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Air traffic is expected to increase gradually over the coming decade, so there will be more demand for workers in all areas of the aviation industry. Despite this, for positions dealing with repair and maintenance, employment growth opportunities may be reduced as some airlines may outsource maintenance work to specialized maintenance and repair shops, both domestically and abroad. Furthermore, airlines employing more efficient scheduling systems and using aircrafts with more passenger capacity may limit additional demand for pilot jobs. Despite these factors, these jobs are still projected to experience job growth, albeit slower than the average for all occupations.
Aviation jobs include pilots, mechanics, engineers, flight attendants and air traffic controllers. These jobs center around all aspects of the maintenance and operating of airline equipment and aircrafts, preparing aircraft carriers for flight and ensuring that flights are running on schedule. Flight attendant positions handle the management of passengers before, during, and after flights.
The type of environment that an aviation worker spends time in is dependent on the type of position that they are in.
According to the BLS, many pilots fly on average of 75 hours a month and spend an additional 150 hours preparing flight plans and checking weather conditions. Their schedules may be a few days of work followed by a few days off. Airline pilots may spend several nights a week away from home.
Flight attendants work primarily in the cabin of a passenger aircraft. They stand for long periods of time and deal directly with the passengers. Handling difficult customers and dealing with emergencies may cause stress. Flight attendants often work nights and holidays and spend a few days a week away from home. A Typical on-duty shift is about 12-14 hours a day.
Air traffic controllers spend much of their time in control towers, control facilities and en route centers. These types of facilities are usually located near large airports.
Aircraft mechanics and technicians work in hangars, repair stations, or on airfields. They often lift heavy objects, handle dangerous chemicals, or operate large power tools. These workers must take precaution against injuries by wearing ear protection and brightly colored vests to make sure that they are seen when operating around large aircrafts.
Commercial pilots usually need a high school diploma or equivalent. The most common path for a commercial pilot is to complete flight training with independent FAA-certified flight instructors or at schools that offer flight training. Some 2 to 4-year colleges have flight schools. Airline pilots typically need a bachelors in any subject. Newly hired airline pilots typically undergo on the job training in accordance with Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs); this usually includes 6-8 weeks of ground school.
For flight attendants, a high school diploma or equivalent is typically necessary. Some employers prefer to higher applicants who have taken college courses. Flight attendants receive training for their employer and must be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Along with this, flight attendants typically need 1 to 2 years of work experience in a service occupation before getting their first flight attendant job. On the job training, provided by the airlines, ranges anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks, and usually takes place at the airline’s flight training center; this is required for FAA certification.
Air traffic controllers typically need an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from an AT-CTI program, or, must have 3 years of progressively responsible work experience, have completed a 4-year college, or both. Courses in AT-CTI programs focus on subjects that are fundamental to aviation; this includes aviation weather, airspace, clearances, reading charts, federal regulations, and related topics. Most newly hired workers are trained at the FAA academy that is in Oklahoma City. The length of their training may vary. Applicants must be hired by their 31st birthday. New workers start out as developmental controllers until they complete all requirements for becoming a certified air traffic controller.
Aviation mechanics and technicians typically enter the occupation with a high school diploma or equivalent and receive on-the-job training. They typically enter the occupation after attending a Part 147 FAA-approved aviation maintenance technician school that award a certificate of completion recognized as an alternative to the experience requirements needed.
Aerospace engineers must have a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering, another field of engineering, or science related to aerospace systems. Some colleges offer cooperative programs in partnerships with regional businesses, which can give students practical experience while they complete their education. Programs in aerospace engineering is accredited by ABET.
The median annual wage for pilots is around $137,330. For flight attendants its is around $50,500, $61,020 for mechanics and technicians, $124,549 for air traffic controllers, and $113,030 for aerospace engineers.
Most of these jobs require some type of license or certification.
To become an airline or commercial pilot, applicants must receive several licenses; In order of which they must obtain these licenses, these would be student pilot license, private pilot license, instrument rating, commercial pilot license, multi-engine license, and airline transport pilot certificate. Other important qualities that a pilot needs are excellent communication, observational, problem-solving skills, and quick reaction time.
All flight attendants must be certified by the FAA. To do this they must complete their employer’s training and complete and exam. Flight attendants must be attentive, have good communication, and decision-making skills, and physical stamina. Those who work on international flights may need to be fluent in a particular language. Flight attendants must also be at least 18 years old, be eligible to work in the US, have a valid passport and pass a background and drug test. Flight attendants should present a professional appearance, with no body piercings, tattoos, or unusual hairstyles and makeup.
The FAA requires that any aircraft maintenance be done by a certified mechanic with the appropriate ratings or authorizations. Mechanics must be at least 18 years of age and have 30 months of experience to qualify for their ratings.
All air traffic controllers must hold an Air Traffic Control Tower Operator Certificate or be appropriately qualified and supervised.
Certification is not typically required for entry-level engineers but can be acquired later on in one’s career.
You can search for an aviation job listing through websites like CareerBuilder, Monster, Indeed, SimplyHired, and JobsInEachState.com. You can also check your local papers or do a general web search for your area for aviation jobs.