Airline Pilots

Ricardo Torres Period 3

Career Overview / Career Details

Duties and Responsibility

When one is controlling a massive tube of metal going at over 600 mph at 30,000 feet, one has to have the safety of their passengers as their number one priority. Also they have to ready at any time. Some times pilots may fly from 3pm to 5pm one day and the next one, they may fly from 2am to 5am. They have to be ready to fly at any given moment. There is not much physical stress, however, there is a lot of mental stress considering that you have the lives of tens if not hundreds of people on your hands when taking off or landing.

Average Hours

The average hours are very weird and sometimes unpredictable. Most airline pilots work 30 to 90 hours a month. Some pilots may work for up to 8 hours interrupting but the FAA makes them rest for 8 hours. But one has to keep in mind that they're not always going home after they're done. Sometimes they can be in hotels in cities across the country or world.

Working Location

The locations for an airline pilot may vary from airline to airline. All airlines operate hubs at different airports around the world. United has hubs in Chicago, Newark, Houston, Denver, and San Francisco. American has hubs in Chicago, New York, Miami, Dallas, and Los Angeles. It all really depends on where you are and the hub that is nearest to you or in a scenario, moving to another city to work.

Salary and Wage Potential

The median ranges from $93,000 to $103,000. It depends on seniority and if you're flying high or low density routes.

Education Needed

Most airlines require some college like an associates degrees but most people are going for bachelors degree in any subject. They want to see if pilots have taken English, math, physics, and Aeronautical engineering. Military training can give you an even better boost to landing a job but it usually takes a commitment of 8 years. Schools such as Purdue, Lewis University, and Southern Illinois are such schools that are FAA certified.

Skills Required

Communication skills - You want to maintain good communication with your fellow pilots and the Air Traffic Controller.

Depth Perception - You have to be able to see clearly and judge the distances between things.

Detail Oriented- You have to keep a good eye on all the systems.

Problem solving skills - You have to be able to try to find a solution in the case of an emergency.

Quick reaction time - Pilots have to be able to make quick changes without an intervention from the computer systems on board.

And being nice is also a good trait to have because you two (captain and co-pilot) have hundreds of lives on your hands.

Job Outlook and Growth

In the next 7 years, the industry will add 4,500 jobs. The growth will many stay within LCC's (Limited Liability Companies) rather than legacy airlines (United, American, Delta). Airlines like Southwest, Spirit, and Airtrain are expected to add more jobs than American or United.


However, the job outlook seems even more bleak since all the airlines have been merging over the past 8 years. Northwest merged into Delta, Airtran into Southwest, Continental into United, and now US Airways into American. With mergers, any pilot can expect work cutbacks.

Advancement and Alternatives

The only real way a pilot can ever advance is to stay in their airline and fly. The more hours one accumulates, the better flights he/she will get. However, say if an airline fails. If a pilot was to work at another airline, he/she would start at the bottom of the chain, regardless of the hours they've done with the other airline.


An alternative would be an ATC (Air Traffic Controller)

The job is to give planes clearance to take off and land. The job pays $50 an hour and requires a Air Management degree from an FAA school. The only thing that is bad is that job growth is declining 3% because the FAA spent their money on hiring more people and buying some new satellites.

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