Whether you’ve always been interested in the mechanics of air travel or you’re keen to fly the friendly skies and get paid to do it, there’s no reason not to pursue your dreams. While it is true that careers in aviation can have stringent requirements, and you may have to meet physical standards (eyesight, reflexes, etc.) for certain jobs, there are plenty of career paths in the aviation industry that might interest you. And if travel and adventure are on your list of lifelong goals, there are few fields better suited to provide them as part of the job description. So if you’re ready to earn your wings and jet-set professionally, here are just a few great career opportunities in aviation that you may want to put on your radar.
- Flight attendant. You may scoff at the notion of tying a kerchief around your neck and becoming a steward or stewardess; serving drinks, stowing luggage, and providing passengers with pillows and blankets on demand. And it’s true that it doesn’t pay very well. But there are some perks to this career in aviation, at least in the short term. For one thing, there is no schooling required. You will be trained upon hire. But the main draw for most flight attendants is the opportunity to travel all over the country or even the world, seeing new cities every day. And of course, free or steeply discounted personal flights for attendants and their family members can definitely be a draw, as well.
- Pilot. There are several ways to become a pilot. While joining the Air Force is probably the cheapest way to learn to fly (in fact, they pay you), many people these days opt to attend flight school at an FAA-certified institution. What’s interesting is how many jobs are available to those who hold a commercial pilot’s license. You might think that your only options are to fly for major airlines or man the controls on a private jet. This is far from the truth. Pilots may also fly medical transports, news choppers (with helicopter training), and crop dusters, or they might work for Search and Rescue or fight forest fires. In short, there are many job opportunities available to those who can fly.
- Airplane mechanic. If you’re more interested in the technical side of flight, then perhaps you should stay away from the cockpit and instead study up on airplane engines. When you understand the ins and outs of aeronautic engines and you take the time to earn your credentials from a mechanic program approved by the FAA, you stand to earn a decent salary seeing to the maintenance and repair of airplane engines.
- Air traffic controller. The most appealing aspect of this position for many people is the fact that it requires only an associate’s degree to get hired. Of course, you will have to undergo extensive training upon hire, but with very little formal education you could earn over $60,000 a year, on average. It can certainly be a stressful job, but if you do it right, you can run an airport like a well-oiled machine.
- Flight instructor. If you’ve had your fill of operating commercial flights and you want to pass your skills on to other aspiring pilots, it might be time to call up Anderson Aviation or another flight school and see if there are any teaching positions available. The main requirement for this job is that you have experience as a pilot, although you will also have to earn a flight instructor certificate, as well as hold all applicable licenses, ratings, and so on. But you’ll have the opportunity to pass on your knowledge and experience, helping other pilots to realize their dreams of learning to fly.