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Pilot Average Salary in United States 2020

How much money does a Pilot make in United States?

Average Yearly Salary
101,000 USD
( 8,450 USD monthly)


A person working as a Pilot in United States typically earns around 101,000 USD per year. Salaries range from 50,700 USD (lowest) to 157,000 USD (highest).

This is the average yearly salary including housing, transport, and other benefits. Pilot salaries vary drastically based on experience, skills, gender, or location. Below you will find a detailed breakdown based on many different criteria.

Pilot Salary Distribution in United States

Median and salary distribution yearly United States Pilot
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The median, the maximum, the minimum, and the range

  • Salary Range

    Pilot salaries in United States range from 50,700 USD per year (minimum salary) to 157,000 USD per year (maximum salary).

  • Median Salary

    The median salary is 101,000 USD per year, which means that half (50%) of people working as Pilot(s) are earning less than 101,000 USD while the other half are earning more than 101,000 USD. The median represents the middle salary value. Generally speaking, you would want to be on the right side of the graph with the group earning more than the median salary.

  • Percentiles

    Closely related to the median are two values: the 25th and the 75th percentiles. Reading from the salary distribution diagram, 25% of Pilot(s) are earning less than 68,400 USD while 75% of them are earning more than 68,400 USD. Also from the diagram, 75% of Pilot(s) are earning less than 129,000 USD while 25% are earning more than 129,000 USD.

What is the difference between the median and the average salary?

Both are indicators. If your salary is higher than both of the average and the median then you are doing very well. If your salary is lower than both, then many people are earning more than you and there is plenty of room for improvement. If your wage is between the average and the median, then things can be a bit complicated. We wrote a guide to explain all about the different scenarios. How to compare your salary

Pilot Salary Comparison by Years of Experience

How does experience and age affect your pay?

Salary comparison by years of experience yearly United States Pilot
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The experience level is the most important factor in determining the salary. Naturally the more years of experience the higher your wage. We broke down Pilot salaries by experience level and this is what we found.

A Pilot with less than two years of experience makes approximately 60,800 USD per year.

While someone with an experience level between two and five years is expected to earn 80,500 USD per year, 32% more than someone with less than two year's experience.

Moving forward, an experience level between five and ten years lands a salary of 108,000 USD per year, 34% more than someone with two to five years of experience.

On average, a person's salary doubles their starting salary by the time they cross the 10 years* experience mark.
* Based on the average change in salary over time. Salary variations differ from person to person.

Additionally, Pilot(s) whose expertise span anywhere between ten and fifteen years get a salary equivalent to 128,000 USD per year, 19% more than someone with five to ten years of experience.

If the experience level is between fifteen and twenty years, then the expected wage is 138,000 USD per year, 8% more than someone with ten to fifteen years of experience.

Lastly, employees with more than twenty years of professional experience get a salary of 149,000 USD per year, 7% more than people with fifteen to twenty years of experience.

Pilot average salary change by experience in United States

0 - 2 Years
60,800 USD
2 - 5 Years+32%
80,500 USD
5 - 10 Years+34%
108,000 USD
10 - 15 Years+19%
128,000 USD
15 - 20 Years+8%
138,000 USD
20+ Years+7%
149,000 USD
Percentage increase and decrease are relative to the previous value

Typical Salary Progress for Most Careers

Salary Comparison By Experience Level
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Pilot Salary Comparison By Education

How do education levels affect salaries?

Displayed below is the average salary difference between different Pilot(s) who have the same experience but different education levels.

Salary comparison by education level yearly United States Pilot
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We all know that higher education equals a bigger salary, but how much more money can a degree add to your income? We broke down Pilot salaries by education level in order to make a comparison.

When the education level is Certificate or Diploma, the average salary of a Pilot is 80,500 USD per year.

While someone with a Bachelor's Degree gets a salary of 110,000 USD per year, 37% more than someone having a Certificate or Diploma degree.

A Master's Degree gets its holder an average salary of 142,000 USD per year, 29% more than someone with a Bachelor's Degree.

Pilot average salary difference by education level in United States

Certificate or Diploma
80,500 USD
Bachelor's Degree+37%
110,000 USD
Master's Degree+29%
142,000 USD
Percentage increase and decrease are relative to the previous value

Is a Master's degree or an MBA worth it? Should you pursue higher education?

A Master's degree program or any post-graduate program in United States costs anywhere from 36,500 US Dollar(s) to 109,000 US Dollar(s) and lasts approximately two years. That is quite an investment.

You can't really expect any salary increases during the study period, assuming you already have a job. In most cases, a salary review is conducted once education is completed and the degree has been attained.

Many people pursue higher education as a tactic to switch into a higher paying job. The numbers seem to support the thoery. The average increase in compensation while changing jobs is approximately 10% more than the customary salary increment.

If you can afford the costs of higher education, the return on investment is definitely worth it. You should be able to recover the costs in roughly a year or so.

Typical Salary Difference by Education for Most Careers

Salary Comparison By Education Level
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Pilot Salary Comparison By Gender

Salary comparison by gender yearly United States Pilot
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Though gender should not have an effect on pay, in reality, it does. So who gets paid more: men or women? Male Pilot employees in United States earn 5% more than their female counterparts.

99,000 USD
104,000 USD
Percentage increase and decrease are relative to the previous value

Salary Comparison By Gender in United States for all Careers

Salary comparison by gender yearly United States
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Pilot Average Annual Salary Increment Percentage in United States

How much are annual salary increments in United States for Pilot(s)? How often do employees get salary raises?


Pilot(s) in United States are likely to observe a salary increase of approximately 12% every 17 months. The national average annual increment for all professions combined is 8% granted to employees every 16 months.

Annual Salary Increment Rate United States Pilot
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The figures provided here are averages of numbers. Those figures should be taken as general guidelines. Salary increments will vary from person to person and depend on many factors, but your performance and contribution to the success of the organization remain the most important factors in determining how much and how often you will be granted a raise.

United States / All Professions

Annual Salary Increment Rate United States
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The term 'Annual Salary Increase' usually refers to the increase in 12 calendar month period, but because it is rarely that people get their salaries reviewed exactly on the one year mark, it is more meaningful to know the frequency and the rate at the time of the increase.

How to calculate the salary increment percentage?

The annual salary Increase in a calendar year (12 months) can be easily calculated as follows: Annual Salary Increase = Increase Rate x 12 ÷ Increase Frequency

The average salary increase in one year (12 months) in United States is 6%.

Annual Increment Rate By Industry 2019

Information Technology

Listed above are the average annual increase rates for each industry in United States for the year 2019. Companies within thriving industries tend to provide higher and more frequent raises. Exceptions do exist, but generally speaking, the situation of any company is closely related to the economic situation in the country or region. These figures tend to change frequently.

Worldwide Salary Raises: All Countries and All Jobs

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Pilot Bonus and Incentive Rates in United States

How much and how often are bonuses being awarded?Annual Salary Bonus Rate United States Pilot
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A Pilot is considered to be a high bonus-based job due to the generally limited involvement in direct revenue generation, with exceptions of course. The people who get the highest bonuses are usually somehow involved in the revenue generation cycle.

18% of surveyed staff reported that they haven't received any bonuses or incentives in the previous year while 82% said that they received at least one form of monetary bonus.

Those who got bonuses reported rates ranging from 5% to 8% of their annual salary.

Received Bonus
No Bonus

Types of Bonuses Considered

Individual Performance-Based Bonuses

The most standard form of bonus where the employee is awarded based on their exceptional performance.

Company Performance Bonuses

Occasionally, some companies like to celebrate excess earnings and profits with their staff collectively in the form of bonuses that are granted to everyone. The amount of the bonus will probably be different from person to person depending on their role within the organization.

Goal-Based Bonuses

Granted upon achieving an important goal or milestone.

Holiday / End of Year Bonuses

These types of bonuses are given without a reason and usually resemble an appreciation token.

Bonuses Are Not Commissions!

People tend to confuse bonuses with commissions. A commission is a prefixed rate at which someone gets paid for items sold or deals completed while a bonus is in most cases arbitrary and unplanned.

What makes a position worthy of good bonuses and a high salary?

The main two types of jobs

Revenue GeneratorsSupporting Cast

Employees that are directly involved in generating revenue or profit for the organization. Their field of expertise usually matches the type of business.

Employees that support and facilitate the work of revenue generators. Their expertise is usually different from that of the core business operations.

A graphics designer working for a graphics designing company.

A graphic designer in the marketing department of a hospital.

Revenue generators usually get more and higher bonuses, higher salaries, and more frequent salary increments. The reason is quite simple: it is easier to quantify your value to the company in monetary terms when you participate in revenue generation.

Try to work for companies where your skills can generate revenue. We can't all generate revenue and that's perfectly fine.

Bonus Comparison by Seniority Level

Top management personnel and senior employees naturally exhibit higher bonus rates and frequencies than juniors. This is very predictable due to the inherent responsibilities of being higher in the hierarchy. People in top positions can easily get double or triple bonus rates than employees down the pyramid.

Government vs Private Sector Salary Comparison

Public vs private sector salaries yearly United States
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Where can you get paid more, working for a private company or for the government? Public sector Pilot employees in United States earn 5% more than their private sector counterparts.

Private Sector
85,400 USD
Public Sector+5%
89,700 USD
Percentage increase and decrease are relative to the previous value

Pilot Salary Trend and Forecast in United States

How are Pilot salaries changing over time? Listed below is a chart that shows the average salary in recent years.

Salary trends and forecast yearly United States Pilot
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Average Salary 2016
91,600 USD
Average Salary 2017+4%
95,000 USD
Average Salary 2018+2%
97,300 USD
Average Salary 2019+1%
98,600 USD
Percentage increase and decrease are relative to the previous value

Pilot salaries in United States are on the rise in the year 2020 based on recent submitted salaries and reports. As displayed in the chart, salaries in 2019 are 1% higher than those of 2018. The trend suggests a slow yet continuous increase in pay in 2021 and future years. These numbers may vary from industry to another.

Pilot Average Hourly Wage in United States

49 USD per hour

The average hourly wage (pay per hour) in United States is 49 USD. This means that the average Pilot in United States earns approximately 49 USD for every worked hour.

Hourly Wage = Annual Salary ÷ ( 52 x 5 x 8 )

The hourly wage is the salary paid in one worked hour. Usually jobs are classified into two categories: salaried jobs and hourly jobs. Salaried jobs pay a fix amount regardless of the hours worked. Hourly jobs pay per worked hour. To convert salary into hourly wage the above formula is used (assuming 5 working days in a week and 8 working hours per day which is the standard for most jobs). The hourly wage calculation may differ slightly depending on the worked hours per week and the annual vacation allowance. The figures mentioned above are good approximations and are considered to be the standard. One major difference between salaried employees and hourly paid employees is overtime eligibility. Salaried employees are usually exempt from overtime as opposed to hourly paid staff.

Pilot VS Other Jobs

Salary Comparison Between Pilot and Airlines / Aviation / Aerospace / Defense yearly United States
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The average salary for Pilot is 18% more than that of Airlines / Aviation / Aerospace / Defense. Also, Airlines / Aviation / Aerospace / Defense salaries are 2% less than those of All Jobs.

Salary comparison with similar jobs

Job TitleAverage Salary
Aeronautical Engineer85,700 USD-15%
Aerospace Engineer100,000 USD-1%
Aerospace Technician79,300 USD-22%
Air Crew Officer70,400 USD-31%
Air Traffic Assistant76,100 USD-25%
Air Traffic Controller87,100 USD-14%
Aircraft Captain99,400 USD-2%
Aircraft Electrician78,600 USD-22%
Aircraft Engineer92,600 USD-9%
Aircraft Fueler66,000 USD-35%
Aircraft Maintenance Manager96,500 USD-5%
Aircraft Maintenance Supervisor92,800 USD-8%
Aircraft Maintenance Technician63,000 USD-38%
Aircraft Mechanic76,500 USD-25%
Aircraft Quality Assurance106,000 USD+5%
Airfield Management Specialist107,000 USD+6%
Airfield Operations Specialist105,000 USD+4%
Airline Cabin Crew93,100 USD-8%
Airline Copilot94,100 USD-7%
Airlines Sales Manager85,000 USD-16%
Airlines Structural Assembler58,600 USD-42%
Airport Services Agent77,000 USD-24%
Airport Services Manager113,000 USD+11%
Assistant Aircraft Mechanic68,000 USD-33%
Aviation Analyst102,000 USD+1%
Aviation Inspector88,100 USD-13%
Aviation Manager122,000 USD+20%
Aviation Operations Controller93,000 USD-8%
Aviation Resources Manager120,000 USD+18%
Aviation Safety Manager118,000 USD+16%
Aviation Safety Officer95,600 USD-6%
Aviation Technician66,200 USD-35%
Cargo Executive76,400 USD-25%
Chief Pilot102,000 USD+1%
First Officer76,300 USD-25%
Fleet Management Officer71,100 USD-30%
Flight Attendant77,800 USD-23%
Flight Scheduler81,900 USD-19%
Flight Simulation Engineer78,700 USD-22%
Freight and Cargo Inspector80,900 USD-20%
Helicopter Pilot94,100 USD-7%
Loading Bridge Operator63,900 USD-37%
Pilot101,000 USD-0%
Ramp Agent67,800 USD-33%
Reservations Sales Agent67,400 USD-34%
Safety and Quality Specialist80,200 USD-21%
Test Pilot94,900 USD-6%

Salary Comparison By City

CityAverage Salary
Atlanta94,300 USD
Austin114,000 USD
Baltimore99,300 USD
Boston109,000 USD
Bristol82,100 USD
Chicago117,000 USD
Cincinnati87,200 USD
Cleveland92,100 USD
Dallas118,000 USD
Denver111,000 USD
Detroit108,000 USD
Honolulu86,400 USD
Houston116,000 USD
Indianapolis106,000 USD
Iowa City88,300 USD
Jacksonville108,000 USD
Kansas City97,300 USD
Kent82,400 USD
Las Vegas102,000 USD
Long Beach99,200 USD
Los Angeles128,000 USD
Memphis109,000 USD
Miami100,000 USD
Minneapolis96,000 USD
New Orleans95,000 USD
New York119,000 USD
Oakland95,200 USD
Oklahoma City106,000 USD
Orlando86,200 USD
Philadelphia121,000 USD
Phoenix120,000 USD
Sacramento104,000 USD
San Antonio123,000 USD
San Diego119,000 USD
San Francisco109,000 USD
San Jose115,000 USD
Seattle114,000 USD
Tampa92,900 USD
Vancouver85,200 USD
Washington D.C.105,000 USD

Salary Comparison By State

StateAverage Salary
Alabama109,000 USD
Alaska93,100 USD
Arizona108,000 USD
Arkansas98,300 USD
California122,000 USD
Colorado108,000 USD
Connecticut102,000 USD
Delaware93,300 USD
District of Columbia89,400 USD
Florida121,000 USD
Georgia116,000 USD
Hawaii97,300 USD
Idaho95,300 USD
Illinois110,000 USD
Indiana114,000 USD
Iowa103,000 USD
Kansas101,000 USD
Kentucky102,000 USD
Louisiana100,000 USD
Maine100,000 USD
Maryland111,000 USD
Massachusetts109,000 USD
Michigan110,000 USD
Minnesota102,000 USD
Mississippi104,000 USD
Missouri110,000 USD
Montana95,200 USD
Nebraska96,300 USD
Nevada96,300 USD
New Hampshire100,000 USD
New Jersey114,000 USD
New Mexico99,300 USD
New York114,000 USD
North Carolina108,000 USD
North Dakota95,800 USD
Ohio116,000 USD
Oklahoma103,000 USD
Oregon101,000 USD
Pennsylvania110,000 USD
Rhode Island98,000 USD
South Carolina108,000 USD
South Dakota94,100 USD
Tennessee107,000 USD
Texas112,000 USD
Utah103,000 USD
Vermont93,900 USD
Virginia112,000 USD
Washington108,000 USD
West Virginia94,300 USD
Wisconsin112,000 USD
Wyoming92,900 USD
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