Think pilot salary and big images come to mind -- big planes, big airlines, big money. This problem with this image is that it doesn't take into account the big picture. Career opportunities, and their respective salaries, vary. When searching for pilot salary information, it is clear that the salary range depends on the pilot salary provider, experience and level of seniority with an organization, among other things.
A pilot salary list is not complete without researching the various methods pilot salary information is categorized. Interested researchers will find pilot salary information listed according to airplane type, airline company and even airline type. When researching pilot salary information, consider searching according to three major categories:
1. Pilot salary ranges according to rank and commercial aircraft;
2. Pilot salaries according to commercial airline pilot salary provider;
3. Pilot salary information according to other piloting employment opportunities.
Search for pilot salary ranges according to seniority rank and commercial aircraftThe salary range for commercial airline pilots rises steadily based on the number of years of experience. Once 20+ years of experience is reached, however, the salary range begins to plummet as a result of retirement requirements for commercial airline pilots in the U.S.
Search for information according to airline pilot salary providerAirline salaries vary from airline to airline. Some of the major airlines pay slightly more than their rivals, as is the case with regional airlines. It is interesting to point out that, in a 2007 study, FedEx paid its employees the most, although it must also be noted that FedEx pilots shared company with only one other airline in terms of the most hours flown monthly.
Search for pilot salary information according to other piloting employment opportunitiesPilot career opportunities exist with much more than major commercial airlines. Pilots can make a career flying corporate jets, air traffic aircraft and prototype planes to ensure they are in compliance with federal regulations and product specifications. Pilots can even pursue careers as flight instructors or helicopter pilots.
ALLSTAR Network's website, using data provided by the Airline Employment Assistance Corps (AEAC), includes different types of pilot jobs along with their educational requirements. Avjobs lists information about salary ranges for all different aircraft types.
- Retirement benefits vary from company to company. Some commercial airlines offer defined benefit plans, often referred to as "A Plans," which operate sort of like traditional pension plans. Others offer defined contribution plans, often referred to as "B Plans," which are similar to 401K plans offered in other industries. These benefits ultimately translate to cash in your hand and should be included when calculating pilot salary information and carefully weighed when considering any airline pilot position.