What is the Salary of a Helicopter Pilot?

If you are looking to become a pilot as a full-time career, it is important to consider the salary that you may potentially earn to ensure that you can pursue the life that you desire. When discussing helicopter piloting specifically, one may be surprised to find that helicopter pilots have a fairly high salary, coupled with numerous benefits. When considering this alongside pursuing a dream of flight, living a life as a helicopter pilot can be feasible.

As helicopter pilots require ample experience and knowledge to safely conduct operations while charged with the wellbeing of passengers, companies are often quite strict on how their pilots rise through the ranks. Once you have completed flight school and have gained your certification as a helicopter pilot, your first position will most likely be working as a flight school instructor. As of the present, helicopter flight instructors make an average of $66,000 a year depending on the state that they work in. During your career as a flight instructor, you will have ample time to build up flight hours and experience that will help you eventually transition into another company. Generally, around 1,000 hours of flight time is needed to meet the requirements of many higher paying jobs, that of which can be fulfilled during your time as an instructor. 

Depending upon your interests as a pilot, there are numerous avenues that one may take as helicopters find use in industries such as agriculture, defense, medical, and entertainment. Additionally, as you continue to build up experience, you can always shift between industries and carry over your expertise. As a result, you have a good chance of finding a well paying job that you enjoy. 

While you may start as an instructor as stated before, there are other various entry options that one may pursue. Tour companies are popular, and you may be able to pilot commercial vehicles operating in the Grand Canyon or Las Vegas as examples. In other industries, you can also operate a helicopter for a tuna boat company or similar business. Once you move up into medium salary positions, you will have the opportunity to pursue other touring companies, emergency services, border patrol, law enforcement, and more. When entering emergency services, a pilot will typically undertake firefighter, search and rescue, or life flight roles. Once you have established enough experience and flight hours, your expertise can earn you a high salary job such as flying for an offshore oil rig, a private company, celebrity, or business executive. With these jobs often comes major benefits such as improved pay, freedom of work, and more. 

When reaching medium salary positions, one may expect a range of $80,000 to $120,000 a year. After, a pilot can continue to reach pay that exceeds over $120,000 a year. If you are seeking to improve your salary as a pilot, one way to do so is to continue training so that you can get more certifications that you can carry on to your positions. Additionally, having a degree can help you better surpass the competition, giving you a leg up in starting your career. As the aviation industry continues to grow, it can be a good time to begin your instruction and path to becoming a helicopter pilot. 

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