Aviation Career Choices

Aviation careers can be an exciting option for people of various backgrounds. Here are 5 promising careers in the field.

Airline Pilot

Airline and commercial pilots fly and land multi-engine airplanes or helicopters. These vehicles will carry people or other cargo. As a pilot, you will also be responsible for certain safety checks before and after flights. The median annual wage for commercial pilots is $78,740, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


To be an airline pilot or a commercial airline pilot, you will need an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from a certified civilian flight school. You must be at least 18-years-old, have a minimum of 250 flight hours, and undergo additional company training.


Aircraft Manufacturing Engineer

An aircraft manufacturing engineer develops and installs different manufacturing systems for aircraft, and develops maintenance programs and meets production quota. Some oversee a team of engineers.


This job requires an engineering degree and extensive on-the-job training. The average annual salary for an aircraft manufacturing engineer is $72,922.


Airport Operations Manager

An airport operations manager oversees all major airport functions, including economics, public relations, personnel management and business management. You will also be responsible for enforcing rules and regulations, managing budgets and training employees.


An airport operations manager will need a bachelor’s degree in airport management, along with related experience in the field. The average annual salary for an airport operations manager is $69,303.


Air Traffic Controller

As an air traffic controller, you will authorize, control and monitor the flow of aviation traffic according to safety policies and procedures set forth by the federal government and the airline company. Periodic drug tests and physical exams are required throughout your career. The air traffic controller’s median annual salary is $124,540.


To be an air traffic controller, you must be a U.S. citizen with training from an FAA-recognized college. You must graduate from the Air Traffic-Collegiate Training Initiative and achieve a qualifying score on the FAA pre-employment test. Previous experience with Armed Forces air traffic control training could supplement for FAA education requirements.


Flight Attendant

Being a flight attendant means making passengers feel safe and comfortable. You will also be responsible for some aspects of emergency procedures. The median annual salary for a flight attendant is $50,500 per year, but that varies based on experience.


To be a flight attendant, you’ll need to be at least 18-years-old and eligible to work in the U.S. You will also need a high school diploma or equivalent, and be able to meet specific physical and medical requirements. Background in tourism or public relations is preferred. Flight attendant training usually lasts 3-6 weeks, then you’ll need certification from the FAA.


These are 5 of the most popular careers in the aviation industry. Others include aviation maintenance technicians, quality control personnel, and aerospace engineers. With so many options, anyone with a passion for aviation can find their dream job in this field.