Nigerian Pilot Salary in 2020

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Nigerian Pilot Salary in 2020

Nigeria Pilot Salary

Nigeria Pilot Salary is one topic I am most excited to write about because of my love and open admiration for pilots. One out of every six science students over the years wanted to become a pilot including me.

It was a dream I nursed for years but never achieved it because I was not properly informed. In fact, I do tell people but no one told me what I had to do to become a pilot and I never asked because I didn’t get enough knowledge or information to.

However, if your dream is to become a pilot and you also wish to know the salary of pilots in Nigeria, this post is for you. Read carefully to the end and drop your comment about what you think, and kindly share with your friends using the share button.


The dream of becoming a pilot is a great one, as it’s a very unique career path. However, a lot of people have numerous misconceptions about the experience of a pilot.

This drives them to have very unrealistic expectations of the job and it causes negative reactions when they encounter the realities.

The mind-boggling statistics of aviation schools help elaborate this. Research showed that 50% to 70% of future pilots in the United States drop-out of aviation schools. This makes it the discipline with the highest dropout rate. Why do people drop out of aviation school?

There are numerous reasons this could be happening, such as a lack of funds to complete training or receiving poor instructions from flight instructors, etc.

But one that stands out is that this happens because the process is not what people expect.

Most people with the ambition of becoming a pilot have the view that it will open them up to glamorous life and all they need to do is just sit and press a few buttons in a cockpit.

How terribly wrong could that be? Being a pilot is a rigorous job that requires determination and focus. Flying a plane is a lot of work both in training and in practice.

So, expecting to breeze right through training and start flying to exotic destinations, while earning millions of dollars for working just 3 times a month is quite hilarious.

This is what breaks most students; the realities are simply different from their expectations.

Furthermore, there is a huge shortage of pilots globally as a result of pilots reaching the required retirement age and no qualified replacements due to these dropouts.

Due to the required technical skill and health condition required to fly a plane, for one to man an aircraft as its pilot, one needs to undergo a form of training after which if considered fit, is given a certificate which gives him/her the right to fly an aircraft


It really matters your reasons for wanting to be a pilot. You don’t just say you want to be a pilot if the only reason why you want to be a pilot is because of the pay, or if you know you are scared of heights.

Check below reasons why you shouldn’t be a pilot:

1. Job guarantee/security
• You have to spend lots of money to study aviation. A job may not be guaranteed despite spending large amounts of money.
• You have to pay for your training in the company. The more prestigious the airline; the higher their fees may be. Another factor that will make the cost higher is:  location of the school (what country it is based at).

2. Personal life
• Compared to many other professions, working in aviation is totally different from the rest. You don’t get your standard days off or weekends off. Majority of your time will be spent on the job and away from your family. You will be away from your family for days, if not, weeks at a time. As a result, you may miss important/life changing family occasions such as weddings or other ceremonies/holidays.
• As a pilot, you can’t schedule yourself to attend these occasions and change your working days; you simply don’t have that freedom. For some, this is a commitment that they aren’t prepared to take.
• It also has an effect on your children because of the time spent away from home and family. You may miss important stages of their life; it will be tough to parent and discipline a child properly when you are spending so much time away from them. In extreme situations, this may, unfortunately, cause arguments in a household and/or relationship. It can be a negative barrier in your life.

3. Sleep pattern
• Some companies in Europe do not operate flights at night. However, most airliners do operate at night too (especially in Asia). In Europe, flights have a roster. There will be a certain number of flights during the entire day: early morning flights, afternoon, evening and nights.
• You will have different shifts at different times and this will likely cause a disturbed sleep pattern but even more importantly and negatively, it will affect your health. In general, the day is working and the night is to sleep/rest. Working during the night will cause excess stress and fatigue and have a negative impact on your body.

4. Health
• It should come as a surprise to know that constantly flying at high altitudes of 39,000 – 41,000 feet will certainly have an effect on your body, sooner rather than later. Consequently, this will expose your body to different conditions one of them is pressurisation. For example, the cabin altitude could reach up to 8,000 feet and this means that you are breathing in oxygen as if you are on top of an 8,000 feet high mountain. Therefore, the oxygen you receive will be less than if you are on the ground and/or at or above sea level.
• The air inside an airplane cabin is dry due to the bleed system. As a result of this, your skin will be exposed to becoming drier than normal, especially on a long haul flight, you will feel thirstier and your skin will feel very dry. You can take care of keeping your skin healthy by drinking a moderate amount of water.
• Exposure to radiation. If you are flying a private jet that’s flying at 45,000 feet and crossing the Atlantic, you’ll be exposed to a small amount of radiation. However, the more often you fly the more exposed you become. So, your radiation level must be monitored.

5. Medical checks
• As previously mentioned in a previous article, medical checks have to be renewed every year or every 6 months (depending on the company). If you are over 40 years old; most of the Civil Aviation Authorities require a check to be performed every 6 months.
• You must pass your medical in order for you to continue your duty as a pilot.
• If you fail it then this can be very stressful because you can lose your license.

6. Salary
• There is a common misconception among people that pilots earn a high salary that makes them super-rich. This is not true. As a matter of fact, there are many jobs that actually pay more than that of a pilot.
• Pilots should earn a lot more than what they actually earn because there are many risks that come with this job. Training to become a pilot requires a lot of money to even study and it can take many years to earn that money back through wages.
• While it is true that some companies offer a flattering wage; most companies do not.

7. Age limit
• The age limit for pilots (varies from company to company) is in the range of 60-65, unlike some other professions where there isn’t an age limit. Even if you are in great shape/health, once you reach the age limit, that’s the end of your pilot career.

8. Unstable lifestyle
• There are many pilots that work abroad. For example: a pilot born in the US works for a Middle Eastern airline. The lifestyle there is very different than what they are used to. Lifestyle factors such as culture, people, food, environment and language come into place.
• If your contract with one company ends, you could choose to go to another company based in another country. Some people may not like major frequent changes, they like stability in a job/career so this is definitely something to consider too.

9. Exams
• In order for you to keep your pilot licence, you need to pass a simulator test every 6 months. In addition to this, you have to do courses and other tests; this can add to your already heavy workload and lead to stress-related problems. A lot of hard work, commitment and effort are required by you in order to be successful.
• If you fail, you risk losing your licence or job.
• Once you are fully graduated, there are some jobs that train you beforehand and do not require regular tests, so this is an option for those who not too keen on vigorous tests/exams.

10. Limited jobs
• Majority of the money that a company earns is spent on fuelling aircraft. When oil prices are low; an airline can afford to expand their fleet creating more job vacancies. However, when oil prices are high, then companies start to struggle and it costs a lot more to fuel their fleet. If an airline is struggling, people’s jobs could be at stake.

The reasons I have stated above are not limited to just these 10 because they may vary from person to person. A pilot’s life is unique as it is an opportunity to discover something new every day.

Don’t let these reasons put you off becoming a pilot because if it is your dream to become a successful pilot, then nothing should stop you from achieving and fulfilling that dream.


In Nigeria, you can either become a commercial pilot working for airline companies or a pilot in the Nigerian Airforce (Military Pilot).

The main focus of this article is on the commercial aspect. However, we will touch on the aspect of becoming a military pilot a bit.

To become a military pilot in Nigeria, just know that you must be in the Nigerian Airforce. To do this, you must go through the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA).

How To Become A Commercial Pilot in Nigeria

To become a pilot in Nigeria, you need to attend a flying school where you are taught what it takes to be a pilot after which you are certified. In Nigeria, we have more than 10 aviation schools.

However, the cost of enrolling in them is very much expensive unless you are rich. Out of these schools, only one stands out in terms of cost – the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology Zaria (NCAT).

The Nigerian College of Aviation Technology Zaria was set up by the Act No 31 of 1964 (as amended). It was formally known as Nigerian Civil Aviation Training Center (NCATC). It was established to conduct the following:

  • Civil Aviation courses for use in flight training or airport operations and management as may be prescribed from time to time.
  • Training of approved person in the installation, maintenance and operation, as the case may be, of technical equipment, the use of which is calculated or likely to increase the margin of operational safety of civil aircraft.
  • Training on equipment and necessary facilities for technical research or normal use.

Standard Pilot Training Course At NCAT Zaria

To become a pilot, you need to enroll in the flying school at NCAT Zaria. In terms of cost, due to government effort to subsidize the cost, it costs N7.5m to train a commercial pilot on this school. For some lucky ones, they go in through scholarships from their state government or other scholarship. If you are not in such a situation, you have two options left.

  • Pay for yourself or get someone to do for you.
  • Get admitted and then meet airline companies or politicians for sponsorship.


To get accepted for training as a pilot student in the school, the following requirements must be met:

  • You need to be a science student.
  • You must have completed your secondary education
  • You must have an O’Level result with a minimum of 5 Credits. The Credits you have should include English Language, Mathematics and Physics.
  • You need to be at least 17 years of age to get admission into this school.

The Process Involved

It takes about two years to complete the standard pilot course. After the completion of this course in the flying school, a pilot is issued a Commercial Pilot License together with an instrument and Multi-Engine Rating.

Getting this is not easy. In fact, aside money, you need to be good technically and academically to be a pilot. You go through series of test both written and practical before you get certified.

Before you can start flying an aircraft, you need some certification of proficiency. To start training as a pilot, you need a Student Pilot License. As training continues you get a Private Pilot License.

Before graduating, a pilot is issued a Commercial Pilot License. All these licenses are issued by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

These, however, are after a trainer must have passed all the necessary tests which includes both written and practical tests.

Flight Hours Required To Be A Pilot

The profession because of the risk involved is a practical one. For one to be issued a Private Pilot License, one need to have had at least 40 hours of flight training. To be issued a Commercial Pilot License, one need 1500 flight hours.

However, to get a job in an airline company, you need 4000 hours. This is a number that can be acquired in flight school or by hiring a flight instructor from a FAA approved airport to supervise you.


Are you looking for the best aviation schools in Nigeria that are accredited and approved where you can study flight courses, gain pilot license and achieve your passion or dream of flying around the world, look no further as we have carefully researched 5 top accredited aviation schools that are considered the best in Nigeria and their various fees.

Below is a list of the top 5 best aviation schools in Nigeria that you can trust and various fees.

1. Nigerian College of Aviation Technology

This college was founded in 1964 and is currently located at Zaria in Kaduna state, the NCAT is the first aviation college in the country and was known formerly as the Nigerian Civil Aviation Training Centre. This school has proven itself to be not only prestigious but the best among the rest. With their mutual partnerships with domestic airlines in the country, you are sure to get the necessary training you would need to excel in your flying career as a pilot. They also have fleet of operational aircraft that are used on chartered basis.

Apart from training of commercial pilots,  some of the accredited aviation courses offered at Nigerian College of Aviation Technology includes: standard pilot course, private pilot license, international flight planning, flying instructor course, cabin crew basic course and cabin crew refresher course. They also offer aviation management courses and aircraft maintenance engineering, aeronautical telecommunications engineering, air traffic services and communication.

2. International Aviation College

Second, on the list of pilot schools is the International Aviation College which is also located at the same area where you can find the International Airport at Ilorin in Kwara State. IAC is the first privately owned aviation institute in the country. They began flight training in 2013 and have Diamond aircrafts at their disposal in which they use in training their pilots. If you are looking for the cheapest aviation college in Nigeria, I suggest you look else whereas the school fees of IAC is up to N7 million.

For those seeking to enroll in this college, you must be 17 years of age, must at least have 5 credit in Maths, Physics, English, Geography and other subjects which is the admission requirement into IAC. They would also need to pass some test which includes ability test, oral interview and an aptitude test. The course duration is about 18 months (1 year and 6 months). This school boasts of foreign-trained instructors that provide quality training to pilots, air traffic controllers, and mechanics.

3. Landover Aviation Business School

This is another accredited aviation school that is considered the best in Lagos, Nigeria. LABS was founded in 2002. The school offers diverse aviation courses to her students to instill the necessary discipline for a successful aviation practice.

They also have three faculties which include: the faculty of travel and tourism which offers basic airfares, ticketing programs and International Air Transport Association (IATA) certificate courses, the faculty of aviation technical and aviation operations which offers basic flight dispatchers advance courses and also the faculty of aviation management operations.

How much are Landover Aviation Business School fees? From our findings, Basic Airfares and Ticketing Programme can cost you up to N75,000 only which runs for just two weeks. The Basic Flight Dispatcher`s Course will cost you up to N230,000 only.

4. Universal School of Aviation

This is another top aviation school located in Lagos State to be precise at Ejigbo. USA as it is fondly called was established to produce well trained staff be it for domestic and international aviation related agencies. Some top courses offered at the United school of aviatiin includes: travel agency management and hotel management.

You might want to know how much is Universal School of Aviation fees? All still depends on the type of course and the duration of training undergone. According to their portal, most courses cost as low as N50, 000 which is cheap. Although, their expensive pilot training can cost you up to N7 million with discount included.

5. Dhaewood Aviation Business School

DABS is another private aviation school that was established in 2005. If you want to take your prospective career in the aviation industry to the next level, we suggest you attend this school. The school itself is managed by a certified team of qualified IATA tutors. Admission into this college is based on merit and you can visit their website for the requirements into this school.

You might also want to know how much is DABS school fees? All depends on the course of study. For example, the pilot courses of the Dhaewood Aviation Business School can cost up to N7 million while the cheapest fee will cost you about fifty thousand Naira only.


Nigerian Pilot Program Course Requirements
  • You must be 18 years of age to begin.
  • You must have finished your high school education (or equivalent).
  • You must read, write, speak English proficiently.
  • You need a valid international passport.
  • You will be a full-time student, attending classes 5 days per week.

Nigerian Pilot Salaries: How much Do Nigerian Pilots Earn?

Flying an aircraft is one of the most delicate jobs to do. It is one of the reasons why it reflects in their bulky pay and bonuses. The profession not only commands respect roundabout, its delicacy and sometimes complexity makes it a highly selective profession that requires lots of training. If you want to become a pilot, then you must be ready to spend. Labor that will surely bring multiple profits if successful.

Generally, an entry-level pilot earns a minimum of N200, 000 regardless of his or her position, grade or level of experience. It should be noted that fixed-wing pilots earn less than rotary pilots. Most people start as fixed-wing pilots. After some years of experience, they become captains and later convert to rotary pilots with much higher pay.

As of 2018, most aircraft companies pay in US Dollars. Pilots in oil and gas companies like Shell and Chevron earn about $10, 000 – $25, 000 per month which converts to about N3, 000, 000 – N7, 000, 000 when we use an exchange rate of 1 to 305. Air pilots that work with oil and gas companies significantly earn more than their counterpart in airway companies. The take-home of a pilot usually depends on his or her year of experience, type ratings, rank, flying hours and other basic factors.  Let us take a quick look at how much pilots in various type ratings earn.

Commercial Pilot License: An entry-level pilot with a Commercial Pilot License from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority earns between N350,000 and N1,000,000 — depending on the airline, job description and agreement. Getting a job without type rating can sometimes be challenging

A First Officer: A first officer pilot in Nigeria earns between N800,000 and N3,000,000 depending on the airline, flying hours, and work conditions. This is the first stage after type rating.

The Authority: The Authority on the aircraft, usually called a captain earns between N1,500,000 and N5,000,000 per month, depending on the airline, total flying hours, and working conditions.

It should be noted that pilots for local airlines earn about N800,000 per month on average, while pilots that fly international airlines are paid N2 million monthly on average.


If you have any issue or concerns, kindly comment below and it will be attended to ASAP. However, if you want to discuss with an admin on WhatsApp or Telegram, please visit the Contact US Page. Thank you

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