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Airline Pilot & Flight Crew Major

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Airline Pilot & Flight Crew

657 Associates's Degrees Annually
654 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
#63 in Popularity (Associate's)
$96,530 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Airline Pilot & Flight Crew Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many airline/commercial/professional pilot and flight crew graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Associate’s Degree 657
Bachelor’s Degree 654
Basic Certificate 615
Undergraduate Certificate 83

What Airline Pilot & Flight Crew Majors Need to Know

In an O*NET survey, airline/commercial/professional pilot and flight crew majors were asked to rate what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important in their occupations. These answers were weighted on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the most important.

Knowledge Areas for Airline/Commercial/Professional Pilot and Flight Crew Majors

According to O*NET survey takers, a major in airline/commercial/professional pilot and flight crew should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:

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  • 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.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Skills for Airline/Commercial/Professional Pilot and Flight Crew Majors

When studying airline/commercial/professional pilot and flight crew, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

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  • 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.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • 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.

Abilities for Airline/Commercial/Professional Pilot and Flight Crew Majors

As you progress with your airline/commercial/professional pilot and flight crew degree, there are several abilities you should pick up that will help you in whatever related career you choose. These abilities include:

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  • Control Precision - The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Near Vision - The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Far Vision - The ability to see details at a distance.

What Can You Do With a Airline Pilot & Flight Crew Major?

Below is a list of occupations associated with airline/commercial/professional pilot and flight crew:

Job Title Job Growth Rate Median Salary
Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers 3.5% $140,340
Commercial Pilots 3.7% $82,240

Who Is Getting an Associate’s Degree in Airline Pilot & Flight Crew?

657 Associate's Degrees Annually
11% Percent Women
25% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
This major attracts more men than women. About 89% of the graduates in this field are male.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of airline/commercial/professional pilot and flight crew majors is as follows:

Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Airline/Commercial/Professional Pilot and Flight Crew Students with Associate's Degrees
Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 25
Black or African American 19
Hispanic or Latino 95
White 428
International Students 30
Other Races/Ethnicities 60

Geographic Diversity

Americans aren’t the only ones with an interest in Airline/Commercial/Professional Pilot and Flight Crew. About 4.6% of those with this major are international students.

How Much Do Airline Pilot & Flight Crew Majors Make?

Salaries According to BLS

Airline/Commercial/Professional Pilot and Flight Crew majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $96,530 to $169,560 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.

Median Salary for an Airline Pilot & Flight Crew Major  ( 96530 to 169560 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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250K
Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some careers associated with airline/commercial/professional pilot and flight crew require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.

Find out what the typical degree level is for airline/commercial/professional pilot and flight crew careers below.

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Education Level Percentage of Workers
High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED) 14.7%
Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production) 22.2%
Some College Courses 2.8%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 11.8%
Bachelor’s Degree 40.4%
Master’s Degree 6.2%
First Professional Degree - awarded for completion of a program that: requires at least 2 years of college work before entrance into the program, includes a total of at least 6 academic years of work to complete, and provides all remaining academic requirements to begin practice in a profession. 0.8%

Online Airline Pilot & Flight Crew Programs

In 2018-2019, 122 schools offered a airline/commercial/professional pilot and flight crew program of some type. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.

Degree Level Colleges Offering Programs Colleges Offering Online Classes
Certificate (Less Than 1 Year) 36 1
Certificate (1-2 years) 24 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 2 0
Associate’s Degree 84 3
Bachelor’s Degree 1 0
Post-Baccalaureate 36 1
Master’s Degree 0 0
Post-Master’s 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Research) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice) 0 0
Doctor’s Degree (Other) 0 0

Is a Degree in Airline Pilot & Flight Crew Worth It?

The median salary for a airline/commercial/professional pilot and flight crew grad is $96,530 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.

This is 142% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $1,132,600 after 20 years!

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You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to airline/commercial/professional pilot and flight crew.

Major Number of Grads
General Aeronautics/Aviation/Aerospace Science & Technology 3,517
Aviation/Airway Management & Operations 1,306
Air Traffic Controller 373
Other Air Transportation 343
Airline Flight Attendant 71
Flight Instructor 51

References

*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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