How to Become a UPS Cargo Pilot

Written by sam surgalski
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How to Become a UPS Cargo Pilot
UPS uses almost all types of aircraft, including jets, turboprops and propeller planes. (airplane#2 image by krynio from

United Postal Service, or UPS, is one of the biggest shipping companies in the world. It offers all types of shipping, and a few of the options include flying items in aeroplanes. This is where the job of a pilot comes in; with all the cargo in the world, someone needs to move it. It's your job, as a UPS cargo pilot, to move these items. According to Pilot Jobs Network, UPS pilots fly around 80 hours a month and make anywhere from £32,500 to more than £130,000 per year. Becoming one of these highly paid professionals involves logging long hours in aeroplanes, lots of aerospace certifications, and a desire to fly.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Attend a four-year aviation college and earn the following certifications: a private pilot's license, instrument certification, a commercial pilot's license, and a jet rating. These four ratings will get you the bare bones of what you need to become a UPS pilot, according to the UPS Pilot Career Guidelines. In addition, you will also need to receive a bachelor's degree in aviation or aerospace.

  2. 2

    Get hired as a pilot or first officer in a commuter airline industry. These pilots make a low income (as little as £13,000 per year in some cases), but you will build up hours quickly while making money, according to Aviation Jobs Online. In order to become a pilot for UPS, you need at least 3,000 jet hours. To be competitive, you should have at least 5,000 hours. A commuter airline will help you get these hours quickly.

  3. 3

    Apply to become a UPS pilot online at You will fill out an online application, then, possibly, be called for an interview. If selected, you will start off as a second officer, then progress up the ranks to pilot, where you will make the most money.

Tips and warnings

  • If money is an issue, consider going into the Air Force or Navy. The military can cover all the fees for schooling and certifications in return for a few years of active service.

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