Aircraft brokers act as liaisons between their clients who wish to sell an airplane and prospective purchasers. Typically, brokers have past experience as airplane mechanics, engineers or aviation insurance agents. They must possess technical knowledge, as well as the interpersonal skills necessary to connect diverse parties and complete a sale. Brokers may work either independently or through a large firm such as USA Aircraft Brokers, Inc. For salary data, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies aircraft brokers under the category "Sales Engineers."
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean hourly wage for sales engineers is $45.56, or $94,760 per year. However, the estimated median hourly wage is $42.01, or $87,390 per year, as of May 2011. The significant decrease from mean to median salary data indicates that the highest-paid sales engineers receive significantly greater salaries than their peers, thus enlarging the average. Certain aircraft brokers receive commission — although most don't — which may explain the discrepancy between mean and median.
As of May 2011, sales engineers in the 10th percentile earned an estimated $24.97 per hour, or approximately $52,000 per year. The profession's 25th percentile earned a mean hourly wage of approximately $32, and a mean annual salary of $66,690. On the other side of the spectrum, sales engineers in the 75th percentile earned approximately $55 per hour, or $114,370 annually. Finally, the highest-grossing sales engineers made an estimated $70.47 per hour, or approximately $147,000 per year.
Salary by State
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Utah is the highest-paying state for sales engineers, with a mean hourly wage of $56.42 and a mean annual salary of more than $117,000. Hawaii, where the mean hourly wage is $55.01, or $114,410 per year, is a close second. Other lucrative states for sales engineers include Nebraska, at $110,710 yearly average; Virginia, at $110,260; California, at $107,240; Washington, at $103,730; Massachusetts, at $102,140; and Delaware, at $99,040.
Employment by State
Of all the highest-paying states, only California and Massachusetts are significant employers of sales engineers. Both California and Massachusetts have approximately double the national average of sales engineers in terms of employment density — by far the highest numbers in the country. Other states with high employment density for sales engineers include Wisconsin, Colorado and New Hampshire. California also employs the largest number of sales engineers, with 15,420, while Massachusetts employs the fourth most, with 3,150 jobs. Other significant employers of sales engineers include Texas, with 4,600 jobs; New York, with 3,960; and Pennsylvania, with 2,940.