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Career and Education Opportunities for Airline Pilots in Rockford, Illinois

If you want to be an airline pilot, the Rockford, Illinois area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 6,870 working airline pilots in Illinois; this should grow by 13% to about 7,790 working airline pilots in the state by 2016. This is better than the national trend for airline pilots, which sees this job pool growing by about 8.4% over the next eight years. In general, airline pilots pilot and navigate the flight of multi-engine aircraft in regularly scheduled service for the transport of passengers and cargo.

The average wage in the general category of Air jobs is $37 per hour or $87,887 per year in Illinois, and an average of $30 per hour or $70,915 per year nationwide. Earnings for airline pilots are better than earnings in the general category of Air in Illinois and better than general Air category earnings nationally.

The Rockford area is home to twelve schools of higher education, including one within twenty-five miles of Rockford where you can get a degree as an airline pilot. Given that the most common education level for airline pilots is a Bachelor's degree, you can expect to spend about four years training to become an airline pilot if you already have a high school diploma.


Airline Pilot video from the State of New Jersey Dept. of Labor and Workforce Development

In general, airline pilots pilot and navigate the flight of multi-engine aircraft in regularly scheduled service for the transport of passengers and cargo. They also requires Federal Air Transport rating and certification in specific aircraft type used.

Airline pilots use instrumentation to guide flights when visibility is poor. They also examine aircraft for defects and malfunctions, in line with pre-flight checklists. Equally important, airline pilots have to start engines and pilot airplanes to move passengers or freight, adhering to flight plans and procedures. They are often called upon to monitor gauges and control panels to confirm aircraft performance and to regulate engine speed. They are expected to steer aircraft along planned routes, using autopilot and flight management computers. Finally, airline pilots direct efforts of aircraft crews during flights.

Every day, airline pilots are expected to be able to quickly make decisions and take actions based upon external signs and signals. They need to understand events and object details at a distance. It is also important that they evaluate problems as they arise.

It is important for airline pilots to direct flight efforts with ground crews and air traffic control and inform crew members of flight and test procedures. They are often called upon to check passenger and cargo distributions and fuel amounts to insure that weight and balance specifications are met. They also monitor engine operation and functioning of aircraft systems during flights. They are sometimes expected to evaluate other pilots or pilot-license applicants for proficiency. Somewhat less frequently, airline pilots are also expected to make announcements regarding flights, using public address systems.

Airline pilots sometimes are asked to instruct other pilots and student pilots in aircraft operations and the principles of flight. They also have to be able to record in log books data such as flight times and fuel consumption and perform minor maintenance work, or manage major maintenance. And finally, they sometimes have to start engines and pilot airplanes to move passengers or freight, adhering to flight plans and procedures.

Like many other jobs, airline pilots must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.


Kishwaukee College - Malta, IL

Kishwaukee College, 21193 Malta Rd, Malta, IL 60150-9699. Kishwaukee College is a small college located in Malta, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,134 students. Kishwaukee College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Airline/Commercial/Professional Pilot and Flight Crew which graduated one and one students respectively in 2008.


Airmen Certification: Include the following areas:

  • Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application for Flight Engineers, Flight Navigators, Aircraft Dispatchers, and Control Tower Operators
  • 8610-1 (PDF) - Mechanic's Application for Inspection Authorization
  • Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application for Mechanics, Repairman, and Parachute Riggers
  • Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application for Pilots, Flight Instructors and Ground Instructors
  • Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application for Sport Pilot


Rockford, Illinois
Rockford, Illinois photo by Kranar_drogin

Rockford is situated in Winnebago County, Illinois. It has a population of over 157,272, which has grown by 4.8% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Rockford, 78, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Rockford are valued at $125,600 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, sixty-four new homes were built in Rockford, down from one hundred fifty-seven the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Rockford are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is metal and metal products, construction, and machinery. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 19.8% of Rockford residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.1%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Rockford is 17.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Rockford residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 50.0%, is less than both the national and state average. Abundant Life Assembly of God Church, South Park Covenant Church and Souls Harbor Church are among the churches located in Rockford. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church.

Rockford is home to the McPhail Hall and the Mary McGaw Hall as well as Ken-Rock Park and Jamestown Park. Shopping malls in the area include Alpine Village Shopping Center, Eleventh Street Plaza Shopping Center and Fairview Shopping Center. Visitors to Rockford can choose from Extended Stay America - Rockford East, Courtyard Rockford and Hampton Inn Rockford for temporary stays in the area.