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Introduction and a brief description of the occupation

Airplane piloting is a career field in which participants are involved with flying and navigation of airplanes, helicopters and other forms of airline aircraft (, 2015). The airline one flies depends on the kind of license one has been offered. Airplane pilots are commonly known as having the responsibility of transporting human kind, luggage, providing surveillance and undertaking aerial searches among others. Others could engage in instructing junior professionals in the career field in schools and other training institutions. The career has prospect specializations in which a trainee could opt after completion of their studies. These include airline piloting, helicopter piloting, commercial piloting, and agricultural piloting, which are involved in assisting farmers and pastoralists with activities such as dusting and stock theft control. Most airplane pilots have the potential to fly in varied weather conditions. They are stationed within airbases in different parts of the world (Qi, Shen & Dou, 2013).

Typical Career Path

Many careers exist in the aviation industry for pilots. Becoming one does not however require one to have attended a university or a college for training. The lower paying positions especially do not require any form of college attendance (Fullingim, 2011). Flying professional planes, common in major airlines, require one to have attended a full four years in college for a degree in aviation. This is because pilots are required to have assimilated a large amount of written content and thus good study habits are imperative.

The best option to becoming a professional pilot is attending certified colleges, most of which offer four-year aviation programs training. It should, however, be noted that this option is very expensive, and one can opt for flight instructions at local airports.

The first step towards this professional path is attending a training institution as a student pilot (Vasigh, Fleming & Humphreys, 2014). This is recommendable to even those planning to attend a full time degree program in aviation. This helps one determine whether they qualify for the FAA physical requirements for a professional pilot. Different careers are limited to different physical conditions and as such, starting the career as a student pilots helps one determine which options are available and which ones are not.

After completing the pilot student tests, opting to become a private pilot helps in attaining greater heights in the profession. Participating in this activity helps one to advance their hands on experiences in the field.

Attaining a commercial pilot certificate is the next step in the ladder. A private pilot should demonstrate proficiency in both written and flight-tests to be offered with the Commercial Pilot. Commercial pilots have more experience in making real world decisions in a wider pool of flight experiences.

Certified Flight Instructor could be the next stage after attaining a Commercial Pilot Certificate. These professionals are charged with offering training to learners based on the experiences they have in the industry. To qualify for this grade in the career path, one has to pass the single-engine, multi-engine airplanes, and Instrument tests and is thus a very challenging step.

Finally, Airline Transport Pilot is the senior most position in the ladder. It is very expensive to attain this position, and the level of experience and rating is very high.

Trends in the Piloting Occupation

The recent technological boom has set the pace at the heart of organizations enabling achievement of organizational goals in the connected world of today (Fraher & Gabriel, 2014). Without implementing the opportunities dispensed by these technologies, it would be difficult for professionals to fit in successfully in their careers. Just like any other career, airplane piloting requires the professionals to be acquainted with IT skills o effectively administer their tasks. Automation of tasks including tracking luggage, ordering for spare parts or even communicating with other individuals in the airline industry are all technological aspects affecting the profession. Modern computerized engines also require the professionals to be tech savvy to operate effectively. As such, the pilots should acquaint themselves with the new technologies being invented in their field of work. Other trends affecting the industry include the adoption of new organizational structures within the airline industry (Hirsch-Kreinsen & Jacobson, 2008). The implementation of vertical and horizontal links within the airline organizational structures affect the operations of the pilots and other staffs in that more focus is placed on coordination and thus a reduction in control. Further, the aspect of diversified training has been proven a trend that is greatly affecting the piloting profession. For professional piloting positions, those with a diverse range of training are treated with a higher concern than the rest, thus requiring all prospective airplane candidates to diversify their training in advance. Finally, the drastic change in the economics of nations has seen the professionals moving from their countries to foreign countries in search for greener pastures. This has led to reduction in numbers of professional pilots in countries offering lower compensation rates (Moak, 2015).

Salary Information

The airline piloting professions is one of the most rewarding in the entire planet. Professional pilots have been reported to pocket about $20,000 per year at the entrance level (, 2015). The wages for these professionals tend to rise on a yearly basis until they accumulate experience and reach the senior most ranks to become captains. On average, a captin earns between $55,000 and $135,000 annually but this depends on whether they work for regional or for major international airlines. Other expense allowances, also known as “per diem,” are common within this profession. As such, it would be right to state that the compensation for this profession is very attractive and one of the highest all around the world.

Skills and abilities used in the occupation

The airplane piloting career requires one to be skillful and have the ability to make right decisions under intricate situations (Hirsch-Kreinsen & Jacobson, 2008). Possession of good teamwork skills is also fundamental for airplane pilots as it helps them coordinate with other pilots on the flight deck. In addition, these skills help them to work closely with flight dispatchers and air traffic controllers since they are able to harmonize actions and provide succinct and honest feedback while at their duties.

Employing organizations

The airplane piloting career is a profession in which self-employment is impractical. Most of the professionals are employed by airlines and other airbases to perform their duties as staff members. They could thus work for national, regional, or international airlines.

Multicultural aspects

The piloting career is open to anyone willing and passionate about operating aircraft (Glover, 2013). However, the career has been dominated by male gender since it has been for a long time perceived as the position “noble” and meant for this gender. The rich has also dominated the career since it is a very expensive career course for the poor to afford.

Becoming Employed

For professional pilots, securing an employment opportunity is much easier compared to other professional careers. Once an individual successfully completes training and testing, they are hired by charter companies and at times by the government immediately. This is because the number of professionally qualified pilots is less than the required. Others are hired through applications following advertisements on job boards and other forms of advertisements. This is popular with private institutions wishing to higher their own private pilots.

Typical Job Notices

A typical job notice for this profession lists the job details which includes the position, knowledge, skills and attributes required for a prospective applicant, the conditions of work, details of the salary to be offered, the required tools and techniques, prior learning and certifications recognition and finally the education and entrance requirements. Most of the job notices appear on corporate websites as is evidenced from the Western Australia workforce development website (, 2015).

Work Conditions

The airplane piloting is an involving profession requiring one to possess a diversified skill base. Working effectively in a team is paramount to success since the job requires very high levels of coordination. The job is stressful due to the routine flights required for one to achieve for a prescribed duration of time. Frequent changes in weather conditions, in some cases unforeseen circumstances make their tasks very stressing. Potential to make the right decisions at times of stress is thus applicable in such instances (Mason & Morrison, 2008). The supervision from the captain is very relevant as they have a wide knowledge of different tactics and techniques of ensuring a safe ride at all situations. The supervision is thus always a one on one type. Finally, since most pilots work within aircrafts, most of them spend a considerable amount of time away from their homes. Their varied schedules could often collide with overnight layovers, which mean spending time on the plane all the day.

Certification and Licensing for these professionals

To be employed as a pilot, one is required to be in possession of a Commercial Pilot License or the Airline Transport Pilot License. Certification can be obtained from universities and colleges accredited as training institutions or from private flying schools. After training, one is required to complete practical flying tests to be offered with commercial Pilot’s License, which certifies your potential to perform like a commercial airplane pilot. Further, one could opt for a Private Pilot’s License to be allowed to operate private aircraft (, 2015). With this type of certification, however, one cannot be allowed to operate a commercial airplane as they are said to have little skills in operating them. For one to be offered with a Public Pilot’s License, they should have acquired a Private Pilot’s License and demonstrated their potential to operate the aircraft with the highest levels of professionalism. It is thus clear that the process of attaining the certifications is a requirement for ongoing training.


Airplane piloting like any other career profession contains organizational affiliations with which professionals register for membership. These includes the United States Pilots association, a “grassroots” affiliation of common airplane pilots based in the United states, the American Pilots Association, the national association based in the United States among others.

Job Outlook

The employment rate for airline pilots and copilots is projected to reduce in the coming years (, 2015). The profitability of scheduled airlines is likely to be increased in the future by increased numbers of passengers. Elimination of low demanded routes will be employed as a strategy, which will mean a reduction in the number of flights along heavily demanded routes. The reduction in number of flights will eventually lead to reduced demand in the number of pilots. As such, fewer professionals will be required to fill in open positions.

Lifestyle Impact

The airplane piloting profession is so demanding and requiring, forcing the pilots to spend most of their time away from home. This leads to the pilots running away from their family roles and only having very little time for their loved ones. The fact that the professionals are limited in numbers reduces their chances of having enough vocations and holidays to compensate for their family time. It would thus not be possible for such airplane pilots to enjoy their leisure time, as they are often tired and fatigued.


From the discussion, it is clear that the airplane piloting career is a noble and very rewarding course. One is more acquainted with the piloting skills and becomes more proficient in their operations as they climb the professional ladder. After attaining the highest level in the career path, which is a captain, one receives the highest amount of cash annually as compensation. It is a requirement for one to have moved through the other stages of the career and attained the relevant certifications. These certifications are only offered after successfully passing the tests offered during the course. At the end of everything, one has the choice to work in regional, national, or international airlines with whichever offers the best terms. In conclusion, following your passion as an aircraft pilot is not the absolute requirement for attaining the highest in this profession. One needs to be physically fit and work tirelessly at achieving the required training and test results in order to be certified. Once completed with the certifications, one gets some of the best compensations globally from their employees.

References, (2015). Airline and Commercial Pilots :     Occupational Outlook Handbook: :     U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved 22 February 2015, from,. (2015). Aeroplane pilot. Retrieved 22 February 2015, from,. (2015). Careers in the Military ::. Retrieved 22 February 2015, from

Fraher, A., & Gabriel, Y. (2014). Dreaming of Flying When Grounded: Occupational Identity and Occupational Fantasies of Furloughed Airline Pilots. Journal Of Management Studies, 51(6), 926-951. doi:10.1111/joms.12081

Fullingim, J. F. (2011). The Marketability of Higher Education Aviation Graduates as Perceived by Regional Airline Pilots. Collegiate Aviation Review, 29(1), 28-44.

Glover, S. (2013). Shaping the Right Staff: Gender, Technology and the Cultures of Aviation (phd). The University of Edinburgh.

Hirsch-Kreinsen, H., & Jacobson, D. (2008). Innovation in low-tech firms and industries. Cheltenham, Glos, UK: Edward Elgar.

Mason, K., & Morrison, W. (2008). Towards a means of consistently comparing airline business models with an application to the ‘low cost’ airline sector. Research In Transportation Economics, 24(1), 75-84. doi:10.1016/j.retrec.2009.01.006

Moak, L. (2014). Pilot Shortage? No, It’s a Pay Shortage. Aviation Week & Space Technology, 176(32), 58.

Qi, E., Shen, J., & Dou, R. (2013). International Asia Conference on Industrial Engineering and Management (IEMI2012) proceedings. Berlin: Springer.

Vasigh, B., Fleming, K., & Humphreys, B. (2014). Foundations of Airline Finance. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis.

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