We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

Bell Curve


Trainee. Salary: $30,000 

All your life you've been obsessed with flying. You're scrawny, asthmatic, and technically need glasses (but you haven't told them that), but you don't mind taking orders, and you'll swab as many poop decks as it takes to prove you've got the right stuff.


Junior Airman. Salary: $55,000 

Well, you're a fighter pilot, even if you are assigned to fly older craft out of some base in Nowhere, Alaska, just waiting for the Russians to invade. Although really, the biggest enemy you're facing today is the freezing-cold cockpit. You wish they'd let you leave the jet running; it always worked on your dad's car.


Senior Airman. Salary: $90,000 

You're a fighter pilot with the United States Air Force. You go wherever you're needed whenever you're needed. All that matters is the mission. Especially today, where that mission is visiting a school to get the kids interested in flying planes (as if they need help with that).


Legendary Airman. Salary: $110,000 

You're a flight instructor at TOPGUN. A legend in your own time. You've run so many successful nighttime missions that the brass joke about renaming your call sign "Batman." Yeah, he wishes he was as cool as you.


Astronaut. Salary: $150,000 

You were the best of the best of the best of the best. You're so good that NASA recruited you after the war was over. You've downed enemy fighters, floated in outer space, and competed on Dancing with the Stars. Your spouse still expects you to take out the trash for some reason, though, and "but I flew in space" isn't a valid excuse.