This is a two part questions and answer:
Some Pilot organizations actually DON’T want you to have ANY level of experience. They want you to enter, and train to THEIR specifications. On the other end of the spectrum, most pilot organizations require you to have an Unlimited Masters license, Oceans. This is especially true of STATE pilot organizations.
Some Federal pilot organizations (and/or docking masters) only require you to have a tug boat license, typically a 1600 ton license, with a towing endorsement. BUt you have to actually draw the Pilot charts, and Pass the USCG exams to get the license. You can’t just say; "I’m going to be a pilot.’ You actually have to be able to do it! It is not easy, or more guys would enter the trade. It is a very narrow (career wise) path, with not alot of places that will hire you, or even entertain your application.
The common point of both State and Federal pilotage is: You have to be invited, and be approved to join the system. It is not a simple; “hey, I wanna work here.” type of introduction and you just go into it.
I know several individuals who are quite adept at drawing the charts to get USCG pilotage. BUT, they are in NO way competent as a pilot, or even know HOW to be a pilot. On the other hand, I have met several people over the years who are great ‘Pilots’ but they don’t actually have the USCG endorsement!.
Joining a Pilot organization is just one part of the equation.
Getting the pilotage, having the expertise to do the job, and being accepted INTO an organization is the whole picture. At this point in your career, before you lock into a career path, first see if you even like being away from home for extended periods, see if you can have a relationship one week on and off, and see if you even can ‘stand’ living cooped up on a boat for a while. Before you become the next ‘pilot’ make sure you are an excellent deckhand. You can’t be the boss if you don’t do well as the grunt.