Commercial Pilots

risk level
Based on 1,728 votes
by year 2031
or $49.95 per hour
as of 2022

Want this summary on your site? Embed code:

Automation risk

54% (Moderate Risk)

Moderate Risk (41-60%): Occupations with a moderate risk of automation usually involve routine tasks but still require some human judgment and interaction.

More information on what this score is, and how it is calculated is available here.

Some quite important qualities of the job are difficult to automate:

  • Cramped Work Space, Awkward Positions

  • Manual Dexterity

  • Finger Dexterity

  • Assisting and Caring for Others

  • Social Perceptiveness

User poll

43% chance of full automation within the next two decades

Our visitors have voted they are unsure if this occupation will be automated. This assessment is further supported by the calculated automation risk level, which estimates 54% chance of automation.

What do you think the risk of automation is?

What is the likelihood that Commercial Pilots will be replaced by robots or artificial intelligence within the next 20 years?


The following graph(s) are included wherever there is a substantial amount of votes to render meaningful data. These visual representations display user poll results over time, providing a significant indication of sentiment trends.

Sentiment over time (quarterly)

Sentiment over time (yearly)


Moderate growth relative to other professions

The number of 'Commercial Pilots' job openings is expected to rise 5.1% by 2031

Total employment, and estimated job openings

* Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the period between 2021 and 2031
Updated projections are due 09-2023.


Very high paid relative to other professions

In 2022, the median annual wage for 'Commercial Pilots' was $103,910, or $49 per hour

'Commercial Pilots' were paid 124.4% higher than the national median wage, which stood at $46,310

Wages over time

* Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics


Moderate range of job opportunities compared to other professions

As of 2022 there were 48,750 people employed as 'Commercial Pilots' within the United States.

This represents around < 0.001% of the employed workforce across the country

Put another way, around 1 in 3 thousand people are employed as 'Commercial Pilots'.

Job description

Pilot and navigate the flight of fixed-wing aircraft on nonscheduled air carrier routes, or helicopters. Requires Commercial Pilot certificate. Includes charter pilots with similar certification, and air ambulance and air tour pilots. Excludes regional, national, and international airline pilots.

SOC Code: 53-2012.00


If you're thinking of starting a new career, or looking to change jobs, we've created a handy job search tool which might just help you land that perfect new role.

Search jobs in your local area


Leave a comment

James (No chance) says
I think that commercial pilots should not be replaced by robots or AI. There are still people who want to train to be pilots and have the opportunity to fly people across the world. If these robots take over, they are not just taking over the basics of takeoff or landing, but their entire job. There are still so many people who have dreamed of becoming pilots, so don't let the robots or AI take over.

And what about all the pilots who will be flying in 2030? Where will they go? Plus, the pilots who have just started their job, paying a ton of money for training and working really hard, will then realize it was all for a whole lot of rubbish. So don't let the pilots' hard work go to waste. Let the robots be destroyed, and they can be scrapped or used for a different purpose not relating to planes.
May 16, 2022 at 05:15 AM
Bob (No chance) says
Developing an aircraft, its certification process, and the time it takes to be delivered to airliners itself takes at least two decades. Thus, if aircraft manufacturers such as Boeing and Airbus were to start developing such aircraft today, it would take roughly two decades for them to enter service and fly passengers. These companies, as of now, have no plans for such pilotless aircraft. Thus, not only is there no chance of fully automating commercial aircraft within the next two decades, but the chances within the next 50 years are also extremely small.
Apr 07, 2022 at 06:53 PM
dbWizard.24.7 (Highly likely) says
Increased drone activity by the DoD. Computer-operated fighter aircraft.

Increased positive factors:

- Reliability
- Less cockpit space
- Redesign of aircraft for more efficiency
- Does not get sick
- Does not have family problems

Goodbye, human pilots...
Jan 02, 2022 at 12:24 PM
Erwin says
I think it is very possible that the robots are the drivers and it would be good, but that should not be a problem for human pilots since without a doubt a well-prepared pilot must go inside that cockpit capable of solving faults, we know that no technology is 100% secure as they are also configured by humans.

Many will think then there will no longer be positions for many pilots. Quite the contrary, within 20 years the demand for flights will double, therefore the supply of flights must grow, in more; airlines will have to think of incredible strata to hire more pilots and with better preparation.

I personally would not get on an autonomous flight, that is (with no one in the cabin) knowing that we live in a world where powers constantly seek to harm each other through hackers and all kinds of manipulations. At least I would like to think that the person who pilots the aircraft is also someone who wants to return home and therefore puts everything of himself to save himself in an emergency.
Aug 27, 2021 at 04:30 AM
Alberto (Highly likely) says
Autonomous flights are very likely as techonology advances in this field.
Aug 22, 2021 at 02:04 PM
Ivo Muiño (Moderate) says
This job could be replaced by an AI in 15 or 20 years. When these kinds of intelligence will be safe and ready to be implemented in different sectors.
Aug 03, 2021 at 11:47 PM
Bobby (Highly likely) says
Airlines are easier to automate than self-driving cars due to fewer variables. There has been automation in aeroplanes for a while. Drones and flight runs of Boeing planes in the 70s show that the potential of flight automation is possible.
Jul 28, 2021 at 01:10 AM
Yash Vyas (Low) says
Even if AI takes over aviation in the next few decades, there will be high chances of system errors in which safety will be at stake and even hijacking could take place easily as all the hijacker needs to do is to hack into the robot. This will result is a huge decline for the aviation industry and then dissolve it completely.
Jun 12, 2021 at 06:10 PM
Bee (Uncertain) says
I'm not too sure if humans would feel entirely comfortable with a completely automated flight without at least the supervision of a human pilot.
May 01, 2021 at 06:27 PM
Char H. (Low) says
My Dad flies for American Airlines and he is irreplaceable, lol, but all jokes aside, If robots take over, what if they fail? The plane will go down and (depends on the size of the plane and amount of passengers) about 200 people are dead because they fell out of the sky due to a robot and people who thought it would work
Mar 18, 2021 at 02:26 PM
Shata (No chance) says
Pilot wages are the 2 highest as compared to other 500+jobs. The salary of pilot is for the risk hardworking reborious and sacrifice ful job .....
Driving a plane, ship, train, without drivers and operators will let to serious problems and we will suffer a huge loss....
Robots are designed by AI companies are good...but when it replaces a valuable job it is often quiet miseryful ....
The one thing i am telling..
WIN.Only one difference
(Humans:can take own decisions. Robots :cannot take own decisions.)
So we should never think to replace train drivers .pilots. ship operators .
This i told is my opinion and research on that job..
Mar 10, 2021 at 02:50 PM
Zoli (Low) says
It's a long way until people can trust a robot well enough to actually fly an airplane, and AI is really far from the point that it can actually evaluate between two or more situations and get a meaningful answer. That's why at least one human will always be on the flight.
Feb 28, 2021 at 04:50 PM
hopeful future pilot (Low) says
It will take yyeeeeears until people are willing to go on a plane with no pilots at all.
Feb 04, 2021 at 08:04 PM
Saketh Reddy (Low) says
Because there is no auto-driving technology in the vehicles, and airplanes are way more complicated to fly so, even if pilots are been replaced by robots it may take up to 3 decades to make that possible.
Dec 09, 2020 at 02:42 AM
Mp says
Airbus already has an airliner that can fly all phases of flight by itself. It's only a matter of getting the FAA and the public to accept pilotless aircraft.
Jan 20, 2022 at 09:26 AM
Gaurang Ghare (Highly likely) says
The US military already seems to possess unmanned aircrafts & so, if that’s possible, then in the near future, the possibility of the unmanned commercial aircrafts existing is as well feasible.
Nov 29, 2020 at 03:36 AM
Evan (No chance) says
Would anyone buy a plane ticket if they knew no one on the plane knows how to fly the plane
Nov 22, 2020 at 10:28 PM
Erling Haaland (No chance) says
Every plane will need a pilot to make sure the robots run correctly
Nov 22, 2020 at 03:10 PM
oh yeah yeah says
But then that's not a commercial pilot. It's more of a "Plane AI Controller"
May 09, 2022 at 12:07 PM
Jesus says
People with fear to fly wont believe a plane in which the pilot is not even in the plane
Nov 02, 2020 at 05:45 AM
Yazan says
You're totally right, Bec.

Now, with humans as pilots, we get scared. So, how would it be with robots or artificial intelligence that depends on data?

It may have an error that can cause the loss of many lives.
Jul 11, 2022 at 10:15 PM
Juan Pablo Pérez (No chance) says
Human decision in emergencies will never be replaced, so, pilots will not be replaced
Oct 13, 2020 at 01:27 PM
Bob says
People don’t realize here that commercial pilot is not necessarily airline pilot. There is another poll for airline pilot and it’s at 18% chance....
Oct 10, 2020 at 07:46 AM

Leave a reply about this occupation

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

People also viewed

Computer Programmers
Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers
Mechanical Engineers
Preschool, Elementary, Middle, Secondary, and Special Education Teachers