Aviation is a field that offers many different career opportunities, and it is precisely this variety in possible aviation careers that means there are options for almost anyone. In this article, you will be able to learn much more about the different jobs that exist in this area and the main skills that are required to be successful.
- What You Need to Know About the Aviation Industry
- An Overview of Different Aviation Careers
- Video Aviation Careers
- Start Your Aviation Career With This List of Aviation Job Websites
- List of Recruitment Agencies Who Can Help You With Your Aviation Career
- List of Aircraft and Spacecraft Manufacturers to Begin Your Career
- Job Description and Tips for Finding Aviation Manager Positions
- A Guide to Start Your Aviation Management Career
- Aviation Courses: A List of Courses That Can Boost Aviation Careers
Before exploring the various aviation career options, it makes sense to learn more about the aviation industry itself. In particular, it can be useful to know how the industry is defined, how it is different from the airline industry, who some of the main employers are and what business models they tend to utilise.
Read the article “Aviation Industry: All You Need to Know About the Aviation Sector”, where you will find all of this, and much more besides, offering you an excellent base knowledge to build upon with your aviation career.
An Overview of Different Aviation Careers
The following are some of the main aviation careers you will have the option to enter into.
Flight / Cabin Attendant
The job of a flight attendant involves making sure travellers are safe and comfortable. The responsibilities associated with the role include taking orders, serving food and drinks, answering questions, offering additional assistance and providing passengers with safety information. In addition to being polite and patient, you will need to have excellent communication skills and a willingness to travel for work, often with a need to stay away from home.
Pilot / Co-Pilot
Pilots and co-pilots are the people responsible for actually flying aircraft and there is also a significant amount of communication involved, as you will need to liaise with air traffic controllers and other ground staff. Airline pilots tend to require a bachelor’s degree, as well as a pilot’s licence, but there are some pilot aviation careers that do not require a degree. Concentration and the ability to make sound decisions under pressure are vital.
Air Traffic Control
Those working in aviation careers linked to air traffic control are responsible for monitoring aircraft movements and providing directions or instructions to pilots and other crew members. In some circumstances, emergency instructions will need to be delivered. Therefore, to work in this role, you need to have excellent verbal communication skills and the ability to work under extreme pressure. You also need attention to detail and strong concentration.
As an aeronautical engineer, you would be required to contribute to the design and development of aircraft and aircraft parts. This means carrying out research, coming up with design concepts, testing prototypes, analysing performance, developing the final product and providing on-going maintenance. A degree in a relevant field, such as aerospace engineering, aeronautical engineering, mechanical engineering or software engineering is needed.
The key duties associated with the role of aircraft mechanic are performing repairs and carrying out preventative actions, in order to ensure aircraft are in full working order. It is, therefore, one of the most important aviation careers, helping to keep aircraft fully functional and in a safe condition. You will need relevant formal qualifications and you will need to complete a training programme, which will likely include written and practical exams.
Airport planners are responsible for planning the layout of an airport, including the addition of new buildings, new runways, and renovations. The role is a highly technical aviation career choice, requiring a lot of research and in order to understand the repercussions of any changes made. Furthermore, all decisions need to be justified and made in accordance with regulations. You will require a degree in a field like aviation management or engineering.
Airport Security Manager
If you gain employment as an airport security manager, you will be responsible for overseeing overall security at the airport you work at. This will mean devising security strategies, monitoring security and safety procedures, and coordinating other employees working in this area. Degrees in areas like aviation management, business management or law enforcement are advantageous but you will also need to have significant airport security experience.
Airfield Operations Specialist
Working as an airfield operations specialist is one of the more hectic aviation career options. In this role, you will effectively take control of the airfield at the airport you work at, helping to keep the area safe and operational. This can mean helping to manage takeoffs and landings and coordinating air traffic controllers, mechanics, security staff and emergency response teams. Some jobs may require you to have a degree in aviation, airport management or similar.
There is a wide range of administrative aviation careers to choose from, with typical employers including airlines and aircraft manufacturers. Jobs exist for data entry clerks, human resources staff, public relations staff, receptionists and communications staff, among others. Many of these are excellent entry-level roles, with little in the way of formal education or previous work experience required and there are often good long-term career prospects.
Airline Operations Agent
The role of airline operations agent is varied, but is largely based around keeping track of passenger numbers, cargo movements and fuel levels, and managing schedules, so that things remain on-track. If flights are overbooked, it will often be the responsibility of an airline operations agent to deal with it. Strong communication skills are important and there is usually a significant customer service element associated with the job too.
Airport Operations Manager
An airport operations manager is a senior position, directly above the role of airport operations agent. If you work in this particular job, you will manage the operations team, helping to plan schedules, monitor performance and implement any necessary changes. You may also take the lead in introducing new technology or ways of working. Typically, airport operations managers will need to have experience as operations agents, although this is not always the case.
An airport manager is responsible for making sure an airport functions properly. The role includes classic managerial duties, such as coordinating different teams, delegating work, hiring and firing employees, writing reports and devising business strategies. On top of this, the job will also involve supervising other staff, making sure the airport in question complies with all rules and regulations, and taking responsibility for the provision of training.
For many people entering into aviation careers, the ultimate goal is to become an airline manager. If you succeed in finding employment in this role, you will be responsible for overseeing the main day-to-day operations of an airline. This may involve working in an office, stepping into different roles to help individual departments and dealing with customers. Extensive experience with airlines or the aviation industry as a whole is needed.
The role of the airport director has some overlap with the positions of airport manager and airport operations manager. However, directors often have a longer-term focus, helping to implement new strategies and tie up contracts with airlines, retailers, security companies and others who will be involved in day-to-day airport operations. The significant airport experience is a must and a degree in a relevant field, like aviation and business management, may be needed.
Finally, one of the more fascinating and unique aviation careers is that of aviation meteorologists. If you work in this role, you are responsible for monitoring weather patterns, forecasting weather conditions and communicating up-to-date information to those who need it, including pilots, air traffic controllers and airfield operations specialists. Aside from relevant qualifications, strong communication skills and attention to detail are essential.
Video Aviation Careers
Beginning your aviation career requires the use of the right channels and the internet provides a range of excellent options. The websites you could potentially use to find work include corporate websites, industry job boards, recruitment agency websites and social media platforms, and each of these options has its own unique benefits.
Read “Aviation Jobs: Overview of Sites to Find Aviation Vacancies” for a breakdown of these various methods, complete with more specific examples of websites and platforms to use during your job search.
When it comes to getting started in aviation careers, recruitment agencies can have a vital role to play. These agencies often work with industry employers for the long haul, helping them to source talent and gaining an understanding of exactly what they are looking for in new recruits. These connections and insights can be invaluable for job seekers.
Read the “Aviation Management Jobs: List of Recruitment Agencies To Find a Job!” article to find out much more about the benefits of recruitment agencies and to obtain a list of some of the very best agencies to contact.
The aerospace industry is made up of a wide range of different industry employers, offering numerous aviation career opportunities. Some of the biggest employers in the industry are aircraft and spacecraft manufacturers, with examples ranging from Boeing and Airbus, right the way through to SpaceX and Virgin Galactic.
Check out “Aerospace Companies: List of Aircraft and Spacecraft Manufactures” for more details on the aerospace industry itself, as well as the main employers operating in this particular field.
Job Description and Tips for Finding Aviation Manager Positions
Aviation managers take on a lot of responsibility and the job tends to go to people who have worked in the industry for years, or people who have significant managerial experience elsewhere. However, to transition into this role, you will need to understand precisely what it entails and how you should go about finding a vacancy.
Read our article, “Aviation Manager Job Description & Tips to Find the Job!” for more information.
For those who are willing and able to take on the extra responsibility, management-based aviation careers can be immensely rewarding. However, beginning your career is not always straightforward, as you need to make sure you have the right qualifications, understand the main duties and know where to look for job opportunities.
To help you get started, the “Aviation Management: A Great Guide to Start Your Career in Aviation” article provides a comprehensive overview of the role, its requirements, the benefits and the best ways to find work.
Aviation Courses: A List of Courses That Can Boost Aviation Careers
The aviation industry is extremely diverse and that means there are plenty of different aviation careers available. In many cases, these career paths can be easier to navigate if you are equipped with relevant qualifications. With this in mind, it can be a good idea to explore the various aviation courses offered by educators.
If you would like to learn more about the courses on offer, how they can benefit you, what they teach and where you can find them, check out the “Aviation Course: A Comprehensive List of Courses & Aviation Educators” article.
The aviation industry is able to offer a wide range of different job roles, accommodating people with different standards of education, skill sets and levels of experience. The aviation careers outlined in this article account for the main positions that are likely to be available for you to apply for.