Did you know that the average salary for an airplane mechanic is around $53,000 a year? Or that commercial airline pilots can make well over $100,000 annually? In short, the aviation industry is full of high paying, highly rewarding jobs.
But getting a job in this high paying business isn’t something that you’ll be able to transition into easily if you’re already working in another industry. Aviation jobs are highly technical, detail oriented positions that sometimes require years of training and certification courses.
If you’re not currently working in aviation, but would like to, you may be pleasantly surprised to find out that some of your current job skills will carryover in the flying world. Take a look at some of the requirements for some common aviation jobs and see if you’ve got what it takes to work them.
What’s it Take to Become a Pilot?
Pilots are the top dogs in the flying business and for good reason. The men and women in the cockpit shoulder a huge responsibility and are put through extensive training. All commercial pilots must have a bachelor’s degree and must also complete flight school. Commercial flight schools take around two years to complete, but most airlines prefer someone with military flight training.
Flying a plane is a tough business to break into and new pilots should expect a few lean earning years before getting on with a big airline.
Flying as a Flight Attendant
If your skill set is more service-oriented than technically-oriented, a career as a flight attendant could be right up your alley. Though most flight attendant job descriptions don’t specifically require a bachelor’s degree, you’ll have trouble finding an airline that will hire you without one. Besides that, the key skill set here is extraordinary customer service skills. All airlines run flight attendants through their own training programs, so no additional coursework is required.
Working as a flight attendant is a physically demanding job that requires you to be on the top of your game at all hours. It also requires a soft touch with cranky people. If you’re not willing to deal with people at their worst, this might not be the line of work for you.
Making it as an Aviation Mechanic
While pilots get all the glory for flying the planes, airline mechanics are the ones who really keep things flying. Unlike auto mechanics, aviation mechanics have zero room for error. Today’s aircraft are extremely complicated machines and servicing them is a huge job.
Would-be air service technicians should expect to spend at least two years studying at an FAA-approved mechanics’ school and must pass a three-part certification exam when it’s all done. Airplane mechanics usually wind up working for big airlines like Frontier Air or specialty service center like Prime Turbines (PrimeTurbines.com).
The most successful airplane mechanics are detail oriented, very thorough and patient people. If you’re the type of person who likes rushing through projects, and moving on, this might not be the job for you.
You’ve probably noticed that breaking into the aviation business isn’t easy. Whether you’re looking to work as a pilot, air traffic controller or flight attendant, you’ll be expected to live up to some pretty high standards. But if you’ve got what it takes, a career in air travel is something that can be both personally, and financially, rewarding.
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Dave Long writes about business and career.