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Aeroplane pilot

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Summary of occupation

These pilots fly different types of aircraft including light planes and airline aircraft, depending on the type of aircraft they are licensed to fly.

They provide a variety of aviation services.  For example, a pilot may transport people, cargo or mail, provide surveillance or undertake aerial searches.  Pilots may also assist farmers and pastoralists with crop dusting, or work as flight instructors.

ANZSCO description: Flies aeroplanes to transport passengers, mail  and freight, or provide agricultural, aerial surveillance or other aviation services (registration or licensing is required).
Alternative names: Aircraft Pilot, Pilot
Specialisations: Aeromedical Pilot, Agricultural Pilot, Airline Pilot, Commercial Pilot, Flying Instructor, Helicopter Pilot, Military Pilot
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

Pilots need:

  • a good level of English, mathematics and physics
  • good general health, good eyesight and hearing
  • an ability to make the right decision in complex situations
  • the determination and commitment needed to undertake intense training, and work in a competitive field
  • to be at least 18 years old to attain your Commercial Pilot's Licence and at least 21 years old to attain an Air Transport Pilot Licence
  • to take responsibility for the safety of all passengers and crew.
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Working conditions

A pilot’s work begins long before take-off.  First, they need to plan flight routes, examine weather reports, balance cargo and passenger load, calculate fuel requirements and inspect aircraft in preparation for a flight.

In general, pilots can expect to work both during the day and at night in a variety of weather conditions, climates and security conditions.

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Salary details

On average, aeroplane pilots, classified under air transport professionals, can expect to earn between $1 500 and $1 999 per week, ($78 000 and $103 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As an aeroplane pilot develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase. 

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Tools and technologies

During the course of their career, aeroplane pilots will typically become familiar with different types of aircraft.  Earlier on, they may fly small single-engine aircraft.  As they gain more experience and become more qualified, they will have the opportunity to fly more advanced aircraft.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become an aeroplane pilot, you will require a Commercial Pilot’s License. To work for a major airline, you will require an Airline Transport Pilot’s License. It is recommended that you also undertake an aircrew medical assessment, to ensure that you qualify for licence issue.

You can access flight training at private flying schools across the state. To improve your theoretical knowledge, vocational education and training qualifications in aviation, aeronautics and aviation studies are offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.

​You can also study and train to become a pilot with the Australian Defence Force.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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