Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers

What do they do?

Pilot and navigate the flight of fixed-wing, multi-engine aircraft, usually on scheduled air carrier routes, for the transport of passengers and cargo. Requires Federal Air Transport Pilot certificate and rating for specific aircraft type used. Includes regional, National, and international airline pilots and flight instructors of airline pilots.

Also known as:

Airline Captain, Airline Captain (Line Pilot), Airline Pilot, Airline Pilot (Captain), Airline Pilot/First Officer, Airline Transport Pilot, Captain, Captain Airline Pilot, Captain/Airline Pilot, Captain/Check Airman, Check Airman, Co-Pilot, Commercial Airline Pilot, Commercial Pilot, Commuter Pilot, First Officer, First Officer and Flight Instructor, International First Officer, Pilot, Pilot (Captain), Pilot Captain

Typical Wages

Annual wages for Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers in United States

★ For the data available, wages are capped at $208,000

Projected Growth Rate

Employment of Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers is projected to grow 3 percent from 2016 to 2026, more slowly than average compared to all occupations.

Projected Employment

No Data Available

Projected Employment Rankings For All United States:

  • 3.5%

    Percent Change

    Select a state to see its job growth rate ranking
  • 8,100

    Annual Projected Job Openings

    Select a state to see its net job growth ranking

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Typical College Majors

Majors that prepare Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers:

Indicates your preferred majors

★ Number of granted degrees for degree type, All, is listed after the major.

Education Level

  • Doctorate or Professional Degree (1.7%)
  • Master's degree (12.8%)
  • Bachelor's degree (59.2%)
  • Associate's degree (7.1%)
  • Some college, no degree (14.5%)
  • High school diploma equivalent (4.4%)
  • Less than high school diploma (0.3%)

Percent of workers in this field

Colleges that Prepare

Colleges with the most graduates that become Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers:

Indicates preferred colleges

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Skills

People in this career often have these skills:

  • Operation and Control - Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Knowledge

People in this career often know a lot about:

  • Transportation - Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
  • Geography - Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.

Abilities

People in this career often have talent in:

  • Control Precision - The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Response Orientation - The ability to choose quickly between two or more movements in response to two or more different signals (lights, sounds, pictures). It includes the speed with which the correct response is started with the hand, foot, or other body part.
  • Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • Spatial Orientation - The ability to know your location in relation to the environment or to know where other objects are in relation to you.
  • Written Comprehension - The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Activities: what you might do in a day

People in this career often do these activities:

  • Pilot aircraft.
  • Communicate with others to coordinate vehicle movement.
  • Monitor equipment gauges or displays to ensure proper operation.
  • Report vehicle or equipment malfunctions.
  • Notify others of emergencies, problems, or hazards.
  • Respond to transportation emergencies.

This page includes data from:

O*NET OnLine Career data: O*NET 24.0 Database by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (“USDOL/ETA”). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA

Occupation statistics: USDOL U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics

careeronestop logo Videos: CareerOneStop, USDOL/ETA and the Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development

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