Summary Report for:
53-2012.00 - Commercial Pilots
Pilot and navigate the flight of fixed-wing aircraft on nonscheduled air carrier routes, or helicopters. Requires Commercial Pilot certificate. Includes charter pilots with similar certification, and air ambulance and air tour pilots. Excludes regional, national, and international airline pilots.
Sample of reported job titles: Captain, Charter Pilot, Check Airman, Chief Pilot, Commercial Pilot, EMS Helicopter Pilot (Emergency Medical Service Helicopter Pilot), First Officer, Helicopter Pilot, Line Pilot, Pilot
Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Use instrumentation to pilot aircraft when visibility is poor.
- Start engines, operate controls, and pilot airplanes to transport passengers, mail, or freight according to flight plans, regulations, and procedures.
- Monitor engine operation, fuel consumption, and functioning of aircraft systems during flights.
- Check aircraft prior to flights to ensure that the engines, controls, instruments, and other systems are functioning properly.
- Consider airport altitudes, outside temperatures, plane weights, and wind speeds and directions to calculate the speed needed to become airborne.
- Contact control towers for takeoff clearances, arrival instructions, and other information, using radio equipment.
- Obtain and review data such as load weights, fuel supplies, weather conditions, and flight schedules to determine flight plans and identify needed changes.
- File instrument flight plans with air traffic control so that flights can be coordinated with other air traffic.
- Check baggage or cargo to ensure that it has been loaded correctly.
- Order changes in fuel supplies, loads, routes, or schedules to ensure safety of flights.
- Plan flights according to government and company regulations, using aeronautical charts and navigation instruments.
- Choose routes, altitudes, and speeds that will provide the fastest, safest, and smoothest flights.
- Co-pilot aircraft or perform captain's duties, as required.
- Coordinate flight activities with ground crews and air traffic control, and inform crew members of flight and test procedures.
- Request changes in altitudes or routes as circumstances dictate.
- Write specified information in flight records, such as flight times, altitudes flown, and fuel consumption.
- Supervise other crew members.
- Fly with other pilots or pilot-license applicants to evaluate their proficiency.
- Rescue and evacuate injured persons.
- Instruct other pilots and student pilots in aircraft operations.
- Teach company regulations and procedures to other pilots.
- Perform minor aircraft maintenance and repair work, or arrange for major maintenance.
- Conduct in-flight tests and evaluations at specified altitudes and in all types of weather to determine the receptivity and other characteristics of equipment and systems.
- Plan and formulate flight activities and test schedules and prepare flight evaluation reports.
- Pilot airplanes or helicopters over farmlands at low altitudes to dust or spray fields with fertilizers, fungicides, or pesticides.
- Check the flight performance of new and experimental planes.
- Analytical or scientific software — Pilot Navigator Software Load Balance
- Calendar and scheduling software — SBS International Maestro Suite
- Data base user interface and query software — Airline Pilots Daily Aviation Logs PPC; AirSmith FlightPrompt; doXstor Flight Level Logbook; Skylog Services Skylog Pro (see all 10 examples)
- Development environment software — Standard generalized markup language SGML
- Flight control software — Flight simulation software
- Information retrieval or search software — AeroPlanner; Notam Development Group Airport Insight
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Route navigation software — Navzilla
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
- Adjustable widemouth pliers — Oil filter pliers
- Aerospace cockpit display panels — Electronic flight instrument systems EFIS
- Aerospace head up display HUDs — Head-up guidance systems HGS
- Aircraft anti skid controls — Anti-skid systems
- Aircraft braking systems — Autobrakes; Pneumatic emergency brake systems; Power brake systems
- Aircraft communication systems — Digital communications display units DCDU; High frequency HF radio communication systems; On-board intercom systems; Ultra high frequency UHF radio communication systems (see all 5 examples)
- Aircraft cooling fans — Equipment cooling controls
- Aircraft deicing equipment — De-icing equipment
- Aircraft environment controllers — Air pressurization systems; Emergency pressurization systems; Recirculation control systems
- Aircraft environment regulators — Air conditioning systems
- Aircraft escape or ejection systems — Emergency exit slides; Emergency life rafts
- Aircraft fire control or extinguishing systems — Engine fire extinguishing systems; Fire suppression and control systems
- Aircraft flight simulators or trainers — Flight simulators
- Aircraft fuel management systems — Fuel control systems
- Aircraft guidance systems — Automatic direction finder ADF radio systems; Distance measuring equipment DME; Local area augmentation system LAAS receivers; Microwave landing system MLS receivers (see all 14 examples)
- Aircraft hydraulic systems — Electro-hydraulic control systems
- Aircraft navigation beacons — Nondirectional radio beacon markers
- Aircraft onboard defrosting or defogging systems — Engine anti-icing equipment; Windscreen ice control systems; Wing anti-ice systems
- Aircraft oxygen equipment — Continuous flow emergency oxygen systems; Passenger oxygen control systems
- Aircraft power supply units — Power generation and distribution control systems
- Aircraft steering controls — Automatic landing systems; Mechanical nose wheel steering systems; Yaw damper systems
- Aircraft warning systems — Airborne collision avoidance systems ACAS; Engine indicating and crew alerting systems EICAS; Ground proximity warning systems GPWS; Traffic alert and collision avoidance system TCAS (see all 6 examples)
- Desktop computers
- Fire extinguishers — Multipurpose fire extinguishers
- Flight computer systems — Air data computers; Autopilot systems; Flight director FD systems; Stability augmentation systems SAS
- Landing gear assemblies — Hydraulic landing gear systems
- Locking pliers — Channel lock pliers; Vise grip pliers
- Multimeters — Digital multimeters
- Notebook computers — Laptop computers
- Personal computers
- Personal digital assistant PDAs or organizers — Personal digital assistants PDA
- Plotter printers — Plotters
- Pocket calculator — Handheld calculators
- Specialty wrenches — Oil filter wrenches
- Transportation — Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
- 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.
- 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.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- 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.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- 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.
- Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
- Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
- Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- 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.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- 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.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- 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.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
- Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- Rate Control — The ability to time your movements or the movement of a piece of equipment in anticipation of changes in the speed and/or direction of a moving object or scene.
- Spatial Orientation — The ability to know your location in relation to the environment or to know where other objects are in relation to you.
- Time Sharing — The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Hearing Sensitivity — The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Glare Sensitivity — The ability to see objects in the presence of glare or bright lighting.
- Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Speed of Closure — The ability to quickly make sense of, combine, and organize information into meaningful patterns.
- Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Interacting With Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
Detailed Work Activities
- Pilot aircraft.
- Inspect aircraft or aircraft components.
- Monitor engine operation or functioning.
- Choose optimal transportation routes or speeds.
- Communicate with others to coordinate vehicle movement.
- Review work orders or schedules to determine operations or procedures.
- Inspect cargo to ensure it is properly loaded or secured.
- Resolve issues affecting transportation operations.
- Plan flight operations.
- Assist others during emergencies.
- Coordinate flight control or management activities.
- Record operational details of travel.
- Train transportation or material moving personnel.
- Direct passenger or freight transport activities.
- Evaluate performance of applicants, trainees, or employees.
- Arrange maintenance activities.
- Maintain vehicles in good working condition.
- Test performance of aircraft equipment.
- Contact With Others — 69% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 76% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 74% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 71% responded “Extremely important.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 65% responded “Very important results.”
- In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 64% responded “Every day.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 70% responded “Every day.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 51% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 68% responded “Every day.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 57% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 62% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 60% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Consequence of Error — 78% responded “Extremely serious.”
- Physical Proximity — 44% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 64% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Deal With External Customers — 54% responded “Extremely important.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 52% responded “Extremely important.”
- Spend Time Sitting — 50% responded “More than half the time.”
- Time Pressure — 42% responded “Every day.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 45% responded “Very high responsibility.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 38% responded “Very important.”
- Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions — 43% responded “Every day.”
- Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — 44% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 38% responded “Very important.”
- Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 52% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 44% responded “Every day.”
- Level of Competition — 44% responded “Highly competitive.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 51% responded “Every day.”
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 34% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Electronic Mail — 31% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 33% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 38% responded “Every day.”
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — 42% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 42% responded “More than 40 hours.”
- Letters and Memos — 28% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
|Title||Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.|
|Related Experience||Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include hydroelectric production managers, travel guides, electricians, agricultural technicians, barbers, court reporters, and medical assistants.|
|SVP Range||(6.0 to < 7.0)|
Interest code: RIE Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Recognition — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2020)||$93,300 annual|
|Employment (2019)||41,600 employees|
|Projected growth (2019-2029)||Much faster than average (8% or higher)|
|Projected job openings (2019-2029)||4,400|
|Top industries (2019)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2019-2029 employment projections . "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2019-2029). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Air Line Pilots Association, International
- Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
- Civil Air Patrol
- Helicopter Association International
- Independent Pilots Association
- National Business Aviation Association
- National EMS Pilots Association
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Airline and commercial pilots