How To Start a Career in Aviation

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Aviation is a great industry to work in. Not only are employment positions in the industry extremely lucrative, but demand for qualified aviation workers is likely to stay high for the foreseeable future. Why not take advantage of these perks by launching your aviation career today?

The good news is – you don’t need to be a superhero to start a career in aviation. There are many different ways to get your foot in the door and just as many ways to propel your career once you’re inside. Below is a summary of steps you can take today to launch your aviation career.

Choose a Specialty

Top careers in the field include;

  1. Pilots: A pilot specializes in flying different types of aircraft and has to work his/her way through the system as a Captain, First Officer, and then Flight Engineer.
  2. Aircraft manufacturing engineers: Responsible for developing and installing different types of aircraft manufacturing systems as well as developing maintenance programs.
  3. Aircraft mechanics: Responsible for manufacturing and the maintenance for different parts of the aircraft, such as the engine, landing gear, brakes and pumps.
  4. Quality control personnel: Include testers, inspectors, and graders. These professionals continually check parts and materials to ensure that they meet quality and safety standards.

After researching and selecting a specialty for your career path.

Understand Requirements and Benefits

Begin by understanding the kind of education, training and specific skills (leadership, communication, interpersonal, etc) required to get the job. These requirements vary from one aviation career to another. Next up, learn about the duties and responsibilities of persons in the desired position. In other words, what will be expected of you once you’re in the job? Finally, take time to discover the benefits that come with working in that position. Knowing details such as the expected salary and work-life balance can help you make an informed decision.

Get the Necessary Education and Experience

It's recommended that you start at a trade school. The following are some examples even though there are many institutions across the US that offer similar aviation programs; San Diego Flight Training International (SDFTI), Legacy Aviation, the CAE Aviation Academy, or the EPIC Flight Academy. Top 4-year Bachelor programs include the Aviation Maintenance Management course at the Kansas University Polytechnic campus and the Bachelor of Applied Science in Aeronautical Science offered at Green River College. As you advance your career, you can also pursue a 2-year M.S. in Safety Science at the Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and an 11-month M.S. in Aviation and Aerospace Management Online at Purdue Polytechnic Institute.

Certificates, Licences, and Ratings are Critical

An FAA medical certificate, for instance, is a mandatory requirement for all aviation workers. In addition, pilots need an FAA private pilot’s license as well as a commercial pilot’s license. Type Ratings, Airworthiness certificates, and an A&P (Airframe and Powerplant) license are others that can significantly boost your standing and are required for specific positions. To find out the different certifications, licenses, and ratings - that best fit your goals, visit the FAA website and check the Licenses & Certificates section.

Use Self-Branding and Niche Job Boards to Reach Your Goals

Given the high level of competition in the aviation industry, it helps to aggressively brand and market yourself to separate yourself from the rest. Among others strategies, use online platforms to showcase your experience and expertise, and display your achievements where they can be easily found. More importantly, niche job boards should be your best friend. These boards take you to the doorsteps of top employers in the industry, significantly increasing your chances of landing that dream job.

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