Is Pilot Career A Good Option? Pros and Cons Of A Career As A Pilot
At first glance, a career as a pilot might look like an excellent option. You get to soar through the beautiful skies, work in different countries and meet a lot of people in the destinations that you land.
You hear inspiring stories, such as the one where a man worked his way up from a cleaner to a pilot or the example where a pilot saves everyone’s lives by landing an aircraft safely in the river. A pilot career sure does sound good on paper. But nobody is perfect, right? While there are obvious benefits, there are some disadvantages as well.
So, if you‘re wondering whether it's worth it to become a pilot, let‘s look at the pros and cons of a career in the sky.
Pilot Career Pros
Starting with the good side of things, a pilot career can be very rewarding:
- The wages are high. It’s a well-known open secret that pilots get paid very well. While a pilot’s salary would be lower when you’re starting out your career, for example, at Ryanair, the more you move up the ladder and start to pilot bigger aircraft, the bigger your paycheck gets. Pilots can earn up to $200 000 per year!
- It’s an adventure every time you step into the cockpit. The excitement of firing up the engines, making them go full-thrust and take off will never get old. Seeing the beautiful sunsets or even stormy skies is a sight that will always amaze even the most seasoned pilots.
- Traveling the world. Essentially, you’re transferring people around the world from one point to another. But you also get to travel yourself! Even when a pilot is not working, airlines do allow pilots to book cheap tickets to various places, which allows you to explore places that you always dreamt of seeing.
- It’s rewarding. Your first solo flight, your first landing, your first flight to a new destination, flying an aircraft is rewarding from the moment you step into the cockpit. Also, the fact that you worked hard and finally get to do what you have prepared for a few years is definitely rewarding!
- You never stop learning. The aviation industry never stops evolving and you, as a pilot will never stop improving as well. Flying keeps you on your toes both practically and theoretically. If you ever stop learning, well, you‘re going to be out of a job!
Simply put, flying an aircraft is an exciting adventure that rewards you greatly, both mentally and well, financially.
But as I mentioned above, there are is a negative side to a pilot career.
Pilot Career Cons
Nevertheless, you got to take in the bad things with the good.
- You need a deep bank account. While you will earn a lot of money as an airline pilot later down the years, the first few years might cost you up to $100 000. For example, if you would attend a Wizz Air cadet course at BAA Training, will set you back €62 000. However, that price does not include your medical license, CAA exams, and the issuing of a license. On top of that, you will have to pay for accommodation and other living expenses while you attend the course.
- A steep learning curve. Future pilots have to take more than 10 exams to get a pilot license that allows them to fly commercial aircraft. In addition, pilots have to fly for a lot of hours on simulators and aircraft with smaller engines. Not only it does take time, but if you’re not attending a cadet course, every hour flown on an aircraft will set you back a lot of money.
- Missing out on holidays. Working in an airline means that you will have to adapt to their roster options and as a result, you might miss out on your favorite nephew’s birthday or such family holidays like Christmas. Despite the fact that you are able to switch rosters with other pilots, sometimes you will have no other choice but to work and miss the time with your family. Hence, if you plan a career as a pilot, take into consideration the fact that it is quite hard to create a family.
- A lot of stress. While it is exciting to fly an aircraft, you have to remember that you are in control of the lives of hundreds of passengers. Sure, you train for every scenario that could go wrong, but sometimes freak accidents and mistakes do happen. Even if nobody on your aircraft passes away, a traumatic event can still impact your mental health – a topic that anyone rarely covers and has been recently highlighted by an article about Qantas Flight QF72.
- Losing your career in an instant because of medical reasons. Some airlines do provide medical license loss insurance, but if you lose your ability to fly an aircraft after 5, 10 or 20 years, your whole career is gone in an instant. It would be a pity and it does rarely happen, but it is a possibility that your whole life dedicated to being a pilot would be taken away because of a.
When taking all things into consideration, a pilot career is still a dream. Stress and health issues can arise in any career path that you take, so they should not deter you from thinking about flying an aircraft above the beautiful Atlantic ocean one day.
And well, if investing in yourself means that you have to have a deep pocket, then so be it. Loans and financing are available.
All in all, considering all the pros and cons, when you ask yourself is it worth becoming a pilot? Absolutely.
If the answer is no, then ask yourself again, until that no turns into a yes!