Pilot and navigate the flight of fixed-wing aircraft, usually on scheduled air carrier routes, for the transport of passengers and cargo. Requires Federal Air Transport certificate and rating for specific aircraft type used. Includes regional, national, and international airline pilots and flight instructors of airline pilots. Pilots are responsible for the safety of the passengers, crew, and cargo from takeoff to landing. Many live locally but are based in airport hubs across the Midwest. 

Make a Difference

A Typical Day

  • Work as part of a flight team with other crew members, especially during takeoffs and landings.
  • Use instrumentation to guide flights when visibility is poor.
  • Start engines, operate controls, and pilot airplanes to transport passengers, mail, or freight, adhering to flight plans, regulations, and procedures.
  • Contact control towers for takeoff clearances, arrival instructions, and other information, using radio equipment.
  • Monitor gauges, warning devices, and control panels to verify aircraft performance and to regulate engine speed.

Recommended Credentials

Associates Degree, FAA Certification 

Education & Training

Regional employers often hire graduates of these programs.


Northwest Lower Michigan


Associates and Bachelors - 

  • NMC (offers multiple types of pilot ratings)

Elsewhere in Michigan


STEM High School with a focus in aviation - 

Post High School Aviation Programs - 

Explore This Career

Try it before you buy it!

Attend NMC's Girls in Aviation Day, or connect with the TC Experimental Aircraft Association.

The Local Advantage Learning Pathway

Pathway 1

Search & Rescue Aerospace & Aviation Training -

Pathway 2

Training and Further Education -

Associates Degree in Applied Science -

Pathway 3

Bachelors Degree -

  • NMC (multiple flight ratings available)

Sample Job Titles...

  • Captain
  • Check Airman
  • Co-Pilot
  • Commuter Pilot
  • First Officer
  • Flight Engineer

10-Year Job Growth Projections

10-County Region

Employed Regionally

In 2021 (Michigan)

Wage Range & Median Michigan


Annual Hires Regionally

In 2021

Other Regional Career Resources

The AOPA is the largest industry association, and a great source of information if you're interested in flying.

Learn more about Airline Pilots on O*NET Online.

Sample Career Pathways

Click to download a PDF of this diagram.

Diagram of Paths To and From Other Careers for Airline Pilot

Related Careers

Click to explore.