By Mary Grady, Contributing editor
Of all the possible careers out there, being a commercial pilot is one of the 50 best choices, according to a recent report by U.S. News. The list was based on data from the U.S. Labor Department, showing which occupations are likely to add jobs at an above-average rate over the next decade, while also providing an above-average median income. The editors said they also talked with industry experts, gathering anecdotal evidence about employment prospects and job satisfaction. Median income for commercial pilots in 2009 was $65,840, and employment is expected to grow 19 percent through 2018, adding 7,300 new jobs, according to the report.
Many of those new jobs may go to pilots who have been furloughed due to the current economic downturn or because of mergers and cutbacks in the industry. But according to U.S. News, as the economy recovers and a wave of pilots reaches retirement age, the hiring outlook should improve. While the story is upbeat, the multitude of comments -- up to 92 at last count -- is more of a mixed bag. Many commenters note the high cost of training compared to the low pay of entry-level pilot jobs, the long hours and frequent nights away from home, and the uncertainty of any retirement income. Several say they've enjoyed their career but wouldn't recommend it to others unless they have a deep-seated passion for aviation. You can read the story and comments here.