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Career and Education Opportunities for Airline Pilots in Vancouver, Washington

If you want to be an airline pilot, the Vancouver, Washington area offers many opportunities both for education and employment. There are currently 1,790 working airline pilots in Washington; this should grow 6% to about 1,890 working airline pilots in the state by 2016. This is not quite as good as the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for airline pilots are expected to grow by about 8.4%. 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. Incomes for airline pilots are better than in the overall category of Air in Washington, and better than the overall Air category nationally.

The Vancouver area is home to forty-eight schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Vancouver where you can get a degree as an airline pilot. The most common level of education 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.

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.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Airline Pilot Training

Mt Hood Community College - Gresham, OR

Mt Hood Community College, 26000 SE Stark St, Gresham, OR 97030. Mt Hood Community College is a medium sized college located in Gresham, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 7,251 students. Mt Hood Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Airline/Commercial/Professional Pilot and Flight Crew which graduated zero and one students respectively in 2008.

Portland Community College - Portland, OR

Portland Community College, 12000 SW 49th Avenue, Portland, OR 97219-7132. Portland Community College is a large college located in Portland, Oregon. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 26,657 students. Portland Community College has an associate's degree program in Airline/Commercial/Professional Pilot and Flight Crew which graduated three students 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: Vancouver, Washington

Vancouver, Washington
Vancouver, Washington photo by Matthiasb

Vancouver is located in Clark County, Washington. It has a population of over 163,186, which has grown by 13.7% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Vancouver, 98, is near the national average. New single-family homes in Vancouver are priced at $95,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, two hundred eighty new homes were built in Vancouver, down from four hundred twenty the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Vancouver are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, computer and electronic products, and accommodation and food services. The average travel time to work is about 23 minutes. More than 21.7% of Vancouver residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.4%, is lower than the state average.

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

The percentage of Vancouver residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 27.9%, is less than both the national and state average. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the LDS (Mormon) Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Vancouver is home to the Vancouver Square and the Vancouver Plaza as well as Leverich Park and Wintler Park. Shopping malls in the area include Arbours Shopping Center, Millport Shopping Center and Vancouver Village Shopping Center. Visitors to Vancouver can choose from Comfort Suites Vancouver, Homewood Suites Portland-Vancouver and Best Western Hotel and Suites Vacouver Mall Dr for temporary stays in the area.