that of other esteemed professionals including teachers, doctor and lawyers.
In order to enter a revered profession such as teaching, legal counsel, medicine or aviation, you must first complete a high level of postsecondary education. The length of time that students must spend in an accredited university and/or training program, and the cost of doing so, inevitably varies depending on the professional career they are preparing for. While all of these professions require about the same level of undergraduate education, that is where the similarities end. Just consider the national averages for the cost of required education to become a teacher, pilot, lawyer and doctor:
• average undergraduate cost = $87,032
• average specialty education cost = N/A
• average undergraduate cost = $87,032
• average specialty education cost = $51,900
• average undergraduate cost = $87,032
• average specialty education cost = $55,416
• average undergraduate cost = $87,032
• average specialty education cost = $232,564
Of the four honorable professions under the spotlight, it’s easy to see that teachers spend the least on their postsecondary education. This is because many teaching jobs in elementary, middle or high schools only require a bachelor’s degree (although some K-12 teaching jobs require a master’s degree, and all postsecondary teaching jobs require at least a master’s degree). And with an average total education cost of $87,032 for teachers, $138,932 for pilots, $142,488 for lawyers and $319,596 for doctors, it’s clear that doctors spend the most (by a landslide). What really matters, though, is the potential returns for this initial investment in education and training. Consider the median annual salaries for teachers, pilots, lawyers and doctors in the United States:
• median annual salary = $49,140
• median annual salary = $111,680
• median annual salary = $110,590
• median annual salary = $186,044
What this all means is that of these four career paths, pilots enjoy the greatest return on investment. It’s important to consider that teachers typically have 43 career earning years, pilots typically have 42, lawyers typically have 40, and doctors typically have 34. So if you figure the return on investment for each career, which is ((annual salary × years in career) – education costs), and divide that by the education costs, you will find the following:
• Teachers earn $23 for every $1 invested in education
• Pilots earn $33 for every $1 invested in education
• Lawyers earn $30 for every $1 invested in education
• Doctors earn $19 for every $1 invested in education
In addition to the great return on investment in the aviation field, the high median annual salary for aviation graduates allows them to pay off their education costs more quickly than these other skilled professionals as they move up in their careers. This economic freedom enables pilots to enjoy the things they love about their careers, from adventure and travel to responsibility and respect, without as much worry.
If you’ve flown recently in the United States or abroad, you may have noticed some cuts in service. You may also notice a few changes around the U.S. airline industry if you plan on flying soon. There is a growing shortage of qualified domestic pilots in the U.S. according to figures from major airlines, and this shortage is only expected to grow as the demand for new pilots continues to increase while the number of existing pilots diminishes. It is an international problem, in fact, as airlines from Japan to Latin America are seeing the effects. In the United States, the facts about this domestic airline pilot shortage should speak for themselves.
This shortage of pilots in the U.S. and abroad isn’t exactly a surprise, as the International Civil Aviation Organization (the UN’s aviation agency) began warning about a shortage of qualified pilots across the globe two years ago. The shortage is hitting the U.S. sooner and harder than anticipated, though, leaving some airlines with no choice but to cut services. There are several reasons for this shortage, adding up to an unanticipated demand for new pilots:
• Many of the most experienced and esteemed pilots in the industry have recently retired or are expecting to retire, for starters.
• The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has also increased the training requirements for new pilots, deterring some students and keeping those who do want to be pilots in school a bit longer.
• New industry standards have increased the required amount of rest pilots must have before returning to their next shift.
These are good rules, of course, that add to the safety of the airlines. Adhering to them does present some initial challenges, though. It has been particularly troublesome for regional airlines, who are not able to offer the same pay as major carriers. Of course, existing pilots will inevitably snap up higher paying jobs as soon as they can. With many pilots from the major carriers retiring or scheduled to retire in the near future, regional airlines are losing pilots faster than they can think about replacing them. The result, for now, is cancelled flights and reduced services. But there are solutions on the horizon.
While flights are being cancelled and services are being cut, airlines are also hurrying to hire new pilots and flight training institutions are working diligently to recruit new students. Delta Airlines has recalled all of the pilots who were furloughed during tougher times, and has been working to hire an additional 20-50 pilots a month throughout the year. United Airlines has also reported that it plans to recall hundreds of its furloughed pilots. The union that represents American Airlines Group expects to lose as many as half of its 8,800 pilots as they retire or leave the company in the next decade, and anticipates the need to hire as many as 100 pilots a month to keep up with the demands.
So, while there may be some inconveniences for U.S. passengers for the time being, the aviation industry is working hard to solve it. For example, Coast Flight is addressing the shortage issue. For budding pilots, this is a great time to enter the industry, as there are many jobs currently available and many more to open up soon.
with its Aviation Career Training (ACT) program. It removes the post-training stress of finding a job by offering employment prior to the beginning of training, allowing future pilots the freedom of mind to focus on getting through the program and into the career path of their dreams. So if you are a budding pilot, now is an excellent time to start your career.
Recent reports show there is a shortage of trained and qualified aviation graduates, with an estimated shortfall of more than 70,000 U.S. air transport pilots. This trend is certainly not limited to the United States, though. In fact, two of the biggest budget carriers in Japan are planning to cancel hundreds of flights this summer due to a shortage of available pilots. This goes to show that the problem with pilot shortages is an international problem, and that it may be an ideal time for students to get the required training and enter the exciting field of aviation.
The Japanese budget airline Vanilla Air recently reported that there are not enough pilots to fly all of the scheduled flights this month, and attempts to secure enough pilots have not been successful in time to meet current demands. Additionally, some crewmembers have also recently moved on, leaving Vanilla Air between a rock and a hard place. All Nippon Airways (ANA), the owner and operator of Vanilla Air, says that it will have no choice but to cancel one third of the flights it has scheduled for June. That amounts to a total of 154 flights, which may affect as many as 2,500 scheduled passengers. Passengers with reservations for these 154 cancelled flights will be guaranteed seats on other airlines, according to ANA president, Tomonori Ishii. The carrier, which is the product of a recent joint venture with a Malaysian airline, says it is working to hire recently graduated pilots and borrow some from other airlines in order to resume full operations in July.
One of Vanilla Air’s competitors, Peach Aviation, is facing similar problems. In fact, Peach Aviation Ltd. predicts that it may have to cancel more than 2,000 flights between now and October because it doesn’t have enough qualified pilots. Peach is also fairly new to the scene, operating since 2012, but its low-cost flights quickly attracted a high number of passengers. While the carrier was meeting the demand for flights at first, a recent shortage of pilots due to illness and other reasons has left Peach unable to satisfy the increasing number of passengers looking to fly. According to Peach CEO, Shinichi Inoue, more than 15% of their pilots are unavailable to fly due to health reasons, and they have been unable to recruit a sufficient number of new pilots and crewmembers, or promote from within. This series of cancellations could affect as many as 2,088 flights which would have carried approximately 26,000 passengers.
The United Nations specialized aviation agency, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), began warning about pilot shortages two years ago, and the problem is expected to reach a critical mass in Asia, Latin America and Africa by 2030. For those interested in pursuing a career in aviation, whether in Asia or any other part of the world, it might just be the ideal time to begin the education and training to fulfill this demand.
Projecting a professional image is a key requirement for achieving success as a commercial pilot. The National Transportation Safety Board considers pilot professionalism to be of such critical importance in the aviation field that it sponsored a 2010 forum specifically devoted to this topic. Appearance, decisiveness, initiative and an unselfish attitude are essential elements in building your reputation as a consummate professional.
Keeping your uniform clean and pressed can help you present a crisp, pulled-together image for your passengers and crew. Meticulous attention to detail will help you look your best on the job:
• Shoes and belts should match and should be in a dark or neutral shade. Shoes for both men and women should be polished and appropriate to the working environment.
• Hats, if worn, should be in good taste and be worn in the appropriate way.
• Neatly trimmed, clean hair is a must for both men and women in the aviation industry. Extreme fashion statements are to be avoided when choosing hairstyles. For men, a neatly groomed mustache is typically acceptable; a full beard or shaggy mustache is not.
• Visible piercings and tattoos are frowned upon in the professional environment. Single pierced earrings for women are an exception to this general rule.
• Duty uniforms must be clean, pressed and worn according to employer regulations.
Even when you are not on duty, making an effort to look your best and to dress conservatively can reinforce your professional image.
As a pilot, you will be called upon to make critical decisions on a daily basis. Thinking quickly and making the right calls is absolutely essential to ensure the safety of your passengers and crew. An assertive and calm demeanor is your best asset in making tough calls and can help you inspire added confidence in your crew as well.
Identifying problems quickly and taking steps independently to address these challenges is one of the hallmarks of a true professional in the aviation world. Pilots are called upon not only to perform their duties but to serve as leaders among the crew and within the industry. Living up to these high standards and working proactively to address small issues before they become big problems can help you succeed in the cockpit and in the corporate arena.
As a pilot, you will depend on your crew to support and facilitate your work. Maintaining an unselfish attitude and sharing your time and resources with these vital team members can help you build a rapport that can help you weather difficult times both in the air and on the ground.
Building a reputation for professionalism can open doors of opportunity for you as a pilot and can ensure your continued success in the fast-paced world of modern aviation.