Pilots in Cockpit

Pilots perform many different kinds of flying jobs. In general, pilots operate an aircraft for the transportation of passengers, freight, mail, or for other commercial purposes. There are approximately 121,110 airline pilots, co-pilots, flight engineers, and commercial pilots employed in the United States.

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Quick Facts
Alternate Title(s) Copilots, First Officers, Facilities-Flight-Check Pilots, Flight Engineers, Flight Instructors, Photogrammetry Pilots, Second Officers
Duties Navigate the flight of fixed-wing, multi-engine aircraft on scheduled air carrier routes for the transport of passengers and cargo
Salary Range $25,000 to $100,000+
Work Environment Primarily Indoors
Best Geographical Location(s) Opportunities exist in all regions
Minimum Education Level
  • High School Diploma
  • Some Postsecondary Training
School Subjects
  • Computer Science
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
Experience Flight school experience
Personality Traits
  • Hands On
  • Problem-Solving
  • Technical
  • Leadership
  • Math
  • Scientific
Certification or Licensing Required
Special Requirements Medical certificate required prior to first solo flight; must have 20/20 vision with or without glasses; good hearing and physical health required; may not have any handicap that might interfere with flying
Employment Prospects Fair
Advancement Prospects Good
Outlook About as Fast as the Average
Career Ladder
  • Captain
  • Pilot
  • Co-Pilot