When dreaming about becoming a pilot most people have a similar career path in mind – completing an integrated program and starting to work as a First Officer at an airline, taking passengers safely to and from different destinations.
This is a dream for many aspiring pilots and accounts for most of the job opportunities in the job market. But we think that it is about time we mention some of the other exciting career paths you can take as a pilot! In this post, we’ll discuss 7 career options for pilots that you might not have thought of before.
1. Long Distance Ferrying
Is it adventure you seek? Then ferry flying might be for you! Ferrying is the process of transporting a plane to a new base or owner, often flying a small airplane distances greater than what the airplane was built for. Check out our blog post series “Ferry Flight Across the Atlantic Ocean” for an idea of what ferry flying is all about.
2. Aerial Fire Fighting
Fly air tankers and water bombers and fight wildfires from the air. Fireman and pilot, two awesome jobs combined!
3. Air Taxi
Shorter flights, small airplanes, and on-demand. The title is relatively self-explanatory, it might not sound glamorous, but taxying tourists around paradise islands doesn’t sound like a bad job if you ask me. Added bonus: flip-flops and shorts are part of the uniform!
Being an air ambulance pilot is perceived by many as one of the most important jobs a pilot can be assigned with. It is a demanding and complex operation with many variables that will put the pilots in challenging situations. It is also a highly rewarding pilot profession that serves an important function in society.
Air ambulance assignments can consist of everything from delivering trauma teams to critically ill patients, patient transportation, or emergency evacuations.
5. Business Jet
Business jet pilots usually fly small to medium-sized jet aircraft and are more heavily involved in the planning of the trips they fly. Filing flight plans, arranging for ground transportation at the destination, and so on. Turnaround on these flights is normally not as stressful as it is for airline pilots, since they usually wait for their customers to return from business meetings before flying back to their origin or onward to another destination.
Business jet pilots are expected to be flexible and provide exceptional service to their clients. In return, they get to go to experience new and exciting destinations in a different way than most other pilots. Being a business jet pilot is said to be a lifestyle as much as a profession.
Freight pilots transport cargo around the globe. Passenger issues are taken out of the equation, instead, the pilots need to be very aware of the type of cargo, and load, onboard. We’d recommend Aerosavy's blog post in case you want to read more about the differences between flying cargo and passengers.
Night flying is very common for cargo pilots, so if you're not a morning person this could suit you well!
7. Flight Instructor
Flight instructors teach students how to fly airplanes, how awesome is that? It is one of the most rewarding careers you can have in aviation and has the added bonus of making you an even more experienced and proficient pilot along the way.
Since all students are different you need to become an expert in explaining theoretical concepts and describing flying maneuvers in a variety of ways, in order to achieve an optimal learning experience for students with different learning styles.
Pilots with teaching experience are also highly attractive candidates on the job market when airlines start recruiting, since they have more Pilot in Command time and flying experience, enabling them to become Captains in a shorter period of time.
As you gain experience as an instructor you will even be able to upgrade your license so you can teach more complex flying, such as Instrument Training, Multi-Engine training and ultimately training other Flight Instructors.
OSMAA offers Flight Instructor courses every year which even includes a short internship as a Flight Instructor at the school when you are done with your training. At OSMAA, many of our instructors also work for a variety of airlines, adding valuable experience to our team.