When many pilots think of a commercial pilot license, they think of it as a step toward their ATP license and the airlines. And this is perfectly fine for those looking for a career in the airlines. But there are plenty of other positions you can get once you have your commercial pilot license that doesn’t necessarily require an ATP license. Here are five jobs you can get with a commercial pilot license that do not require an ATPL.
Certified Flight Instructor
With a little more training, you can earn your CFI or Certified Flight Instructor certificate and teach eager student how to fly. The bonus is that you’ll rack up dual given and PIC time while someone else pays for fuel, aircraft rental, and your wage for teaching them how to fly. CFIs are often sought after when airlines start hiring, so if you’re interested in becoming an airline pilot, becoming a Certified Flight Instructor after you get your commercial pilot license is worth considering.
Banner Tow Pilot
If you’re looking to rack up the hours and still get paid to do it, one job that just might appeal to you is towing banners behind an aircraft or flying an aircraft with a sky sign. Those who are hired to do so must often fly the same route over and over for eight hours a day, but it’s an easy way to rack up PIC time and get paid to fly.
You can become a pilot at a Part 135 Charter Air Carrier. Not only can you build hours while hauling freight or passengers, you often get some nice benefits as well, including jump seating even with other airlines and other travel benefits. Charter pilots are often on call, because the nature of the Part 135 Charter service is to provide unscheduled air service on demand. Even with this stipulation, charter pilots can work for companies from small aircraft all the way up to the big jets. It’s a good way for someone who has their commercial pilot license to get a good career in aviation.
If you’re looking to fly larger aircraft but don’t necessarily want passengers, consider flying freight instead. Freight pilots fly anything from smaller aircraft all the way up to large jets, but usually new pilots start in smaller aircraft and on regional routes. Unless you’re flying larger aircraft, you’ll probably be flying solo most of the time. But, at the same time, you’ll add a lot of hours to your logbook and you’ll gain experience while earning money. Top end freight pilots can make as much as the airlines, so don’t discount them.
You may be surprised to learn that even without an ATP license, you can still become an airline pilot, as long as you have your commercial pilot license. In most cases, regional airlines hire commercial pilots for the right seat and train them for their aircraft. Eventually, you may have to get your ATP license, but the airline may train you or even pay to have you get your license. You can then get plenty of SIC time while earning money while you fly and gain experience. Most airlines have benefits packages and travel benefits, including jump seating with other airlines.