Want to get a job in aviation? There are lots of different roles within this exciting industry suitable for all types of people. Here are just some of the main careers within aviation as well a guide on how you can land yourself a position.

Airline Pilot

Many people dream of becoming a pilot. It can be very well-paid, plus you get to spend your life traveling the world. You also get to feel the power of flying a plane

Of course, being a pilot is a lot of responsibility and you need to have the education, experience and good health to be considered for the job. Many budding professional pilots start by obtaining a regular pilot’s license. This could be from a Part 61 or Part 141 flight school. From here a scholarship or education is recommended. There are lots of these courses around such as these top U.S. aviation courses where you can learn everything required. All this training and education can take several years and can cost a lot of money, so be prepared for this.

Pilots of commercial airlines generally need to be over the age of 23 with 1,500 hours of flying experience under their belt. Various specific licenses may be needed on top of a commercial pilot license such as an instrument rating and multi-engine license. If you don’t plan to fly commercial airlines but simply private and chartered jets, these requirements may not be necessary.

Air Traffic Controller

Air traffic controllers are responsible for co-ordinating the take-off, landing and flow of air traffic. They help to create order and protect the safety of every aircraft entering and exiting the airport. It’s a very high-pressure job – but also very well-paid with a lot of benefits.

To work in air traffic control, you must pass a series of FAA-approved tests at your nearest training program center. These tests are notoriously challenging with some requiring a 100% score to pass. In the US, you must be under 31 when you complete these tests. The good thing is that you can take these tests as many times as necessary.

Air traffic controllers need good concentration. A college education isn’t always necessary, but may be looked upon more highly by certain employers. Being in good health is also essential and you may have to pass a medical exam.

Aerospace Engineer

Aerospace engineers are responsible for the design of aircraft. This could include anything from helicopters to commercial airliners. Engineers often work in large teams, focusing on specific parts and overcoming mechanical problems (currently, energy-efficiency and safety are the most rapidly evolving areas of design). There’s also the potential to earn big bucks in this industry – especially if you climb the ladder to a management position.  

To get into aerospace engineering, you’ll generally need to complete a specific aerospace engineering degree. These can take three to five years to complete and may require good grades in subjects such as maths and physics. Once you’ve graduated, you may then be able to find an entry position at an aerospace manufacturer.

Aviation Maintenance Technician

Airplanes need to be regularly maintained to ensure that they’re safe to fly, which means inspecting them and carrying out any repairs that are necessary. This job is perfect for hands-on people with an interest in mechanics.

Aviation maintenance technicians must obtain a repairman’s certificate. This is obtained by doing 18 months of FAA-approved training. There are often areas of focus including electrics and exterior repairs. Having mechanical experience behind you can be advantageous but not always necessary.

Flight attendant

Flight attendants look after passengers throughout the flight, helping with everything from storing baggage away to serving food and refreshments. It’s one of the more glamorous jobs in the service industry, allowing you to travel all around the world.

You don’t need qualifications to become a flight attendant, but you will need to complete training. Each airline will have its own training program. Different airlines may also have their own company perks – this guide to the best airlines to work for could be worth reading when looking into where to get training.

Ground crew

Ground crew work within the airport, handling processes such as checking in bags, confirming reservations and selling tickets. While this job may not offer the chance to work on an airline, it can still offer the buzz of working in an airport.

You’ll generally need to complete airline specific training programs in order to work within ground crew. Other qualifications aren’t generally needed but could help when pursuing a management role.

Airport security

Airport security play an essential part in keeping passengers safe and secure. Their job involves checking passengers and baggage for threatening or illegal objects. It’s a job perfect for those with an attention for detail that enjoy routine.

You’ll need a clean criminal record to work in security and you’ll likely need to pass a series of interviews as well as training. Other than this, no prior experience within security or education is necessary.