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Career profile Commuter Pilot

Also known as Airline Captain, Airline Pilot, Airline Pilot (Captain), Airline Transport Pilot, Captain, Check Airman, Co-Pilot, Commuter Pilot, First Officer, Pilot

Commuter Pilot

Also known as Airline Captain, Airline Pilot, Airline Pilot (Captain)

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Investigative
Pay Range
$80,920 - $208,000+ (annual)
Required Skills
  • Operation and Control
  • Operations Monitoring
  • Active Listening
Knowledge Areas
  • Transportation
  • Mechanical
  • Geography
Core tasks
  • Use instrumentation to guide flights when visibility is poor.
  • Start engines, operate controls, and pilot airplanes to transport passengers, mail, or freight according to flight plans, regulations, and procedures.
  • Work as part of a flight team with other crew members, especially during takeoffs and landings.
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What does a Commuter Pilot do?

Commuter Pilots pilot and navigate the flight of fixed-wing aircraft, usually on scheduled air carrier routes, for the transport of passengers and cargo.

In addition, Commuter Pilots

  • requires Federal Air Transport certificate and rating for specific aircraft type used,
  • includes regional, national, and international airline pilots and flight instructors of airline pilots.

What kind of tasks does a Commuter Pilot perform regularly?

Commuter Pilots are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Use instrumentation to guide flights when visibility is poor.
  • Start engines, operate controls, and pilot airplanes to transport passengers, mail, or freight according to flight plans, regulations, and procedures.
  • Work as part of a flight team with other crew members, especially during takeoffs and landings.
  • Respond to and report in-flight emergencies and malfunctions.
  • Inspect aircraft for defects and malfunctions, according to pre-flight checklists.
  • Contact control towers for takeoff clearances, arrival instructions, and other information, using radio equipment.
  • Monitor gauges, warning devices, and control panels to verify aircraft performance and to regulate engine speed.
  • Monitor engine operation, fuel consumption, and functioning of aircraft systems during flights.
  • Steer aircraft along planned routes, using autopilot and flight management computers.
  • Check passenger and cargo distributions and fuel amounts to ensure that weight and balance specifications are met.
  • Confer with flight dispatchers and weather forecasters to keep abreast of flight conditions.
  • Brief crews about flight details, such as destinations, duties, and responsibilities.
  • Order changes in fuel supplies, loads, routes, or schedules to ensure safety of flights.
  • Choose routes, altitudes, and speeds that will provide the fastest, safest, and smoothest flights.
  • Direct activities of aircraft crews during flights.
  • Instruct other pilots and student pilots in aircraft operations.
  • Record in log books information, such as flight times, distances flown, and fuel consumption.
  • Make announcements regarding flights, using public address systems.

The above responsibilities are specific to Commuter Pilots. More generally, Commuter Pilots are involved in several broader types of activities:

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards
Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

What is a Commuter Pilot salary?

The median salary for a Commuter Pilot is $160,970, and the average salary is $186,870. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Commuter Pilot salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Commuter Pilots earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Commuter Pilots earn less than $80,920 per year, 25% earn less than $106,530, 75% earn more than $208,000, and 90% earn more than $208,000.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Commuter Pilots is expected to change by 13.8%, and there should be roughly 9,600 open positions for Commuter Pilots every year.

Median annual salary
$160,970
Typical salary range
$80,920 - Over $208,000
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
13.8%

What personality traits are common among Commuter Pilots?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Commuter Pilot are usually higher in their Realistic, Conventional, and Investigative interests.

Commuter Pilots typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Also, Commuter Pilots typically have strong Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Lastly, Commuter Pilots typically have moderate Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Commuter Pilot tend to value Independence, Support, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Commuter Pilots very strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Second, Commuter Pilots very strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Lastly, Commuter Pilots very strongly value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Commuter Pilots must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, dependability, and self-control.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Commuter Pilots, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Self-Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.

What education and training do Commuter Pilots need?

Many Commuter Pilots will have a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Commuter Pilots usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Educational degrees among Commuter Pilots

  • 0.6% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 4.6% completed high school or secondary school
  • 13.0% completed some college coursework
  • 7.2% earned a Associate's degree
  • 57.2% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 14.6% earned a Master's degree
  • 2.7% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Commuter Pilots

Commuter Pilots may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as transportation, mechanical, or geography knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Commuter Pilots might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Transportation
Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
Mechanical
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Geography
Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Important Abilities needed by Commuter Pilots

Commuter Pilots must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Commuter Pilots need abilities such as response orientation, problem sensitivity, and control precision in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Commuter Pilots, ranked by their relative importance.

Response Orientation
The ability to choose quickly between two or more movements in response to two or more different signals (lights, sounds, pictures). It includes the speed with which the correct response is started with the hand, foot, or other body part.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Control Precision
The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
Far Vision
The ability to see details at a distance.
Reaction Time
The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.

Critical Skills needed by Commuter Pilots

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Commuter Pilots frequently use skills like operation and control, operations monitoring, and active listening to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Commuter Pilots, ranked by their relative importance.

Operation and Control
Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Operations Monitoring
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Monitoring
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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