How to Become a UPS Airline Pilot

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United Parcel Service (UPS) is one of the biggest shipping companies in the world. The company employs some 400,000 people to deliver more than 15 million packages a day. Becoming one of roughly 2,800 UPS pilots is both challenging and rewarding. Base pay for a UPS pilot is $50,000, and that salary can soar to $200,000 for company veterans, according to Phoenix East Aviation.

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Attend a four-year aviation college program. You must earn the following certifications:

Private pilot's license. This requires 40 hours in a single-engine aircraft, including 10 hours spent flying by yourself. Flying every day, you can get this license within three months. Expect to pay $3,000 to $5,000 for this certification. Instrument certification. This requires 15 hours in an airplane with an instructor, but be prepared to spend about 10 weeks in school covering instruments in an airplane. Expect to pay about $2,000. Commercial license. You will need 250 hours of flying time, including 100 pilot-in-command hours, meaning you are in full control of the aircraft. Expect to pay $15,000. Jet rating. Jet ratings are relatively inexpensive because the prerequisites are high. The course will take a few weeks, and your total cost will be about $3,000.

If you attend a four-year aviation college, you can earn all of the above certifications and a degree for about $50,000.

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Build up flight time. UPS mandates at least 1,000 hours as a jet pilot in command, 5,000 total pilot hours and experience flying heavy aircraft on long-haul international routes.

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Take a commuter aircraft job to gain flying experience. Although commuter pilots make only $20,000 to $50,000 per year, those jobs are easier to get and provide an income while you gain flight time.

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Submit your application and résumé at the UPS website. UPS will contact you to conduct a one-on-one interview.


Consider enlisting in the armed forces for flight training. As little as five years of service could earn you jet training and experience. You could have enough flight hours to apply for a UPS position when the military discharges you.