Pilots, Ship

What do they do?

Command ships to steer them into and out of harbors, estuaries, straits, or sounds, or on rivers, lakes, or bays. Must be licensed by U.S. Coast Guard with limitations indicating class and tonnage of vessels for which license is valid and route and waters that may be piloted.

Also known as:

Bar Pilot, Boat Pilot, Docking Pilot, Harbor Pilot, Marine Pilot, Maritime Pilot, Pilot, Relief Docking Master, River Pilot, Ship Pilot, State Pilot, Towboat Pilot

Typical Wages

Annual wages for Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Water Vessels in United States

★ You’re seeing wages for Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Water Vessels because we don’t have information for Pilots, Ship.

Projected Growth Rate

Employment of Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Water Vessels is projected to grow 8 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as average compared to all occupations.

★ You’re seeing projected growth rate for Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Water Vessels because we don’t have information for Pilots, Ship.

Projected Employment

No Data Available

Projected Employment Rankings For Virginia:

  • 8.2%

    Percent Change

    Ranks #13 in job growth rate
  • 260

    Annual Projected Job Openings

    Ranks #4 in net job growth
★ You’re seeing projected employment information for Captains, Mates, and Pilots of Water Vessels because we don’t have information for Pilots, Ship.

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Typical College Majors

Majors that prepare Pilots, Ship:

Indicates your preferred majors

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

Education Level

  • Doctorate or Professional Degree (1.4%)
  • Master's degree (4.9%)
  • Bachelor's degree (18.8%)
  • Associate's degree (9.7%)
  • Some college, no degree (26.1%)
  • High school diploma equivalent (28.7%)
  • Less than high school diploma (10.2%)

Percent of workers in this field

★ You’re seeing education information for Captains, mates, and pilots of water vessels because we don’t have information for Pilots, Ship. Please note the information may not be the same for both occupations.

Colleges that Prepare

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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.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
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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.
  • Law and Government - Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
  • Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
  • 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.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Telecommunications - Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.


People in this career often have talent in:

  • Far Vision - The ability to see details at a distance.
  • Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • 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.
  • Depth Perception - The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.
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Activities: what you might do in a day

People in this career often do these activities:

  • Choose optimal transportation routes or speeds.
  • Operate ships or other watercraft.
  • Direct passenger or freight transport activities.
  • Read maps to determine routes.
  • Operate communications equipment or systems.
  • Communicate with others to coordinate vehicle movement.
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This page includes data from:

O*NET OnLine Career data: O*NET 24.1 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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