Best Helicopter Pilot Jobs in Idaho

Editor’s note: The following article is not intended to be a ranking, but is only to serve as a list of possible options. As the saying goes, your mileage may vary.

The beautiful landscape, green fields and snow-capped mountains of Idaho may be coaxing you to enjoy the great outdoors and look for a new career in the state. Being a helicopter pilot in Idaho can come with many benefits. 

Here, FLYING examines Idaho-based helicopter pilot jobs that stand out as having high rewards and healthy salaries.

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Quicklook: Best Helicopter Pilot Jobs in Idaho

  • Best opportunity for remote work: Aerial Application Helicopter Pilot
  • Best for internal satisfaction: Emergency Medical Service/Air Ambulance Helicopter Pilot  
  • Best for job security: Law Enforcement Helicopter Pilot
  • Best for building hours: Flight Instructor Pilot

4 Best Helicopter Pilot Jobs – Idaho

When choosing the best helicopter job for you in Idaho, it is best to understand what kind of industry you are looking to get into, if this is a time-building stepping stone, and the size of the company. Once you have gauged these metrics, you can look into jobs that fit the bill. Here are our top picks for the best helicopter jobs in Idaho.

Aerial Application Helicopter Pilot

Idaho has nearly 25,000 farms and ranches spread over 11.8 million acres of land that produces more than 185 different crops. This means there are plenty of opportunities to work as an agriculture/aerial application (crop dusting) pilot. Some of the aerial application pilot jobs within the state are state-funded and come with great benefits.

Location: Throughout Idaho (with potential travel to other states)

Salary or Per-Trip Price: On average, in Idaho, aerial application helicopter pilots make $77,000 per year with high earners making more than $78,304 per year.

Benefits: 

  • Opportunities for contract, employed, and government positions 
  • Opportunities for low-time hour pilots and time-building
  • Work rotating weeks/months

Disadvantages: 

  • One of the highest fatality rates in aviation
  • Working with pesticides and other hazardous materials
  • Some positions may be seasonal

Emergency Medical Service/Air Ambulance Helicopter Pilot 

Emergency medical service helicopter pilots are a top pilot job in Idaho and those that do it are an essential part of the emergency service department. Being part of the front line, emergency service helicopter pilots help save lives. 

Location: All major cities in Idaho have an air ambulance division.

Salary or Per-Trip Price: The average salary for medical services pilots in Idaho is $70,526, with the potential to make more in metropolitan areas.

Benefits: 

  • Most emergency service or hospital air ambulance divisions offer comprehensive health benefits packages with medical/hospital coverage
  • Average pay for a helicopter pilot in the state
  • Supporting emergency medical services can provide intrinsic rewards

Disadvantages: 

  • High stress 
  • High risk  
  • On call for long hours

Law Enforcement Helicopter Pilot

Law enforcement helicopter pilots, similar to medevac pilots, are at the front line in emergencies. Being a law enforcement helicopter pilot is a highly skilled position that requires the ability to maneuver and land in crowded metropolitan areas as well as mountainous terrain.  Law enforcement helicopter pilots can be employed as a deputy sheriff for a county, as an officer for a city police department, or as an agent for a national organization, like the Border Patrol or the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Location: Throughout Idaho with high demand in metropolitan areas 

Salary or Per-Trip Price: On average, in Idaho, law enforcement helicopter pilots make $95,030 per year.

Benefits: 

  • Great medical, vision, and 401K-employer supported benefits 
  • Public service career
  • Job security

Disadvantages: 

  • High risk environment with exposure to criminal activity 
  • Entry-level pay can be lower than average, depending on the employer

Flight Instructor Pilot

Flight instructors in Idaho can be employed by a number of different flight schools. With reasonable hour accrual on a weekly basis, helicopter flight instructors can build hours quickly while getting paid. This makes being a flight instructor perfect for building hours.

Location: Many locations in Idaho have flight schools.

Salary or Per-Trip Price: $15-25 per hour

Benefits: 

  • Perfect for time building 
  • Set hours day-to-day 
  • Train new pilots

Disadvantages: 

  • Lower paying than most helicopter pilot jobs in Idaho 

Commercial Helicopter Pilot Requirements in Idaho

To become a commercial pilot in the state of Idaho you must:

  • Hold a current commercial helicopter pilot certificate
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Read, speak, write, and understand the English language
  • Hold at least a second-class medical certificate
  • Obtain a minimum of 40 hours of helicopter flight training and 10 hours of ground instruction
  • Satisfactorily pass an FAA-required flight test

After all the requirements are completed, you may apply for helicopter jobs within the state. 

How Long Does It Take To Become a Commercial Helicopter Pilot? 

The timeframe it takes to become a helicopter pilot depends a lot on how much time you devote to training and where you complete your training. It can take six to 12 months to earn a commercial helicopter pilot certificate from start to finish if you are training full time.  For part-time student pilots, a commercial helicopter pilot certificate can take longer, up to 12 to 24 months. 

What To Consider When Looking for Helicopter Pilot Jobs

When determining if a helicopter pilot job is right for you, there are several basic questions you should ask: 

1) Does the company offer job security? 

2) What are the safety protocols? 

3) How much will you make? 

4) What is the location of the position? 

Choose the position that best meets your requirements in each of these areas before applying.

Job Security

Helicopter pilot jobs normally come with inherent job security due to the high-demand for skilled and experienced pilots, and the technical skills the job requires, but it is important to understand your potential employer’s industry and operations, as these may affect job security. Job security is important to take into consideration when applying for a helicopter pilot job because you do not want to be stuck looking for a new position, in cases of company closure, bankruptcy, or a recession. Look for long-standing companies that have years of experience hiring and training pilots. Ask current and former employees their opinions or look at reviews online to gauge job security.

Safety 

It’s important to show that you put safety first in any aviation profession, but especially as a pilot. Safety in the aviation industry should be at the forefront of everyone’s minds. Companies that hire helicopter pilots should be dedicated to the safety of the pilot as well as the passengers. Research the safety protocols of the companies you apply to online or by asking current and former pilots. During your interviews, ask the hiring manager if there are any specific safety protocols you should be aware of before taking the position. 

Salary

Salary is one of the most important metrics when applying for a new position. Set a guideline for yourself and your family and apply to companies and positions that meet those guidelines. If you are right out of flight school, do not have unrealistic expectations of salary, but find the best position to fit your needs in the short term. The more experience you get, the higher the salary you can ask for. Salaries for helicopter pilot jobs in Idaho average between $77,427 to $117,382. a year, or more; however, the average salary for helicopter pilots in Idaho hovers about $95,030 per year.

Location

When searching for a pilot job, focus on the area you want to live in. Whether that be Idaho or another state, helicopter pilot jobs are everywhere, so choose a location you will be happy to live in for the long term.

Intermountain West Takeoff 

Applying to a new job can be daunting but in Idaho, you have options. Choosing the best helicopter job in Idaho for you can be easy if you take into consideration the most important metrics, safety, salary, location, and job security. Learn more about helicopter pilot jobs and stay up to date on the top news in aviation by subscribing to FLYING Magazine.

FAQ

What is a commercial pilot?

A commercial pilot is a pilot who has met the requirements set by the Federal Aviation Administration to hold a commercial pilot certificate, which allows them to apply for jobs and get paid for being a pilot.

How much do helicopter pilots make?

The average salary of a helicopter pilot in the U.S. is about $94,519 a year. On average, helicopter pilots make anywhere from $80,148 to $121,547 a year

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