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How to become an Aircraft Pilot

Aircraft Pilots operate planes in order to transport passengers and goods from one location to their destination. They may also provide agricultural, aerial surveillance, or other aviation services.

If you are hard working and confident, are willing to work long hours away from home, and want a job that can take you anywhere in the world, becoming an Aircraft Pilot could be ideal for you.


About you:


  • Trustworthy and reliable
  • Confident with a steady hand
  • Excellent communicator
  • Analytical and thorough
  • Alert and quick-thinking
  • Works well under pressure
  • Good problem-solver
  • Patient and thorough


The job:


  • Preparing flight plans before take-off
  • Considering weather conditions and other factors
  • Completing comprehensive system checks before take-off
  • Operating a variety of aircraft and associated technology
  • Communicating with other staff on the ground and on board
  • Monitoring aircraft performance and safety
  • Taking important directions from air traffic control


Lifestyle Impact: Moderate


  • Part Time opportunities: Low – only around 29% of Aircraft Pilots work part-time (source:
  • Average hours for full-time workers: 45 hours a week, which is average (source:
  • Aircraft Pilots’ salary (average) $130,000* per year (source: *Salaries vary depending on your skills and experience.
  • Future career growth: Stable (source:
  • You will be spending a lot of time away from home travelling, and may need to work at all hours of the day or night.


Pilots are most in demand in these locations:


This is a small occupation, with around 8,000 people working as Aircraft Pilots in 2016 (source:, with stable growth expected over the next five years. Demand for Aircraft Pilots is highest in Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Most Aircraft Pilots work in the Transport, Postal and Warehousing industry.

Your job as an Aircraft Pilot could take you nearly anywhere around the country and even the world. Although the impact of COVID-19 has slowed international travel, there is still high demand for air travel within Australia.


How to become an Aircraft Pilot in Australia


You will need to complete a combination of both practical and theoretical assessment in order to become a qualified Aircraft Pilot in Australia.


Step 1 – Complete Year 12 with a strong focus on English, Maths and Sciences.


Step 2 – Start your flight training, either through a private flying school, or in combination with a VET or university degree.


Step 3 – Obtain your recreational or private pilot license.


Step 4 – Obtain an aviation reference number (ARN) from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).


Step 5 – Gain extensive experience and pass further examinations to obtain a commercial pilot license. You may also need to complete further training in order to operate specific types of aircraft.


Find out more here –


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Find out more about alternative careers.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What do Aircraft Pilots do?


Aircraft Pilots operate planes to transport goods and passengers to their destinations.


Which industries employ Aircraft Pilots?


Aircraft Pilots are usually employed in the Transport, Postal and Warehousing industry.


What options are there for career progression?


You can start out by acquiring your recreational or private pilot license and fly small aircraft, and continue your study and practice to gain a commercial license and fly large planes across the world.


Do I need to go to university to become an Aircraft Pilot?


You technically do not need a university qualification to become an Aircraft Pilot. However, you must still complete extensive practical and theoretical training in order to gain a commercial pilot license.


Where do Aircraft Pilots work?


Aircraft Pilots are needed all across Australia, particularly in Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.


What are 3 things I can do right now to help me become an Aircraft Pilot?


If you’re in high school and you’d like to find out if a career as an Aircraft Pilot is right for you, here’s a few things you could do right now:

  1. See if you can try out a flight simulator, get work experience in aviation, or even talk to a current pilot to see what a day in the life is like.
  2. Volunteer in your community or find a casual job to start building valuable skills, as well as it looking great on any future job and study applications.
  3. Start researching your options when it comes to flying schools and course options.

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