Careers in Aviation

Pilots

There are many ways to make a living as a pilot, from a flight instructor to a commercial airline pilot.

The list below is by no means comprehensive, but will give you an idea of the variety of ways to fly and earn an income. Almost all paid pilot positions will require a Commercial Pilot certificate, Second Class Medical certificate, and specialized training or additional ratings depending on the job. Some pilot careers will require an Airline Transport Rating (ATP) and a First Class Medical certificate.

Career Title Typical Education Requirements
Agricultural Pilot College preferred; most require 4 year degree, special training, and pilots license, and aviation medical certificate
Air Taxi Pilot Four year college degree preferred, plus pilots license, and aviation medical certificate
Air Traffic Reporting Pilot Four year college degree preferred plus pilots license, and aviation medical certificate
Astronaut Engineering, physical science, physics, or similar advanced degree, and aviation medical certificate
Corporate Pilot College preferred; most require 4 year degree, pilots license, and aviation medical certificate
Flight Instructor Two year college degree preferred, pilots license, and aviation medical certificate
Helicopter Pilot College preferred; most require 4 year degree, pilots license, and aviation medical certificate
Major / National Airline Pilot College preferred; most require 4 year degree, pilots license, and aviation medical certificate
Military Pilot Four year college degree required, and aviation medical certificate
Regional Airline Pilot Four year college degree preferred, plus pilots license and aviation medical certificate
Test Pilot Four year college degree preferred, plus pilots license and aviation medical certificate

Airports

A variety of careers are associated directly with airport operations.

With all those airplanes coming and going, who’s keeping an eye on the airport itself? Many people don’t realize the number and variety of careers that are associated directly with airport operations. See all the opportunities a career in airport operations holds.

Career Title Typical Education Requirements
Accident Investigator College degree, aviation industry experience
Administrative Assistant High School diploma, two year college degree preferred
Air Freight / Cargo Agent High School diploma, two year college degree preferred, shipping experience
Air Taxi Pilot Four year college preferred, pilots license, and aviation medical certificate
Air Traffic Reporting Pilot Four year college preferred, pilots license, and aviation medical certificate
Airframe and Powerplant inspector High School diploma, technical training; two year degree preferred, A&P License
Airframe or Powerplant Mechanic High School diploma, technical training; two year degree preferred, A&P License
Airport Manager College degree in airport management or business administration
Architect Architecture degree
Avionics Technician/ Specialist High School diploma, two year college degree preferred, plus technical training
Cargo Handlers High School diploma
Concession Worker High School diploma
Corporate Pilot College preferred; most require 4 year degree, pilots license, and aviation medical certificate
Customs Agent Two year college degree preferred, plus special training
Fire and Crash Rescue Two year college degree preferred, plus special training
Fixed Base Operator Manager High School diploma; two year college degree preferred
Flight Instructor High School diploma; two year college degree preferred
Food Preparation Specialist High School diploma; two year college degree preferred, plus health certificate
Information Systems Specialist College degree in field
Lineperson/fueler High School diploma; two year college degree preferred
Marketing / Public Relations Four year college degree in field
Operations Supervisor Four year college degree in field
Ramp Service Personnel High School diploma
Safety Inspector Engineering degree and / or experience as a pilot or aircraft mechanic
Secretary High School diploma; two year college degree preferred
Security Officer High School diploma; two year college degree preferred, special training
Sky Cap High School diploma
Station Manager Four years of college preferred, experience required
Technician (Avionics/Electronics) High School diploma, technical school, two year college degree preferred
Test Pilot Four years of college preferred
Ticket Agent High School diploma, two year college degree preferred

Airlines

Find a career one of the largest employing industries out there today.

Career Title Typical Education Requirements
Administrative Assistant High School diploma, two year college degree preferred
Air Freight / Cargo Agent High School diploma, two year college degree preferred, shipping experience
Airframe or Powerplant Mechanic High School diploma, technical training; two year degree preferred, A&P License
Assembler/Installer High School diploma
Aviation Attorney Four year degree and a Law degree
Aviation Medical Examiner Medical degree
Avionics Specialist High School diploma, two year college degree preferred, plus technical training
Baggage Handler High School diploma
Cabin Maintenance Mechanic High School diploma, two year college degree preferred, plus technical training
Cargo Handler High School diploma
Concession Worker High School diploma
Customer Service Representative High School diploma, two year college degree preferred, plus business experience
Electrical Installer/Technician High School diploma, two year college degree preferred, plus technical training
Flight Attendant High School diploma, two year college degree preferred, plus special training
Flight Dispatcher Dispatcher’s license; two year college degree, and experience preferred
Flight Physician Medical degree
Food Preparation Specialist High School diploma, health certificate required, two year college degree preferred
Ground Attendant High School diploma, two year college degree preferred
Information Systems Specialist Four year college degree preferred
Line Person High School diploma
Machine Tool Operator High School diploma, two year vocational/ technical school, or college
Major / National Airline Pilot College preferred; most require a 4 year degree
Manufacturing Engineer Four year college degree in field
Marketing Analyst Marketing degree; plus experience
Meteorologist Meteorology degree; experience preferred
Operations Supervisor Four year college degree in field
Passenger Service Agent High School diploma, two year college degree preferred, experience helpful
Quality Control Technician High School diploma, two year college degree preferred, experience required
Ramp Planner High School diploma, two year college degree preferred, experience helpful
Ramp Service Personnel High School diploma, two year college degree preferred, experience helpful
Regional Airline Pilot College preferred; most require four year college degree, pilots license, and aviation medical certificate
Reservation Sales Agent High School diploma, two year college degree preferred
Scheduling Coordinator Two year college degree preferred; experience helpful
Secretary High School diploma, two year college degree preferred
Security Officer High School diploma, two year college degree preferred, plus special training
Sheet Metal Fabricator High School diploma, two year college degree preferred, plus technical training
Sky Cap High School diploma
Station Manager Four years of college preferred, experience required
Technician (Avionics/Electronics) High School diploma, technical school, two year college degree preferred
Test Pilot Four years of college preferred
Ticket Agent High School diploma, two year college degree preferred

Aircraft Manufacturing

There are a wide variety of aircraft manufacturing companies – and nearly as many career choices in the industry. From small single-engine personal aircraft all the way to gigantic transports, you could be building the airplanes of tomorrow.

Career Title Typical Education Requirements
Administrative Assistant High School diploma, two year college degree preferred
Aeronautical Engineer Engineering degree in field
Aerospace Engineer Engineering degree in field
Aircraft Assembler and Installer High School diploma, two year college degree preferred
Civil Engineer Engineering degree in field
Corporate Pilot College Preferred; most require 4 year degree
Electrical Engineer Engineering degree in field
Electrical Installer and Technician High School diploma, two year college degree preferred, plus technical training
Information Systems Specialist College degree in field
Inspector – Quality Control High School diploma, two year college degree preferred, plus technical training
Machine Tool Operator High School diploma, two year college degree preferred, plus technical training
Manufacturing Engineer College degree in field
Marketing / Public Relations College degree in field, plus experience
Mechanical Engineer Engineering degree in field
Operations Supervisor College degree in field
Quality Control Technician High School diploma, two year college degree preferred, plus technical training
Secretary High School diploma, two year college degree preferred
Sheet Metal Fabricator High School diploma, two year college degree preferred, plus technical training
Technicians (Avionics/Electronics) High School diploma, technical school, two year college degree preferred
Test Pilot Four year college degree preferred
Tool, Jig and Fixture Maker High School diploma, vocational/technical school, two year college degree preferred

Source: EAA: Experimental Aircraft Association https://www.eaa.org/en/eaa