Hottest Airport Careers in 2015

Whether you’re looking to start an aviation career or simply find a summer job, the airport has many employment opportunities available. This is not an industry which is here today and gone tomorrow. Air travel is depended on by millions of people every single day. Since 2006, an average of 800 million scheduled passengers traveled on U.S. airlines and on foreign airlines serving the United States. Needless to say, the demand is here. And with the high demand comes plenty of opportunities including numerous airport jobs and career paths to choose from. Below, I have listed some potential airport careers you can pursue as well as a few entry level airport jobs available today at most airports.

Airport Careers

Aircraft Pilot

The pilot’s main responsibility is to fly passengers from one destination to the other. The commercial aircrafts are normally operated by two pilots, the pilot and the co-pilot. There are many pros to being a pilot including possibly traveling all over the world and making a six figure income.  However, there are some potential cons you should know about before embarking on this journey. Spending significant time away from home, flying in inclement weather, and being responsible for a plane full of passengers are a few. Salary: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that airline pilots earned an average of $98,410 per year in 2012.

Requirements

• Be at least 18 years of age
• Obtain four year college degree
• Go to flight school and log the required number of flight hours (Make sure FAA approved)
• Obtain a pilot’s license

Airport Manager

Airport managers are responsible for the day to day operations of an airport. In order for airplanes to safely carry passengers around the nation and world, it’s necessary for everything to be professionally managed on the ground. Many components, such as security, parking and gate management, must be maintained and run smoothly so that an airport can function. Salary range: $45,000 to $100,000 depending on size of airport and years of managerial experience.

Requirements

• Obtain four year college degree
• Numerous year of high level managerial experience
• Communication and negotiation skills; leadership; problem-solving are a few of the intrapersonal skills required

Air Traffic Controller

Air traffic controllers manage the aircraft through all aspects of their flight with the priority of safety, followed by other aspects such as ensuring arrivals and departures are on time. They use highly sophisticated radar and radio communication equipment to communicate advice, information and instructions to pilots. Salary Range: The median annual wage for air traffic controllers was $122,530 in May 2012.

FAA Minimum Requirements

• Be a United States citizen
• Start at the FAA Academy no later than your 31st birthday
• Pass a medical examination
• Pass a security investigation
• Have three years of progressively responsible work experience, or a Bachelor’s degree, or a combination of post-secondary education and work experience that totals three years.
• Pass the FAA air traffic pre-employment tests
• Speak English clearly enough to be understood over communications equipment

Aircraft Maintenance Manager

The aircraft maintenance manager oversees and manages the aircraft maintenance workload, planning, interaction with upper management, and reporting. He/She will handle all audits for both the FAA and our customers. Interacts with lead mechanics to assure the work loads are being managed and planes depart on time. Monitors the progress of the aircraft. Median salary: $74,000.

Requirements

• Obtain four year college degree
• Numerous year of high level managerial experience
• Communication and negotiation skills; leadership; problem-solving are a few of the intrapersonal skills required

Flight Attendant

Members of an aircrew employed by airlines primarily to ensure the safety and comfort of passengers aboard commercial flights, on select business jet aircraft, and on some military aircraft’s. Duties include providing safety instructions prior to flight takeoff, serving food and beverages, and ensuring the overall traveler experience is good. Great interpersonal skills are a MUST in this position. Air travelers can be cranky and pushy so the flight attendant has to be able to adequately handle these types of people. One thing to keep in mind in regards to a career as a flight attendant, you only get paid for “on flight” hours. There is no guaranteed 40 hour work week like most normal airport jobs. The airline may offer you $20.00 an hour which is nice but if they can only guarantee you 80 hours a month, this could make it rather difficult to pay the bills.  Salary: There is a very large range depending on the airline and your experience/qualifications. $22,000 to $87,000.

Physical Requirements

• Height range for most airlines is between 5’0” – 5’ 1” and 5’8” – 6’3”.  Some airlines do not have height requirements, but instead require that you be able to reach a certain height.
• There is no numerical weight requirement, but many airlines do a visual assessment, looking at weight in proportion to height.

Entry Level Airport Jobs

Aircraft Fueler

Responsible for fueling and servicing aircraft in a safe and efficient manner. Other duties include, but are not limited to, accurately calculating and recording all fuel transactions, defueling aircraft, and using fuel trucks, hydrant carts and stationary carts to fuel aircraft.  Requirements: Must be 18 years of age, possess valid driver’s license and GED or High School Diploma required. Salary – $8.00 to $12.00 per hour based on experience.

Baggage Handler

Entry level position. Collects, sorts and checks luggage against flight lists, making sure that items go on to the right aircraft. Transfers luggage from the check-in areas to the departure areas. Moves luggage to and from aircraft holds using trucks, cargo loaders, and loading conveyor systems. Requirements: Must be able to lift bags weighing between 50 and 70 pounds frequently. Must be 18 years of age, pass strict security check and GED or High School Diploma required. Salary – $8.00 to $12.00 per hour based on experience.

Airline Passenger Service Agent

In addition to making and confirming reservations, their responsibilities include issuing tickets, handling payments, and performing a variety of other tasks.  Great customer service stills are a must!  Requirements: Must be 18 years of age, pass strict security check and GED or High School Diploma required. Also, occasionally lift bags or items weighing between 50 and 70 pounds. Salary – $8.00 to $12.00 per hour based on experience.

Another perk included in most, if not all, of the airport jobs I’ve listed is either free air travel or greatly discounted air travel.  I think this is an amazing perk as we all know the price of airfare is not cheap. Hopefully, this has been a good starting point for you as pursue a possible career in aviation.  Good luck!

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