There are many opportunities available for you to pursue, and not only as a pilot. Help lead flight into the future with a career in aviation!

What career fields are there available for a PROFESSIONAL PILOT? 

Previously we used the term recreational pilot – someone who flies for the joy of airmanship. However, many individuals are compensated for being a pilot. Although the following is very simplified, it does explain the basic professional opportunities available for professional pilots. A general job description is also given. 

Commercial Pilot – Pilots receiving compensation in smaller aircraft types or acting as second in command or flight engineer on larger aircraft types.

Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) or Certified Flight Instructor Instruments (CFII) – Instead of being the pilot learning, you are now the pilot instructing.

Corporate Pilot – Pilots operating for compensation for corporations. Sizes of aircraft can vary from smaller single-engine aircraft to very large aircrafts requiring type ratings.

Part 135 Pilot – Not quite general aviation, but not quite regional airline flying. This is one of the time building jobs for pilots going to the next professional level. These pilots carry lighter loads of freight, packages or passengers in smaller aircraft (realize that small is a relative term – it probably seems like a Boeing 747 to the starter pilot).

Regional Airline Pilot – Pilots of aircraft who, by description, typically carry more than 20, but less than 100 passengers.

Major Airline Pilots – This represents the maximum professional achievement level for pilots, not only in terms of aircraft size, but also in terms of compensation. Major airline pilots include passenger carrying air carriers as well as cargo air carriers.

Military – This is an alternative career path progression in comparison to the civilian option. If the risk of a military commitment does not sway you, this can be a doubly rewarding opportunity. Spend 20 years in the military and earn a pension. Then join the major airlines and earn a second pension as you start your second career.


There are also a host of non-pilot careers in aviation including, but not limited to, Mechanic, Air Traffic Controller, Dispatcher, Human Resource Administrator, Station Manager, Gate Agent, Ticket Agent, Loaders, Utility Service Person, Scheduler, Air Carrier Inspector, and Reservations.

For full descriptions and additional non-pilot career options visit