When it comes to determining the average commercial pilot salary in USA, data from respected sources points out some pretty different numbers. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics points out that the average salary of a commercial pilot in our country is $76,150, while the average commercial airline pilot salary is $117,290. There seems to be quite the difference, especially since additional sources mention that the commercial pilot starting salary is around $20,000. With discrepancies like these, how can we determine average salary for commercial pilot in the United States? The aim of our guide for the average salary of commercial pilot is to speak about the factors that can influence this situation, so read everything you need to know about the commercial pilot average salary below.
Commercial Pilot Salary Influencers
A definitive aspect for the commercial pilots salary is the airline they work for. As we previously mentioned, the starting salary for commercial airline pilot is around $20k, but it varies from airline to airline. Moreover, the average salary commercial pilot professionals receive is based on their flying hours. Consequently, the more flights a pilot has in a month or year, the higher the commercial air pilot salary will be.
Going back to commercial pilot salaries according to airlines, Glassdoor points out a big difference from this point of view. While a smaller airline like ExpressJet Airlines offers the average salary of commercial airline pilot of just $34,566 a year, the top airlines in the country easily surpass $135k annually. To be precise, here are the commercial airline pilots salary estimates for the top 3 airlines in the United States:
- Average salary for commercial airline pilot at American Airlines – $141,604
- Delta Air Lines commercial plane pilot salary – $135,646
- Average salary commercial airline pilot at United Airlines – $176,981
2. Geographic Area
Airlines aren’t the only essential factor that can influence the average salary for a commercial pilot. In addition to employers, the commercial pilot salary, commercial helicopter pilot salary or commercial jet pilot salary can be greatly influenced by location. In other words, you can have a really low starting salary for commercial pilot if you aren’t in a favorable state. On the other hand, a few states easily offer commercial airline pilot average salary ranges that exceed $100k. At a glance, these are the states with the highest average salary for commercial pilots ranges in the United States:
- Commercial flight pilot salary in Connecticut – $116,960
- Delaware commercial pilot annual salary – $103,020
- Commercial airlines pilot salary in Illinois – $102,760
- California average salary for a commercial airline pilot – $100,230
- Pilot commercial salary in Pennsylvania – $100,150
While these states pose quite an attractive commercial pilot salary, there are some that barely offer half these amounts. If you don’t want a low air pilot salary, you should avoid these locations:
- Utah – $50,550
- Vermont – $53,690
- Puerto Rico – $56,240
- Kentucky – $58,800
- North Dakota – $59,720
Nevertheless, the high salary isn’t the only aspect you should think of when analyzing potential locations as workplaces. You should also aim for states that have reasonable employment rates. Regardless of how high the average commercial pilot salary may be in one state, you might have almost no chance of getting hired if their employment rate is low. Here are the states with the top and lowest employment rates in America:
- West Virginia
- Rhode Island
Phoenix East Aviation, a source cited at the beginning of our article, mentions that salaries generally increase by the year. As this increase is pretty steady, the general average can reach around $98,410. You can read more about the increases and differences between international and regional airlines here.
Working Hours and Environment
Obviously, the main work environment for pilots is in flight or in airports. Pilots are required by federal law to get plenty of rest in between flights, so they usually fly around 75 hours every month. During the rest of the time (about 150 hours monthly), they carry out other work-related tasks.
As expected, pilots spend a lot of time away from their families travelling abroad. This is an essential aspect that candidates must keep in mind.
Commercial Pilot Salary by State
|State||Annual mean wage ($)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Bonuses and Benefit Packages
One of the main reasons why commercial pilot jobs are so desired is the myriad of benefits that come attached with the job description. In addition to the fact that pilots have a great schedule, they have countless travel benefits that are sometimes extended to their close family members. Moreover, they usually can enroll free of charge in a 401k plan, and they also get medical insurance.
The job outlook for commercial pilots is expected to grow 5% until 2024. This is just a bit higher than the national average for all occupations of 7%, but it’s good to notice that it’s not in decline. Not only will they be requested by airlines, but also for services like ambulance travel or support activities.
To wrap everything up, the commercial pilot salary might not be all that big at first, but it delightfully increases as the years go by. Not only do you get numerous benefits, but you have the chance to travel the world while receiving an admirable paycheck as an experienced pilot.
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