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Career and Education Opportunities for Airline Pilots in Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for airline pilots. Currently, 1,790 people work as airline pilots in Washington. This is expected to grow 6% to 1,890 people by 2016. This is not quite as good as 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 $28 per hour or $69,041 per year in Washington, and an average of $30 per hour or $70,915 per year nationwide. Compared with people working in the overall category of Air, people working as airline pilots in Washington earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Air nationally.

There are sixty-five schools of higher education in the Seattle area, including two within twenty-five miles of Seattle where you can get a degree to start your career 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 studying to be an airline pilot if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Airline Pilot

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.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Seattle include:

  • Air Cargo Supervisor. Direct ground crew in the loading, unloading, and staging of aircraft cargo or baggage. Determine the quantity and orientation of cargo and compute aircraft center of gravity. May accompany aircraft as member of flight crew and monitor and handle cargo in flight, and assist and brief passengers on safety and emergency procedures.
  • Air Traffic Controller. Control air traffic on and within vicinity of airport and movement of air traffic between altitude sectors and control centers according to established procedures and policies. Authorize, regulate, and control commercial airline flights according to government or company regulations to expedite and ensure flight safety.
  • Ship Pilot. Command ships to steer them into and out of harbors, estuaries, and sounds, and on rivers, lakes, and bays. Must be licensed by U.S. Coast Guard with limitations indicating class and tonnage of vessels for which license is valid and route and waters that may be piloted.
  • Ship's Captain. Command vessels in oceans, bays, and coastal waters.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Airline Pilot Training

Green River Community College - Auburn, WA

Green River Community College, 12401 SE 320th St, Auburn, WA 98092-3622. Green River Community College is a medium sized college located in Auburn, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,544 students. Green River Community College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Airline/Commercial/Professional Pilot and Flight Crew which graduated sixty-three and six students respectively in 2008.

Clover Park Technical College - Lakewood, WA

Clover Park Technical College, 4500 Steilacoom Blvd SW, Lakewood, WA 98499-4004. Clover Park Technical College is a medium sized college located in Lakewood, Washington. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 3,781 students. Clover Park Technical College has less than one year, one to two year, and associate's degree programs in Airline/Commercial/Professional Pilot and Flight Crew which graduated two, one, and one students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

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

LOCATION INFORMATION: Seattle, Washington

Seattle, Washington
Seattle, Washington photo by Dschwen

Seattle is located in King County, Washington. It has a population of over 598,541, which has grown by 6.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Seattle, 126, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in Seattle are valued at $206,700 on average, which is well below the state average. In 2008, five hundred ninety-five new homes were built in Seattle, down from seven hundred seventy-five the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Seattle are health care, professional, scientific, and technical services, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, construction, and educational services. The average commute to work is about 25 minutes. More than 47.2% of Seattle residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 17.3%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Seattle is 7.8%, which is less than Washington's average of 8.7%.

The percentage of Seattle residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 37.3%, is less than the national average but more than the state average. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Seattle is home to the Berth 5 and the Akli Point Lighthouse as well as Lincoln Park and Myrtle Edwards Park. Shopping centers in the area include Lake City Shopping Center, Westwood Village Shopping Center and Oak Tree Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Seattle can choose from A-1 Motel, Arlington Suites and Marriott Sea-Tac Airport for temporary stays in the area.