Marine Corps Pilot Career Path


Aviation Maintenance Officer 6002

Roles in the Corps: Fixed Wing Pilot

Aviation Maintenance Officers supervise the maintenance of aircraft and aviation equipment. Their duties ensure that all Marine Corps aircraft are ready to fly to support any mission. These officers are in charge of aircraft inspection, managing technical training and administering safety programs.

Aviation Maintenance Officer Course10 weeks

Benefits Of Marine Corps Pilot

The Marine Corps offers a number of benefits for its pilots. These include:

Excellent pay and benefits Marine Corps pilots receive a competitive salary and great benefits, including medical and dental care, retirement savings plans, and tuition assistance.

Challenging and exciting work Marine Corps pilots are responsible for flying some of the most advanced aircraft in the world. They often work in hazardous environments and are constantly challenged to perform their best.

Camaraderie and brotherhood Marine Corps pilots are part of a close-knit community and are proud to serve their country. They enjoy the camaraderie and sense of brotherhood that comes with being a Marine Corps pilot.

Career stability and opportunities for advancement Marine Corps pilots can expect a long and satisfying career in the Marine Corps. There are many opportunities for advancement, including becoming a squadron commander or even a pilot instructor.

Worldwide deployment options- Marine Corps pilots are often deployed all over the world to support combat or humanitarian operations. They have the unique opportunity to see the world and serve their country in a variety of different ways.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Marine Corps Pilot

From your first day of Officer Candidates School through the day you report to your first duty station, here is the timeline for becoming a Marine Corps pilot:

Officer Candidates School : 10 weeks

The Basic School : 6 months

Aviation Pre-Flight Indoctrination : 6 weeks

Primary Flight Training: Average of 22 weeks

Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced Flight Training: 27 to 44 weeks

Fleet Replacement Squadron: 6 to 12 months

Total Time: About 2 ¼ to 3 years

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Requirements For Marine Corps Pilot

To become a Marine Corps pilot, you must first meet the basic eligibility requirements. These include being a United States citizen, being between the ages of 17 and 29, and having a high school diploma or equivalent.

In addition, you must pass the Marine Corps flight physical examination, which includes a color vision test and a hearing check. You must also be able to obtain a security clearance from the Department of Defense.

If you are a pilot in the civilian world, you may be able to transfer some of your flight experience to the Marine Corps. However, the Marine Corps reserves the right to determine whether or not your experience meets their standards.

What Is A Marine Pilot

Watch: Marine Aviators Train For War At MCAS Cherry Point 1964 ...

A Marine pilot is an active duty Marine who flies helicopters, planes or hybrid aircraft. Marine pilots are first trained as Marines, then go through multiple training programs to gain combat leadership experience and learn how to become pilots. To help its units on the ground, the Marine Corps has several air assets that require trained pilots, including:

  • Helicopters for troop deployment and medical evacuations

  • Attack helicopters for air support for Marines on the ground

  • Fighter jets and attack jets that deploy from large ships

  • Hybrid machines for special situations and circumstances

Related:What Is a Naval Aviator?

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Reaching A Decision To Serve

  • 1Learn about being a pilot. Before you begin making plans to become a Marine pilot, take some time to learn more about this career path, which is the longest and most extensive in the Marine Corps.XResearch source Familiarize yourself with the basic requirements, training, and types of duty, all of which can help you figure out if being a pilot is still the right choice for you.
  • A Marine pilot provides assault support and offensive air support, engages in anti-air and electronic warfare, controls aircraft and missiles and conducts aerial reconnaissance.XResearch source
  • A Marine pilot may get to fly some of the most advanced aircraft in the world.XResearch source
  • It draws on an incredible body of knowledge. Youll train on a wide variety of subjects including warfare, how to fly a plane, as well as lead fellow troops.XResearch source
  • Protecting the United States, your fellow troops, and persons in other countries, along with getting to operate cool machinery can be very rewarding- both personally and professionally.XResearch source
  • It can be emotionally demanding. Youll be exposed to a variety of situations, including active warfare and the death of fellow troops, that may cause you stress.XResearch source
  • It requires superior physical fitness. For example, you may have to fly extended missions or train for long hours. You may even need to survive in a hostile environment if your plane goes down.XResearch source
  • Basic And Advanced Flight Training

    After you finish primary training and are selected for jets, youll begin your basic and advanced flight training. This training generally takes nine to 12 months and involves training in the classroom, the simulator and the T-45 aircraft. Classroom training includes learning about the instruments, visual flight rules and regulations, course rules, meteorology, aerodynamics and safety.

    During basic training, youll fly out to an aircraft carrier to qualify to land on the carrier. Once you complete basic training, youll begin advanced training in the T-45. During this training, youll spend more time on combat maneuvers, air-to-air combat, air-to-ground combat and night flying.

    After successful completion of advanced training, youll receive your wings of gold and be officially designated as a naval aviator. At this point, your final aircraft is also chosen. Within the Marine Corps jet program, two are considered fighter jets, the F/A-18 and the F-35.

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    What Are The Marine Schools One Can Go To

    The Marine Corps offers a variety of schools that pilots can attend in order to become a Marine pilot. Some of them include:

    The Marine Aviation Training Support Group : This school is located in Pensacola, Florida, and offers training for pilots who want to fly helicopters or jets in the Marine Corps.

    : This school is located in Quantico, Virginia, and offers training for pilots who want to fly Marine helicopters.

    : This school is located in Miramar, California, and offers training for pilots who want to fly Marine fighter jets.

    The Basic School: This school is located in Quantico, Virginia, and offers training for pilots who want to become Marine officers.

    What Does A Typical Day Look Like For A Marine Corps Pilot

    How Fighter Pilots Train To Fly The Marine Corpsâ F-35B | Boot Camp

    A typical day for a marine corps pilot can vary depending on their job duties. However, they may spend time doing the following:

    Briefing other pilots on their mission for the day Marine corps pilots often brief other pilots on their mission for the day. This includes sharing information about the aircraft, the route, and the objectives of the mission.

    Flying their aircraft Marine Corps pilots may spend time flying their aircraft to complete various missions.

    Checking their aircraft for damage or problems Pilots need to check their aircraft for any damage or problems before taking off. This is crucial for ensuring safety during their flight.

    Reporting to their superiors Marine corps pilots need to report to their superiors on their mission status and any problems that they encounter while flying.

    Conducting training flights Pilots may also conduct training flights in order to improve their skills.

    Working with ground crews to maintain their aircraft- Pilots often work with ground crews to maintain their aircraft. This includes cleaning and repairing the aircraft.

    Talking with air traffic control Marine corps pilots need to talk with air traffic control during their flights. This helps ensure that everyone is aware of their location and movements.

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    Active Duty The Hard Way To Become A Pilot

    Lets put this into context by first looking at how the military gets pilots for Active Duty:

    Most military pilots come from a military service academy or the college ROTC program. Just getting into a service academy is extremely competitive, and getting a pilot slot upon graduation narrows that field.

    The ROTC program offers some amazing, competitive scholarships, though almost anyone is eligible to join whether they have a scholarship or not. Unfortunately, getting a pilot slot through ROTC is even more competitive than at a service academy because youre competing with every other college in the country for about half of the spots available each year.

    The military does hire some pilots who didnt do either of these programs. They go to Officer Training School after college, and then right on to pilot training. Its also possible to fly helicopters for the Army as a Warrant Officer without even having to finish college.

    The militarys UFT programs are very stressful. One of the many stressors is worrying about whether youll do well enough in the program to earn a spot flying the aircraft you want. I always felt bad as a UFT instructor watching new classes come in with every student thinking he or she was going to be an F-22 pilot. Thats a statistical impossibility, and the process of having that realization forced upon you isnt fun.

    Basic Engineer Construction Facilities And Equipment

    If heavy equipment operations and maintenance get you excited, then this MOS arena will get your heart rate going. The roles within this MOS focus on getting engineer-heavy equipment operational through repair, maintenance, welding, and metalworking. Your role here is essential to maintaining the integrity of buildings, roads, and power supplies.

    Within this field, not only do you have a wide variety of options on this Marine jobs list, but each one offers skill sets you can take with you into the civilian labor world.

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    Guard And Reserve The Better Way To Become A Pilot

    Instead of burning yourself out trying to get into a service academy or win an ROTC scholarship you can go to college like a regular person and apply for a pilot slot directly with any Guard or Reserve unit you choose. BogiDope maintains a listing of these job openings all over the country. You can browse through those listings, or use BogiDopes Map to identify specific squadrons in places youd like to live with aircraft youd like to fly. The map also lets you see airline bases near those units, allowing you to identify places that work for both military and civilian careers. Once you find the right Guard or Reserve unit, you simply fill out an application just like any other job.

    How Much Money Does A Marine Pilot Make


    A marine pilot typically makes around $120,000 per year. However, salaries can vary depending on the size and complexity of the ship they are piloting, as well as their experience level. Some marine pilots may also receive bonuses or other forms of compensation for working in particularly hazardous or challenging environments.

    Following are the average salaries for marine pilots in some of the most common piloting jobs:

    • Ship Pilot: $120,000
    • Pilot Boat Operator: $50,000

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    Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician

    Theres a science to this role, and if you love taking things apart safely then the role of an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician may be just what youre looking for in the Marines. In this position, you do encounter dangerous situations as youre looking to locate and detonate any hazardous materials including IEDs or other explosives.

    This role is in high demand and the need is only expected to grow in the upcoming years, making it an easy position to step into if you can qualify. Plus, thanks to the specialized training, you can find a job in civilian life doing police or protective services work.

    What Youll Do:

    • Locating, accessing, identifying, rendering safe, and neutralizing hazards
    • Disposing of foreign and domestic hazards
    • Hazards removal may include Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear high-yield explosives, UXO-unexploded explosive ordnance, IED-improvised explosive device , and WMD-weapons of mass destruction

    Special Perks:

    • Literally saving lives at work
    • Use a range of tools and robotics

    Career requirements include: You must be eligible for a security clearance and you cant have dual citizenship. You also cant be color blind in this Marine Corps career. And, thanks to a heavy-duty bomb suit, you cant have any issues with claustrophobia.

    Your Place In Our Common Cause

    For nearly two and a half centuries, it has been our Marine Officers who have earned a storied reputation finding extraordinary ways of achieving critical victories. What is just as exceptional as the fights Marine Officers lead is the common cause that lives on the nametape above the left breast pocket of every Marine Officer. Not the one that identifies the fighter, but the one that identifies our country and its ideals. Not just Marine Officers, but United States Marine Officers.

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    Assault Amphibious Vehicle Officer 1803

    AAV officers command, or assist in commanding, assault amphibian units, provide recommendations to the supported unit commander for the tactical employment of AA units. AAV officers also direct AA units on maneuvers, tactical problems, and in combat.

    What Aircraft Do Marine Corps Pilot Fly

    U.S. Marine Corps Officer Candidates School

    The Marine Corps has a fleet of both fixed wing and rotary aircraft that you could be assigned to. The fixed wing lineup includes the F/A 18 Hornet fighter/attack jet and soon its planned replacement the F-35 Lightning II. The AV-8B Harrier vertical/short takeoff and landing aircraft, the EA-6B Prowler electronic-warfare craft, and the KC-130 Super Hercules transport and refueler round out the fixed wing complement.

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    Attend Officer Candidates School

    The curriculum of the ten-week Officer Candidates School includes a blend of classroom learning as well as field training exercises. The purpose of this school is to prepare officer candidates to be leaders. Topics include general knowledge, history, navigation, communication, tactics, and leadership skills. Student Naval Aviators are evaluated based on leadership, academic performance, and physical fitness.

    What Is The Work Environment For A Marine Corps Pilot

    The work environment for a marine corps pilot is one that is filled with excitement, adventure, and challenge. Marine Corps pilots are constantly pushed to their limits both mentally and physically in order to ensure that they are prepared for the extreme conditions they may face in combat.

    The work environment can also be quite demanding, as pilots must often put in long hours in order to complete their training. However, the sense of satisfaction that comes with completing a challenging task is what makes the marine corps pilot job so rewarding.

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    Attend The Basic School

    All newly commissioned Marine Corps officers must attend The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia. The purpose of The Basic School is to impart a basic level of tactical competency and combat leadership skills to all new second lieutenants. The Marines are known for their esprit-de-corps, and instilling this sense of comradery and love of unit is another key focus of TBS.

    Qualification Training A Full

    III MEF Photos

    Once a unit hires you, theyll send you to OTS and schedule you for UFT. Not only do they foot the $1,000,000+ bill for your flight training, they give you full-time pay as a Lieutenant or Warrant Officer while youre there. One of the beauties of this path is that you know from day one of UFT what aircraft youll be flying after graduation. You need to fly well enough to pass, but you dont have to deal with the added stress of having to compete for a spot flying the aircraft you want. I cannot overstate how much this improves your Quality of Life for that year!

    After UFT, youll go to a qualification course for your units aircraft. This is another very intense few months during which youre still getting paid and accruing lots of flight hours in a relatively short period of time. After you earn a basic qualification in your aircraft youll go home to your unit to Mission Qualification Training .

    It will probably be 18-24 months from the time you go to OTS to the time youre qualified to fly actual missions with the squadron that hired you. At that point, most units will put you on full-time orders for anywhere from a few months to two years. They call this seasoning and they want you flying as much as possible to build your skills prior to potentially going part-time. You should plan on deploying, possibly more than once, during this time. All told, youll have spent 3-4 years on full-time military flying.

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    After Your First Tour Of Duty

    Naval officers alternate between tours of duty with shore-based units and operational commands that deploy overseas in support of our nations maritime strategy. There is also opportunity for postgraduate study, advanced technical training in your specialty and coursework at military service colleges in leadership, management, tactics, strategy, and international relations.

    So How Bad Is It Really

    As of March 2019, according to the MOS inventory report from HQMC, overall fixed-wing, company grade aviation strength stood at a staggering 52%. This value encompasses all aviators for the C-130, F-35, F-18, and AV-8B communities.

    Rotary Wing and Tiltrotor company grades fair somewhat better at 76% overall with all but one, the AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicopter community, tracking well below the 85% mark of what is considered a healthy inventory level, as seen in the table below. The data also shows a worrying trend of over-staffing well above 100% for field grade in all communities except the struggling MV-22 field.

    Table 1. Aviation Inventory Levels

    At this point one might ask, If the fixed-wing community is so much worse off, why are you focusing on the rotary and tiltrotor communities so much? The answer: The extreme focus on the shortage of Fixed Wing aviators has distracted from an equally distressing shortage in the Rotary Wing and Tilt-Rotor communities that HQMC is failing to adequately address.

    So what is causing this shortage? This is a very complex problem, and while every aviator has their reasons for staying or leaving ranging from quality of life to financial opportunity one systematic constant significantly contributes to the current exodus.

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