How Is A Pilot’s Salary Calculated?

The aviation industry is a great career option for many. However, one of the many aspects that people wonder about is the salary; is it really as high as they say?

How Much Is An Airline Pilot’s Salary?

There are plenty of benefits when it comes to becoming a pilot. Most people dream of becoming one because they would like to travel the world and fly in the clouds. But due to the rising demand of pilots in the industry, pilots’ salaries have become very high. The high salary is a great reason to start a career in the aviation industry, given that the average salary for a pilot in the US is between $42,000 and $350,000.

How Much Do Pilots Make?

First of all, we have to consider that pilots are paid by the hour. Pilots aren’t allowed to fly for more than 1,000 hours per year, this is to ensure that they’re not being overworked and that they can safely fly an airplane once they’re in the cockpit.

To give you a reference: the average office worker is expected to work 40 hours per week. After taking out 2 weeks for vacation, this means that the average worker is expected 2,000 hours of labor!

But don’t let the decreased number of hours fool you! GlassDoor, a website where people report their salaries, reported that average base pilot annual pay in the U.S. was $113,709. They based this on reported salaries from 235 pilots. While in 2020, the average pilot salary at Southwest is $178,765.

What Is A Pilot’s Starting Pay?

Most pilots’ first paid job is the position of certified flight instructor. In 2013, a law was passed to require pilots to first become flight instructors and teach others for 1,500 hours before getting their pilot license.

Most certified flight instructors get an average salary of $30-40 per hour. Once a pilot earns their license, they’re hired as junior First Officer at a regional airline and expect an hourly rate of $35-70.

What Steps Can A Pilot Take To Earn At The Top?

Here’s what you need to do in order to become a top pilot!

  1. Be a good pilot: this includes taking your currency requirements seriously, having safety as your top priority, and having a well-balanced, healthy diet. 
  2. Do your research: Find out which airlines provide the highest salaries for a pilot with your credentials. You might not be able to negotiate your salary, but you’re definitely going to be able to negotiate your benefits and signing bonus.
  3. Be prepared: whether you’re going on your first or fifth interview, make sure you’re always prepared. Follow proven tips and pay attention when preparing for your interview. And most importantly, know all about the company ahead of time.

Factors that improve pay

Have you wondered why some pilots are paid more than others? Simple, it’s because of the amount of certificates that a pilot has. The more certificates you get, the more hours you’ll spend on training which in turn means that you’re very qualified and experienced.

Here are some certificates that you should consider:

Are pilot incomes expected to increase?

Yes, being a pilot is one of the few ways to get yourself a job with a constantly increasing pay. For example: Southwest Airlines will increase pilots’ salaries by almost 30% in 2020. Their average pay in 2015 was $230,626, so their salary is definitely above average. Due to the high demand for pilots in the industry, airline pilots’ salaries are sure to keep on rising as well!

Becoming a pilot is a great experience on its own, add to that the amazing salary as well as the bonuses and you’ll get yourself a dream job!

Scroll to Top

Your dream with us is a reality, Join Eagle Air Flight School and be an accredited airline Pilot.