How Much Income Does an F-22 Pilot Make?

How Much Income Does an F-22 Pilot Make?
Image Credit: Paul Biris/Moment/GettyImages

According to the United States Air Force, an F-22 pilot is a type of United States Air Force pilot specially trained to fly a specific model of fighter jet. F-22 pilots may also fly for the Navy, Army or other military branches on active duty instead of the USAF.

Advertisement

What is the average salary of a fighter pilot? Like many government officials, an Air Force pilot salary depends on years of service, their rank (such as second lieutenant, lieutenant colonel and so on) and other factors. Besides Air Force fighter pilot income information, you'll also need to know what this career path entails before deciding if it's right for you.

Advertisement

Video of the Day

Job Description

A fighter pilot in the United States Air Force is valuable to many military missions and preparedness. Primarily, they undergo ongoing flight training of various kinds to remain ready to participate in multiple movements or even emergencies.

Advertisement

This training includes a lot of time spent in the air, but it also focuses on the weapons that fighter pilots use. They must also know how their planes and other equipment work and how to maintain them. Finally, the military pay of fighter pilots often includes other responsibilities that are more general. They may work with new pilots or have commissioning duties.

Advertisement

Education

All Air Force F-22 pilots are officers, meaning there are stringent education requirements. While you don't need to have it before enlisting, you'll need to earn your bachelor's degree at some point. You'll need to choose an area of study relevant to your career, such as aerospace engineering, mathematics or physics.

Advertisement

As an alternative path to becoming an officer, you can enroll in Reserve Officers' Training Corps in college or attend officer training school after graduation. After officer and undergraduate pilot training, individuals on this pilot career track participate in other training programs as they rise through the military ranks.

Advertisement

Industry

The F-22 Raptor is a single-seat, twin-engine fighter jet. This plane utilizes some of the most advanced technology and is one of the most powerful airborne weapons. Largely for those reasons, the U.S. military has never released or sold its technology.

Advertisement

That means that F-22 pilots have only one potential employer as military pilots. It's one of the reasons this position has excellent retention and a generous salary range. Some F-22 pilots stay in the military throughout their entire career. Many become commercial airline pilots for those who want to stay in the sky. Others move into the private sector with contractors.

Advertisement

Job Mobility and Career Growth

How much does an Air Force pilot make? According to the United States Air Force's recruiting materials, even the lowest-paid officers earn at least ​$3,385​ per month. Since F-22 pilots receive so much specialized training for so long, they're likely to rank higher. The monthly payment schedule is as follows:

Advertisement

  • 0-1 second lieutenant: ​$3,385
  • 0-2 first lieutenant: ​$3,901
  • 0-3 captain: ​$4,514
  • 0-4 major: ​$5,135
  • 0-5 lieutenant colonel: ​$5,951
  • 0-6 colonel: ​$7,139

Sometimes, these military base salaries are supplemented. If you live in a costly part of the country, like Los Angeles, you may receive a cost of living increase. There is also incentive pay in some cases for specific jobs.

Advertisement

Job Outlook

The military doesn't have many F-22 planes in service. For one thing, they're relatively new, only being made since 2005. For another, they're extremely expensive. In 2015, it cost more than $143 million to make one, which doesn't include maintenance costs.

Becoming an F-22 pilot is very competitive; only a few hundred officers regularly fly these impressive jets. While the Air Force will always employ them and require them, they are few in number.

Advertisement

references