Best Jobs

Pilot or Flying Instructor: Canada’s Best Jobs 2016

Few people achieve their dreams of flying, but those who do get behind an aircraft's controls can look forward to long and rewarding careers

UPDATED! Click here for 2017’s ranking of Canada’s Best Jobs » Canada’s Best Jobs 2016: The Top Jobs in Canada
Pilot Jobs — Canada’s Best Jobs

(Adrian Weinbrecht/Getty)

Median Salary: $ 79,997
Salary Growth (2009–2015): +28%
Total Employees: 15,100
Change in Employees (2009–2015): +5%

Job Description:

Air pilots provide a variety of services, from air transportation to crop spraying, aerial surveying and bush flying. Flight engineers, who handle inspection, troubleshooting and maintenance of aircraft, are also included in this category.

Job Qualifications:

Pilots, flight instructors and flight engineers must have completed secondary school and be certified by a flying or aviation school. Pilots must hold licenses on the specific types of aircraft they intend to fly, and flight engineers need a license issued by Transport Canada.


The median salary for pilots, flying instructors and flight engineers was $79,997 in 2015. Compenstion for pilots and flight engineers is highly dependent on experience—those in their late career can make around $140,000 a year, while entry-level employees only make about $40,000 a year, according to PayScale Canada.

Career Opportunity:

Although many people apply to flying schools, very few get in. For instance, Quebec schools train only an average of 150 to 200 pilots a year, according to Service Canada. Training programs are highly rigorous, so candidates run a high risk of washing out before graduation. Pilots continue to undergo demanding professional development throughout their careers. Job prospects in the field are good, but promotions only happen after many years of experience since the turnover rate is low.

jobs by Indeed job search

More About Canada’s Best Jobs

How booming cities made urban planning Canada’s hottest job

How booming cities made urban planning Canada’s hottest job

Urban growth—not to mention truckloads of infrastructure spending coming down the road—spell opportunity for urban planners