Five ‘In Demand’ Jobs for Pilots… Right Now!

Although the job markets in many industries remain stagnant, many potential careers with the highest demand for qualified personnel are in the aviation industry. These job opportunities also represent a diverse and challenging range of missions and environments for both experienced and relatively new pilot candidates.

Oil Rig Helicopter Pilot – The global demand for pilots to operate helicopters transporting crews to and from oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico, Pacific Coast, and other drilling locations around the world has far exceeded supply of qualified flight crews, making this career path an ideal opportunity for those seeking significant flight time in often challenging conditions. Average salaries also reflect this need, with average pay rates of approximately $100,000 per year for pilots in the oil and gas industries.

Flight Instructor – While becoming a certified flight instructor (CFI) often represents the first stop for a pilot who has recently earned their commercial rating, flight instruction is not solely a method to build hours towards a later career in air carrier operations. With global demand for pilots expected to surmount supply in the near future, qualified instructors will be needed to train for these jobs... and, any CFI will tell you that there's nothing quite like witnessing a student you've trained taking to the skies on their first solo flight.

USDA Forest Service Pilot - Flying above our national parks, forests, and wild lands not only promises the potential for some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable; it also offers lucrative starting pay and benefits. The agency's Fire and Aviation Management division encompasses helicopter and fixed wing operations; fire fighters and fire safety personnel; aviation and ground safety professionals; and radio communications and electronic technicians, dispatchers, and communications personnel. Recent droughts and wildfires have placed particular emphasis on the need for qualified personnel in these fields.

Military Pilot - Flying in service of the armed forces encompasses far more than strapping on an F-16 and flying off in pursuit of enemy bogies. Military flight operations also consist of such diverse missions as cargo and personnel transport; reconnaissance operations; ground support and medevac flying; naval vessel resupply and provisioning; and procurement operations. As some of these missions are transferred to unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), qualified pilots will be needed not only to operate those systems, but also to crew manned fixed-wing aircraft and rotorcraft.

Corporate Pilot - Offering the chance to fly to a variety of domestic and international destinations – often with little advance notice, but in the latest and most advanced aircraft and with many opportunities to explore new destinations and surroundings – there is also high demand for pilots operating business jets on both domestic and international missions. In addition to corporate flight departments, job opportunities are also available with fractional operators, charter providers, and other Part 91 and 135 operations. Just as these entities are in need of pilots, so too is the urgent need for qualified aircraft maintenance technicians (AMTs) and aircraft electronics technicians, as well.

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