This article was originally published on CareerBuilder on 10/25/16.
TO THE SKIES WITH THIS CAREER.
Whether you want to work in the air or on the ground, aviation jobs offer excellent income potential and flexible schedules. You can start at the bottom and work your way up without a college degree, or you can pursue your education before taking a more high-level job.
Airline Pilot and Flight Attendant
If you’ve always wanted to see the world from a cockpit, consider getting your pilot’s license. You can work for commercial or private airlines. Many pilots belong to unions that protect them from layoffs, demotions, pay reductions, and other issues. Pilots who fly private planes and jets might earn more than their commercial counterparts, but pay rates can vary. Either way, pilots have enjoyed excellent post-recession job growth.
You’ll need a flexible schedule to work as a pilot. You might have to fly on weekends and holidays, and many pilots fly overnight. If you’re interested in seeing faraway destinations, consider taking a job that allows you to fly internationally. You might get one or two days to do some sightseeing before you head back on a return flight.
Professionals who don’t want to fly a plane can get jobs as flight attendants. In this role, you’ll answer travelers’ questions, serve food and beverages, remind guests about safety rules, and direct travelers on and off the plane.
From carting luggage to the cargo hold and trafficking aircraft, the demand for ground crew members at airports continues to increase. You might not earn as much money as you would in the pilot’s seat, but you can gradually build your experience and your income potential. Valued employees often get promoted to positions with greater responsibilities, including managerial roles.
If you’re not interested in working outside, consider applying for work in an airline’s customer service department. You’ll greet guests, check tickets, answer questions, and help guests board the planes. From this occupation, you might work your way up to a corporate job that offers higher pay and more benefits.
The U.S. Transportation Security Administration, TSA, hires security professionals for airports across the country. You’ll make sure everyone who enters the terminal doesn’t pose a risk to other travelers’ safety. Some TSA agents work at the security line, scanning baggage and checking passengers for unauthorized materials, while others patrol the airport corridors or respond to complaints from airline employees.
You must pass a thorough federal background check and submit to routine drug testing to stay employed with the TSA. Agents don’t need a college degree, but you have to pass an exam to get hired. If you have specialized training, you can get a job as an explosives expert, canine handler,program analyst, or other high-level position. Additionally, dedicated workers who want to advance in this career can get promoted to supervisory positions, which offer better wages.
Jobs in aviation offer excellent job security and the chance to take to the skies with your career. Whether you want to get your pilot’s license or you want to secure a position at an airport, you can find many opportunities across the United States.