Commercial Pilots

risk level
Based on 1,932 votes
by year 2032
or $49.95 per hour
as of 2022

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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 2032

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


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Leave a comment

grummangrouse45 (Uncertain) says
The technology required to do it is almost here, the only significant hurdle is the trust of passengers. Once the general population trusts AI/robots enough to put their lives in it's hands, pilots won't be as needed. However, that day may never come, and there are still things which technology can't do yet (respond to emergencies, handle passengers, aircraft repairs, etc.).
May 08, 2024 at 12:13 PM
Dee Snuts (No chance) says
If the automated system went down because of a storm or someone forgetting to turn their phone on airplane mode then every passenger is screwed
Apr 22, 2024 at 09:22 PM
luhenba (Low) says
the reason why i have voted 'low' because anyone will not be willing to sit in a plane operated by computer or A.I without any human input and will you be comfortable to travel in a plane with only A.I inputs?
Apr 18, 2024 at 02:14 PM
Anonymous (Low) says
People would not trust robots, which are feared, to fly them, especially when flying is also feared by most people. They would much rather trust humans who can reassure them and are experienced. Also, companies would also be hesitant to incorporate robots as many of them do not have the money required and any lawsuits following a crash would be devastating and would end the whole industry potentially.
Jan 24, 2024 at 08:14 AM
Rip (Low) says
No flight is the same. No robot could do what sully did.
Dec 18, 2023 at 12:05 PM
LeftE81 (No chance) says
They can't handle emergencies
Dec 04, 2023 at 03:59 AM
Autofill (No chance) says
I can’t even trust robots driving my car let alone flying my airplane. It might also be easier to hack a robot.
Nov 27, 2023 at 09:22 PM
Sumik Chhaliwal (Low) says
I don't think robots will fully take over the "Commercial Pilot" job 'cause you always need human intelligence instead of artificial intelligence for a safe journey.
Nov 03, 2023 at 03:50 PM
Sai rithwik (Low) says
I don't believe robots can take on the role of commercial pilots due to the potential risks involved.

Allowing robots to operate planes that carry varying numbers of passengers, such as smaller regional jets accommodating around 50 to 100 passengers, and larger airliners like the Boeing 737 or Airbus A320 series carrying between 140 to 240 passengers, or wide-body aircraft like the Boeing 777 or Airbus A380 with capacities ranging from around 300 to over 800 passengers, could pose significant risks to people's lives.

The possibility of robot malfunctions raises concerns about placing full trust in their abilities.
Aug 10, 2023 at 06:06 PM
Etienne (Low) says
While yes there is an auto pilot in the cockpit now a days that is not ai this is a program at this stage AI is trying to guess what will come next. So while automation will be of assistance it will not be able to handle emergencies well. Meaning there is still human intervention needed at some point
Jun 04, 2023 at 06:54 PM
Eli (Low) says
Most passengers feel like they need at least 1 human pilot to be safe. you can program a robot to do something but it has no clue what to do if something goes wrong.
May 16, 2023 at 02:51 AM
Michael pare (Highly likely) says
It’s only FAA approval and public acceptance that are in the way.
Apr 15, 2023 at 11:27 AM
Guilermo (No chance) says
Safety and safety perception will make this area to be delayed decades to be fully automated. Government regulations and risk main factors.
Feb 26, 2023 at 06:05 PM
Sky World (No chance) says
As a student pilot, I need to learn to analyze a chart and do geometry for navigation. (Even tho we have an iPad) Learn air physics, phraseology etc. Make real time critical decision. Probably the last job but AI will enhance us!. Might as well replace 99% of the office workers with automation.

And IT/Engineers? We need them. But 80% less people.
Feb 19, 2023 at 09:51 PM
Rhys (Moderate) says
Because automation will likely be able to fully automate most systems with human oversight
Jan 18, 2023 at 07:45 PM
Boeing 777 (No chance) says
First, we will need to make autonomous cars reliable and safe, which is an extremely complicated task. To do the same for airplanes is at least three times more complex.

If autonomous planes fully replace commercial pilots, these pilots will lose their jobs. Furthermore, your once-held childhood dream of flying a big jet above the clouds will be shattered. So, think about that.

Lastly, even if there are fully autonomous planes, there will be many passengers who feel unsafe about flying in a plane without a single pilot.
Jan 12, 2023 at 04:41 PM
Altsu (Low) says
The public view on planes being flown by robots instead of a human at the controls would most likely be negative. I personally wouldn't fly on a robot operated plane
Jan 09, 2023 at 12:01 PM
Billy Crews (Low) says
I feel like there are decisions that can't be made by AI. For instance, situations like 9/11 or Sully and the crash landing.

I 100% agree that AI can fly planes. For instance, in the military, most are drones piloted by people. So, I still think it's possible for it to go either way.
Oct 04, 2022 at 06:13 PM
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
Arctic International says
Yes! at last, someone who agrees with me! Aviation live FOREVER!
Sep 04, 2023 at 11:14 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

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