The chart shows the number of pilots based on certification by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. The number has been in decline since 2010. Costs to become a pilot are high and pay, until recently, was pretty low. In the next decade, more pilots must retire at the mandatory retirement age of 65. Yet, the need for pilots is expected to double over the next 20 years, according to a Boeing Co. forecast. But one area that is growing -- Airline Transport Pilots, which requires the most amount of training and 1,500 flight hours -- will help fly those United Airlines and FedEx jets. But you can't get an ATP license unless you already have a commercial one. Years 2018 and beyond are FAA forecasts.