Helicopter Pilot Salary

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Helicopter Pilot Salary

The career of an helicopter pilot is quite an interesting one indeed! The helicopter pilot salary range largely depends on the employer as well as the level of experience of the pilot when it comes to the flying hours. This CareerStint article throws some light on the approximate salary figures to expect in this profession, and more.

Chinook Helicopter Airlifting Troops

According to the website Indeed, the average annual salary of a helicopter pilot in the United States is $75,000. If we evaluate the average salaries state-wise, as per the data given in the same website, it is seen that New York and Massachusetts have the highest average salary: $91,000.

As stated by the Professional Helicopter Pilot Association (PHPA), “It is very difficult to quantify helicopter pilot’s salaries. Salary levels vary greatly by industry, country, qualifications, and experience levels.” Various industries including agriculture, hospitals, police, military, tourism, etc., need the services of an helicopter pilot. The average salary for a helicopter pilot also depends on the conditions of flying. A helicopter pilot who rescues people from floods or storms would receive a higher pay than the one who shows travelers tourist sights and natural scenic beauty. According to the website Chron, “EMS, or emergency medical pilots, earn the most, and they often need 1,500 to 2,000 hours of flight time to get hired.”

Industry, experience, and location are the factors that would affect your pay greatly. The more risky the job is, the more remuneration you can expect. The following section will give you the latest average salary figures of what a helicopter pilot can earn in the United States, based on experience and location.

Average Salary of Helicopter Pilots by Experience and State

The main factor that influences your salary when you are a helicopter pilot is your experience and the number of flying hours you have. In fact, if you do not possess sufficient flying hours, getting a job can be extremely difficult. These days, anything between 500 to 1000 hours is a necessity to get a good job. In fact, most companies that pay well look for pilots with 1000+ flying hours. When it comes to the qualifications, getting the Certified Flying Instructor (CFI) Rating is highly beneficial. Also, obtaining a Commercial Rotorcraft License is a must.

The following tables will take you through the current salary figures to give you an estimate of how much this career pays.

Average Salary by Experience

0-5 years $61,000
5-10 years $67,000
10-20 years $75,000
More than 20 years $83,000

Source: PayScale.com

* Note:

  • All figures are as of May 9, 2014 and are in US Dollars.
  • All figures are average annual salaries including tips, bonus, and overtime.
Average Salary by State

Alabama $76,000
Alaska $56,000
Arizona $62,000
Arkansas $75,000
California $81,000
Colorado $75,000
Connecticut $87,000
Delaware $66,000
Florida $70,000
Georgia $86,000
Hawaii $47,000
Idaho $51,000
Illinois $86,000
Indiana $73,000
Iowa $74,000
Kansas $69,000
Kentucky $65,000
Louisiana $66,000
Maine $67,000
Maryland $78,000
Massachusetts $91,000
Michigan $77,000
Minnesota $66,000
Mississippi $78,000
Missouri $74,000
Montana $67,000
Nebraska $55,000
Nevada $59,000
New Hampshire $74,000
New Jersey $82,000
New Mexico $66,000
New York $91,000
North Carolina $72,000
North Dakota $67,000
Ohio $72,000
Oklahoma $69,000
Oregon $72,000
Pennsylvania $73,000
Rhode Island $69,000
South Carolina $73,000
South Dakota $57,000
Tennessee $69,000
Texas $73,000
Utah $59,000
Vermont $67,000
Virginia $76,000
Washington $77,000
West Virginia $71,000
Wisconsin $67,000
Wyoming $63,000

Source: Indeed.com

* Note:

  • All figures are as of May 9, 2014 and are in US Dollars.
  • All figures are average annual salaries and may vary based on qualification, experience, location, type of employer, and so on.

Certifications and educational qualifications also play a major role in increasing the pay range. Pilots with better certifications and accreditation are preferred by the bigger companies that have the capacity to pay more.

The minimum requirements for becoming a professional helicopter pilot is obtaining a high-school diploma, a flight school classroom instruction, and also certain experience when it comes to the flight hours, which should ideally be around 175 to 200 hours. If you’re targeting for a higher salary range, it is advisable to channelize your focus on the experience and flight training. Ensure that you obtain the CFI ratings and rotorcraft pilot’s license for better job opportunities and earning potentials.

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