How much does a Captain make?

Updated Nov 27, 2023



Total Pay Range
$118K - $221K/yr
Base Pay
$90K - $167K/yr
Additional Pay
$29K - $54K/yr


Most Likely Range

The estimated total pay for a Captain is $157,893 per year in the United States area, with an average salary of $119,438 per year. These numbers represent the median, which is the midpoint of the ranges from our proprietary Total Pay Estimate model and based on salaries collected from our users. The estimated additional pay is $38,455 per year. Additional pay could include cash bonus, commission, tips, and profit sharing. The "Most Likely Range" represents values that exist within the 25th and 75th percentile of all pay data available for this role.

How accurate is this most likely Total Pay range (base + additional) of $118K-$221K/yr?

Top Paying Companies

For a Captain in United States

Below is the total pay for the top 10 highest paying companies for a Captain in United States. Employers include NetJets, Gensler and Alaska Airlines.

66 open jobs
See pay for all companies for a Captain in United StatesView data as table

Top Paying Companies

For Captain in United States

3Alaska Airlines$210,180
4Delta Air Lines$202,718
5United Airlines$190,927
6American Airlines$188,758
9Southwest Airlines$184,224
10Alpine Air$181,621

What are total pay estimates for a Captain at different companies?

Total Pay Range
US Army
CaptainSee 319 salaries from all locations


 / yr
SkyWest Airlines
CaptainSee 247 salaries from all locations


 / hr
MOD Pizza
CaptainSee 201 salaries from all locations


 / hr
US Marine Corps
CaptainSee 121 salaries from all locations


 / yr
US Air Force
CaptainSee 80 salaries from all locations


 / yr
US Navy
CaptainSee 75 salaries from all locations


 / yr
College Hunks Hauling Junk
CaptainSee 43 salaries from all locations


 / hr

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American Airlines
CaptainSee 43 salaries from all locations


 / yr
United Airlines
CaptainSee 40 salaries from all locations


 / yr
Trader Joe's
CaptainSee 37 salaries from all locations


 / yr
CaptainSee 33 salaries from all locations


 / hr
CaptainSee 32 salaries from all locations


 / hr
Southwest Airlines
CaptainSee 32 salaries from all locations


 / yr
Republic Airways
CaptainSee 27 salaries from all locations


 / yr
CaptainSee 27 salaries from all locations


 / yr
ExpressJet Airlines
CaptainSee 25 salaries from all locations


 / yr
Dave & Buster's
CaptainSee 22 salaries from all locations


 / hr
Enjoy Technology
CaptainSee 21 salaries from all locations


 / yr
Delta Air Lines
CaptainSee 20 salaries from all locations


 / yr
Envoy Air
CaptainSee 18 salaries from all locations


 / yr
Download as data table

Captain Salaries

Job TitleSalary
US Army Captain salaries - 319 salaries reported$113,032/yr
SkyWest Airlines Captain salaries - 247 salaries reported$80/hr
MOD Pizza Captain salaries - 201 salaries reported$28/hr
US Marine Corps Captain salaries - 121 salaries reported$119,615/yr
US Air Force Captain salaries - 80 salaries reported$121,613/yr
US Navy Captain salaries - 75 salaries reported$123,310/yr
College Hunks Hauling Junk Captain salaries - 43 salaries reported$62/hr
American Airlines Captain salaries - 43 salaries reported$188,758/yr
United Airlines Captain salaries - 40 salaries reported$190,927/yr
Trader Joe's Captain salaries - 37 salaries reported$98,670/yr
Bellhop Captain salaries - 33 salaries reported$58/hr
Macy's Captain salaries - 32 salaries reported$51/hr
Southwest Airlines Captain salaries - 32 salaries reported$184,224/yr
Republic Airways Captain salaries - 27 salaries reported$154,496/yr
NetJets Captain salaries - 27 salaries reported$228,382/yr
ExpressJet Airlines Captain salaries - 25 salaries reported$160,127/yr
Dave & Buster's Captain salaries - 22 salaries reported$31/hr
Enjoy Technology Captain salaries - 21 salaries reported$71,663/yr
Delta Air Lines Captain salaries - 20 salaries reported$202,718/yr
Envoy Air Captain salaries - 18 salaries reported$140,601/yr
Viewing 1 - 20 of 1,280

Top Paying Industries

For a Captain in United States

The top 5 paying industries for a Captain in United States are Construction, Repair & Maintenance Services with a median total pay of $221,893, Aerospace & Defense with a median total pay of $156,424, Transportation & Logistics with a median total pay of $152,699, Media & Communication with a median total pay of $151,318, and Information Technology with a median total pay of $144,756.

IndustryTotal PayTotal Pay Insight
  • Construction, Repair & Maintenance ServicesConstruction, Repair & Maintenance Services$221,893

    38% Higher than other industries

  • Aerospace & DefenseAerospace & Defense$156,424

    12% Higher than other industries

  • Transportation & LogisticsTransportation & Logistics$152,699

    9% Higher than other industries

  • Media & CommunicationMedia & Communication$151,318

    9% Higher than other industries

  • Information TechnologyInformation Technology$144,756

    4% Higher than other industries

Construction, Repair & Maintenance Services

The top paying company in Construction, Repair & Maintenance Services for Captain is Gensler.


Captain pay FAQ

The average salary for a Captain is $157,893 per year in United States. Salaries estimates are based on 3531 salaries submitted anonymously to Glassdoor by a Captain employees in United States.

The highest salary for a Captain in United States is $221,051 per year.

The lowest salary for a Captain in United States is $118,420 per year.

If you are thinking of becoming a Captain or planning the next step in your career, find details about the role, the career path and salary trajectory of a Captain.

Captain roles provide leadership opportunities and the chance for world travel. Airlines or shipping companies also typically pay for hotels, transportation and meals while captains are away from home. While hours can be long, federal regulations ensure that their schedules include breaks. Captains employed by the military enjoy additional benefits including excellent insurance, free tuition, store discounts, and a pension.

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When this question is posed to captains that visit Glassdoor's website, 72% say they are satisfied with their captain salary. Captains earn a base salary, but it is also common for them to receive overtime, trip bonuses, profit sharing proceeds, and even gratuities from passengers averaging around $38,455.17.

Captains are paid a wide range of salaries depending on the type and size of ship, but on average they make a captain salary of $119,438.14. Initially, they might earn a salary of $91,578.12 when they are just starting out. As they gain more experience in their captain career and move up to larger boats, they may earn a maximum salary of $288,944.76.

If you are a captain in the tourism industry, the quickest way to make more money is to book more trips to earn overtime and extra tips. If you are a commercial captain, then the key to earning more money is to slowly increase the size and value of the ship being sailed. Becoming a captain of a major ship requires a long list of certifications including USCG licenses for various tonnage, USCG medical card, Transportation Worker Identification Card (TWIC), Radar Observer Unlimited, FCC Marine Radio Operator Permit, and more.

Captains that are applying for a new position should use the job interview to discuss their qualifications. Those with a lot of experience on the water should be able to demand a higher starting salary.

If you are currently employed as a captain, you should conduct a job search for captain jobs to become familiar with the requirements of becoming a senior captain. It is very likely that you will need to invest in a long list of certifications and licenses. Once these have been obtained, you will be in a much better position to ask for a 15% to 20% raise.

Additional Resources

Captain Job Description Template