CANOE Network

The Toronto Sun CareerConnection


Spotlight on: Pilots

Pilots fly fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters to transport passengers/freight and provide other services including search and rescue, aerial surveying and spraying, and crop dusting. They may also test new aircraft.

Flight engineers (second officers) monitor the engines, fuel consumption, and functioning of aircraft systems during flight, and may assist in flying the aircraft.

Flying instructors teach student pilots procedures/techniques of flying aircraft and ground-school subjects such as navigation, radio procedures, and flying regulations.

Where they find work

Transportation & Storage 84%
Communication 4
Other Transportation Equipment 4
Education 4
Public Administration 2
Logging and Forestry 2
Accommodation, Food & Recreational Services 1

People in this group work for airline and freight companies, flying schools, the Canadian Forces, and for other business/government aircraft operators.

The unionization rate (53%) is above the average (32%) for all occupations.

The highest concentrations (per 10,000 people) of air pilots, flight engineers, and flying instructors are found in Nova Scotia and British Columbia while the lowest concentrations are in Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.

Something to think about

To enhance your professional knowledge and broaden your opportunities, consider:
  • Continually updating your knowledge;
  • Improving interpersonal skills;
  • Setting standards and guidelines for safety/operations; and
  • Learning how to build and maintain customer relations.


    What you need

    In general, you must finish high school, graduate from a certified flying or aviation school, and have a commercial pilot's licence or an air transport pilot's licence. You may also need a university degree or college diploma.

    To be a pilot, you may need additional licences or endorsements to fly different types of aircraft. Some employers may provide structured training for pilots and flight engineers.

    To be a flight instructor, you need Transport Canada ratings and endorsements to provide instruction on different types of aircraft. Many recent entrants have a trade/vocational certificate or community college diploma, and almost three in 20 have an undergraduate university degree.

    Useful high school subjects
  • Business management
  • Report writing
  • Customer relations
  • Mechanical and computer skills
  • Math
  • Physics
  • Computer-related courses
  • English
  • French

    -- HRDC

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