International students who study aviation in the United States have a number of career options available to them. They might choose to become flight instructors, private pilots, or commercial airline pilots. Working as a commercial airline pilot has many perks. Here are some of the best:
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in May 2011, commercial airline pilots made a mean annual salary of $76,050, more than the $45,230 earned across all occupations at the same time. Although this is not as high as some people would expect, commercial airline pilots also get a number of benefits on top of their salaries.
The most obvious benefit to working as a commercial airline pilot is the travel. As a commercial airline pilot, you will be able to tour the world (often staying in nice hotels while you do so). What’s more, you’ll be paid to do it!
- Flexible Schedules
On average, commercial airline pilots work about 225 hours each month. However, they are limited to about 1,000 flying hours per year. For this reason, many commercial airline pilot’s responsibilities include non-flight duties as flight scheduling, record keeping, and the arrangement of aircraft maintenance. Pilots can enjoy flexible working hours, as well as extended periods of time off. They can use this time off to take advantage of the travel benefits afforded to them.
- Travel Perks
Commercial airline pilots are given large discounts on personal air travel. Many are also given discounts on personal car rentals and hotel rooms. These benefits often extend to immediate family members, as well, and can be for life.
- Other Benefits
Commercial airline pilots are typically provided with free enrollment in a 401k savings plan by their employer and some companies even match employee contributions. Additionally, many pilots also receive comprehensive medical coverage for themselves and their families.
Airlines also provide their pilots with uniforms free of charge, so commercial airline pilots don’t have to worry about buying work clothes. While in the air or staying in hotels between travel legs, pilots generally eat for free or at a reduced price.
An additional benefit awarded to some commercial airline pilots, depending on which airline they work for, is an education gift-matching program that matches charitable donations to educational institutions dollar for dollar.
Of course these are the top 5 reasons to become a commercial airline pilot, but the sixth and most important reason for international student is for their love of flying! Find more on how you can pursue a degree in aviation.