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Description, Education And Training, How Chemical Fertilizers Were Born, For More InformationSalary, Outlook

If you love the natural landscape and crave adventure, a career as an agricultural aviation pilot might be just the ticket. Flying low, you'll spray fertilizers and other chemicals over fields and forests. You might even take aerial photographs of agricultural and wilderness areas to aid in conservation planning. Flying is risky, and exposure to chemicals can be dangerous. But for agricultural pilots, a life of freedom and excitement often makes up for potential hazards.


Work is seasonal, and the average mid-range salary for an agricultural aviator is $17,000. (Some pilots also earn a percentage of fees charged by their employer.) A pilot can earn as much as $35,000 a year by supplementing his or her income with other flying jobs during the off-season. Managers and owners of large aerial applicator companies usually earn more than self-employed pilots or employees.


Between 1992 and 2005, employment opportunities for agricultural aviation pilots are expected to grow by 30 percent. However, competition will be keen as military pilots retire from the U.S. armed forces and seek civilian jobs, and as commercial pilots lose their jobs due to changes in the airline industry since September 11, 2001.

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