Life After Flight School

It’s one of the most common questions we get asked from students looking into the flight training program at Leading Edge Aviation: “What jobs can I get after flight school?” When considering enrolling in a flight training program, this question, among others, is important to ask. Flight training is an investment, similar to other forms of education, and you should be assured of its return. Understanding career options post-flight school will not only help you to understand the worth of your investment, but it will also motivate you to set some goals for your future as a pilot. In this post we will map out the general course of employment for the first few years after you complete your ratings.When you graduate from a flight program, you will generally leave with about 200-300 hours of flight time. In the aviation industry, jobs are available to you based on the number of flight hours that you hold. The more time you have, the more variety jobs you can pursue. At this initial hour mark, becoming a Flight Instructor is the most common route that graduates take. While there are some opportunities outside of instructing, the pickings are slim due to insurance company standards.Though it may not be the highest paying position off the bat, working as a flight instructor has its perks. Working in a controlled environment, with an excellent safety culture, allows you the space to perfect your piloting skills and build your knowledge-base. Plus, you are building your flight time to get to that next job tier while getting paid.As you look into various flight training programs, and continue to research your potential future as a pilot, keep in mind that you may need or want to work at your flight school as a Flight Instructor after you complete your training. Ask yourself if the school you are considering attending is a place where you would enjoy working. Are you comfortable with the safety standards and management style? Are they big enough to keep you busy as an instructor, but small enough to give you the appropriate attention you need as a student?

While working as an airplane instructor, pilots commonly begin to consider their next career move when they reach 500 hours, although some pilot choose to work towards their Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) rating while in an instructing position, which calls for1,500 hours. If pursuing a traditional route, upon acquiring 500 hours, pilots can move towards positions with smaller airlines throughout the United States. Some of these positions will be for Second in Command (SIC) and others will be for a Pilot in Command (PIC), depending upon the company and their individual flight standards. As an airline pilot, regardless

Before pursuing other career options, helicopter instructors generally work towards 1000-1500 hours. At this point, pilots are eligible for jobs in the tourism and charter industries. Many pilots move to Alaska, the Grand Canyon, or even Hawaii to pick up these seasonal positions. In these positions you gain turbine experience and continue to build your hours, opening more doors in positions that may align with your personal goals.

What are some typical career goals for pilots? Many airplane pilots strive to be a part of regional, national, and international airline companies and helicopter pilots tend to be interested in the emergency medical or utility fields. However, with the right amount of hours under your belt and a solid training background, opportunities abound in all types of fields.

Our graduates go on to work in a variety of positions and we keep close ties with companies around the country to help our graduates set goals and find their best path upon finishing the program. Or flight schools admissions team is available to each and every one of our students, including prospective students like you, to help answer questions about next steps and career choices.

To get more information about hour requirements, or salary prospect, we suggest you look at aviation job postings, on sites like Do your research, know what you want to work towards, and hold a realistic outlook on the industry.