Commercial Pilots’ Salary Guide: Understanding What You Can Expect


Commercial pilots are highly skilled professionals who earn a good living and have an exciting job. But, how much do they really make? In this article, we will explore the factors that influence commercial pilots’ salaries and provide you with a comprehensive guide to what you can expect.

Factors Affecting Commercial Pilots’ Salary:

  1. Experience and Skill Level: The more years of experience a pilot has, the higher their salary will be. Additionally, pilots who have specialized skills such as multi-engine ratings or instrument ratings will also earn more.
  2. Type of Flight: Pilots who fly for airlines tend to make more money than those who work for private companies or charter services. This is because airlines have larger budgets and can afford to pay their pilots more.
  3. Hours Worked: Commercial pilots are paid by the hour, so the more hours they work, the more money they will earn. However, most commercial pilots work long hours, which means that their salary may not always translate to a high income.
  4. Flight Location: Pilots who fly to popular tourist destinations or international routes tend to make more money than those who work regional flights.
  5. Employer: The type of employer you work for will also impact your salary. Large airlines typically have higher salaries and better benefits than smaller companies.

Average Commercial Pilots’ Salary:

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual wage for commercial pilots is around $130,000. However, this can vary widely depending on the factors discussed above. For example, a pilot who has been working for a major airline for 20 years and holds multiple ratings may earn significantly more than a new pilot working for a regional company.

Comparing Commercial Pilots’ Salary to Other Professions:

When compared to other professions, commercial pilots’ salaries are generally higher. For example, the average salary for software engineers in the US is around $105,000 per year. However, it’s important to note that commercial pilots’ salaries can vary widely depending on their experience and skill level.


Q: How long does it take to become a commercial pilot?
A: It typically takes around 1,500 hours of flight time to become a commercial pilot. However, this can vary depending on the type of rating you are pursuing.

Q: Do commercial pilots get paid by the hour or by the flight?
A: Commercial pilots are paid by the hour.

Q: Are there any benefits that come with being a commercial pilot?
A: Yes, many commercial pilots receive health insurance, retirement plans, and other benefits through their employers.


Commercial pilots’ salaries can vary widely depending on a variety of factors. However, with the right experience and skill level, it is possible to earn a high income as a pilot. If you are considering pursuing a career as a commercial pilot, it’s important to do your research and understand what you can expect in terms of salary and benefits. With hard work and dedication, you could be well on your way to earning a comfortable living as a commercial pilot.

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