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Whether you’re already a pilot looking to switch things up or you’re thinking about becoming one, you might be thinking: where are pilots most needed?

Here in the United States, pilots are most needed in California, Texas, Florida, Alaska, and Michigan. These states need pilots mainly due to population, travel destinations, or isolation from the rest of the country. Outside of the US, pilots are needed in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.

Knowing where in the country or the world that your career is in demand is an important part in landing the job that you really want. After all, there typically needs to be a job available in order for you to get hired. So in this article, we’ll take a look at where pilots are most needed in the United States and also around the world.

When you come to SkyTough for all your aviation curiosities, we pride ourselves on providing only the best, most helpful content. The only way to ensure this is to perform extensive research ourselves while also combining our knowledge with input from other professionals in the aviation industry. That way, you get the most accurate information possible and after you finish this article, you’ll know exactly where in the world that pilots are most needed.

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Are Pilots In Demand?

It’s always good to be going down a career path towards a job that’s actually in demand. After all, who wants to go to school or spend time training and getting certified for a job only to realize that there is actually no demand for that job? Nobody! That’s the same for basically any type of career out there and it rings true for pilots.

Pilots spend months to years training and receiving the certifications necessary to fly. Although not required, many pilots get a degree in a difficult field in the hopes of landing the flying job of their dreams. But think about it for a second. Think back to the last time you were on a commercial flight to go somewhere for work or fun. And the time before that. Picture the pilot that was flying the plane that day.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that the pilot was an older male. I say that because most pilots are, in fact, male and a large portion of them are getting up there in age. And the issue with them getting older and older, is that pilots have to retire when they reach the maximum retirement age as outlined by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

In fact, it is estimated that there will be a pilot shortage at the end of the year and over the next decade. By the end of the year, the current working estimates are that the aviation industry will need 27,000 new pilots. And over the next decade, this shortage is expected to total roughly 264,000 pilots that are in need.

In short, yes — pilots are heavily in demand! So get out there and start getting recruited to become a pilot today. But where?

Where Are Pilots Most Needed In The United States?

While some of you might be interested in moving overseas and becoming a pilot in other parts of the world — which we’ll touch on shortly — the majority of you likely want to stay in the US. That said, the United States is a big country with lots of places, quite a few airlines, and plenty of potential pilot jobs to choose from and apply to.

Choosing where you want to live and work as a pilot can potentially have a drastic effect on the amount of money you’ll make, how you are taxed, and the quality of life for yourself and your family. Above all else in life, you need to make sure that you and your family are happy with the place that you decide to go to be a pilot. But no matter what, you won’t get very far if there are not any pilot jobs available in the area.

So let’s take a look at the states in the US that have the biggest need for pilots. Keep in mind that this is an ever-changing list, as some job openings get filled and others are posted every day. But these five states regularly have the highest need for pilots and are great potential options if you’re looking to relocate for a new career.

Without further ado, these are the five states that need pilots the most:


As far and away the most populous state in the country, California is always in need of pilots. With major city centers like Los Angeles and San Francisco, there will always be people flying in and out of the state, as well as enough wealthy people needing private pilots to fly them around.


As the second most populous state in the country, Texas has the need for pilots for much of the same reasons as California above. Many people travel to and from Texas and there are plenty of pilot jobs available. Plus if you take into account that there is no state income tax, you can save some serious money on taxes!


This might only be a coincidence up to this point, but Florida is the third most populated state in the country and is also third on this list. Which does make sense — more people, more pilots needed. Because let’s be honest, I’m sure you all know someone that regularly vacations in Florida to take advantage of the weather and activities. And like Texas, there’s no state income tax in Florida!


Due to its remote location, frozen tundra, and relative difficulty in reaching, Alaska depends on pilots perhaps more than any other state in the country. You’ll have no problem finding a pilot job in Alaska. And if you become a bush pilot and can pilot a bush plane into some hard to reach destinations, you’ll be even more desired!


This one might come as a bit of a surprise, but Michigan is actually the state with the highest average salary of any other state in the country for airline pilots. Part of the reason the pay is so high is that they’re in need of more pilots up there in Michigan, so the airlines need to pay more to attract more applicants. Take advantage of that today and start looking for a job in Michigan!

Which Countries And Parts Of The World Need Pilots The Most?

Up until this point, we’ve been mainly talking about where pilots are needed most here in the US. But some of you may be wanting to move overseas to begin with or you might be from other places in the world. It’s a big world out there, and the United States is just one little piece of it. So let’s take it a step further and expand our search to include everywhere in the world.

These are the countries and regions of the world that need pilots the most (other than the US):


The continent of Asia has nearly 4.6 billion people, which is significantly more than any other continent. In fact, that’s more than every other continent combined! Based on that fact alone, there will always be job opportunities in Asia. But in particular, China is in need of pilots. Due to how badly Chinese-based airlines need pilots, the average salary of an airline pilot in China is $300,000 — you could do far worse!

The Middle East

In recent decades, parts of the Middle East have grown exponentially in terms of luxury travel destinations and business centers of the world. In large part, thanks to the UAE and places such as Dubai, more and more people are traveling to and from this area of the world every year. Airlines such as Emirates are in desperate need of more pilots as they try to keep up with the surge and take advantage of the popularity.


The US is much like many of the countries in Europe, so people like to travel back and forth between the two very often. And with the idea of travel to and from Europe being more popular than ever, airlines need more pilots to handle the demand. Of the three locations mentioned here, you would likely experience the least change in lifestyle if you decide to leave the US and become a pilot in Europe!

At the end of the day, pilots are needed all over the world. So no matter if you want to stay in the US (or come work here), or you’re looking for a pilot job elsewhere in the world, you should be able to find one. Best of luck out there on your job search, and I hope that you land the flying job of your dreams!