Top 7 Jobs in The Aviation Industry

Guides · 5 min read · Jan 13, 2022
Jobs in aviation

Have you ever dreamt about being a pilot, designing and creating new aircraft, or just working in the air transport field? Whether it is flying or running operations from the ground, you can be sure that there is an aviation career path for you.

If you want to learn more about what the aviation industry has to offer, keep reading as we present you some of the most interesting jobs in aviation.

Working in the aviation industry

Before presenting any specific roles, it is important for you to know what it is like to work in the aviation industry.

The first thing to note is that the industry is growing quickly, thus opening opportunities for more jobs and for professionals in different roles to escalate their careers to higher levels. Add that to the fact that many of the possible positions found within the industry take you to different parts of the world, and it becomes clear why aviation careers have a special appeal. Of course, we cannot forget the salaries are also quite attractive. More on this later.

Now, if having to travel is what concerns you because you are more like a home or family person, do not worry. There are plenty of local aviation jobs to make your dream come true while still being close to your loved ones.

This said, let’s take a look at some of the most popular and appealing roles in aviation.

A commercial pilot sitting in a cockpit of an aircraft, using the instrument panel.

Airline and commercial pilots

This is the first job that comes to mind when speaking about aviation careers. And the reason is obvious.

On the one hand, airline pilots are the ones under contract with an airline, and they are in charge of transporting the airline passengers and cargo in local or international routes after receiving their corresponding licenses and Airline Transport Pilot certificate. Airline pilots work on a schedule, and the flight hours they do usually go from 75 hours to some 150 hours per month, including other required tasks. Commercial airline pilots can earn over $100,000 yearly, with the average salary being $73,499 in the United States during the year 2021.

On the other hand, commercial pilots have only required a commercial pilot license, and they usually work on a per-flight basis. This means they do not work for a specific company, so they are like freelancing pilots. Common opportunities come in the form of charter flights, rescue operations, firefighting, aerial photography, crop dusting, among others. Regarding working hours, these pilots can take plenty of hours depending on the specific flying activity. However, there are some limits for safety purposes, 60 hours per week being a common number as a limit.

Both airline and commercial pilots see their work take them away to different places.

Flight instructors

This is a great alternative if you want to fly but stay close to your home.

Of course, first, you need to accumulate enough flight time, but the benefits may be worth it. Among them, there are flexible schedules and the decision of taking more or fewer students to make sure you have time to do other things in your daily life. The main requirements for flight instructors are having pilot training and instructor certification.

The average salary for flight instructors sits at a nice $95,174 per year.

Flight attendants

Flight attendants are also in the group of cabin crew jobs that will take you to many places, even around the world if you work for an international airline. And you do not need a special degree, as it usually takes from three to six weeks to complete training with an airline to get the required certification from the corresponding authority, as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States.

If you take on the role of a flight attendant you can expect to be part of preflight briefings together with the pilots, inspecting emergency equipment, and making sure all passengers have a safe and comfortable flight, of course.

Also, as a flight attendant, you can expect to fly somewhere around three nights a week with an average salary of $36,219 a year.

A central view of an air traffic control tower at an airport.

Air traffic control

Air traffic controllers are professionals with the responsibility of instructing pilots about routes, weather situations, and other relevant flight data to guarantee safety at all times.

If you become an air traffic controller, your daily duties will include monitoring the air traffic in designated airspace, providing pilots with landing and take-off instructions, analyzing weather forecasts, and establishing the best possible routes within said airspace. Other duties may apply in special situations.

Air traffic controllers earn an average of $46,114 per year.

Avionics equipment mechanic

Avionics equipment mechanics are key for the safety of the aircraft, its crew, and its passengers because it is the professional in charge of inspecting, diagnosing, and repairing all electrical and mechanical equipment found in the aircraft.

Also known as aircraft mechanics or aircraft avionics technicians, these professionals can be categorized as aviation maintenance technicians because they repair aircraft and keep them fully operational.

An aircraft mechanic usually earns between $48,866 and $69,495 per year.

Avionics equipment mechanics and other ground staff at an airport, ready to service an aircraft before flight.

Aviation manager

A job in aviation management can be found in the airline industry or in airport operations. If working for an airline, the aviation management role seeks to have full control on all the areas of the airline business, including keeping the maintenance records of the airline aircraft, monitoring inspection schedules, and guaranteeing compliance with all Federal Aviation Administration regulations among other activities. While working for an airport, aviation management involves overseeing all airport’s day-to-day operations, with some duties similar to those managers working for an airline.

Aviation management usually requires a bachelor’s degree or at least a college degree and pays a median salary of $74,576 per year.

Aerospace engineer

Also called an aeronautical engineer is one of the most demanding roles in terms of education. This job requires you to have a bachelor’s degree in the field of aerospace or aeronautical engineering, which usually takes 4 years and involves studying a series of technical subjects.

While on the job, an aerospace engineer is in charge of analyzing data and doing corresponding calculations to design, develop and manufacture aircraft. They create detailed specifications for aircraft design, drawings of aircraft components using CAD/CAM software, ensure all parts and the whole aircraft meet safety and regulatory requirements. Aerospace engineers also conduct required tests, troubleshoot issues, and adapt problematic systems and designs.

This position pays a median salary of $105,813 a year.

Final thoughts

If you are among the aviation job seekers you need to know there are plenty more opportunities and roles that are essential for the industry as cargo agents and baggage handlers. Also, there are opportunities in businesses that may not be considered aviation but are directly associated with it, such as car rentals and other tourism enterprises with a presence in some airports.

Remember that if you want to become a pilot you must take some ground school before you can get your commercial pilot’s license. You can learn more about it in our blog posts.

As we mentioned above, the industry for sure has a role for you. You only need to be clear on what you would like to do, take the training or get the preparation required and apply. Do not think it too much, start your aviation career now!

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Carlos Collantes
Carlos Collantes
A mechanical engineer and aviation enthusiast dedicated to share some knowledge by creating top-notch content, especially in engineering and aviation topics.

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