Do you have dreams of becoming a pilot or a flight attendant? Are you interested to learn more about how the world of aviation works? Aviation is a very interesting subject to study because of the many types of jobs available in this field, with each job requiring diverse levels of certifications, training, and education.
The industry of air transportation in the US is constantly growing. With a significant number of people flying to get to their destinations, air transportation has become more feasible than buses, cars, or trains. After all, airplanes get us to our destination the fastest!
Table of Contents
- The Future of Aviation
- Fields of Aviation
- Best Aviation Colleges
- Why a Career in Aviation is a Good Move
The Future of Aviation
Mobility is at the center of every socioeconomic fabric. Modes of transportation (land, sea, or air) have long ago helped facilitate access to services and goods like jobs, health care, trade, or education. Today, transportation is all about interconnectivity, speed, efficiency, and accessibility. With all these demands, this raises an issue on sustainability.
The United Nations estimates that by 2050, roughly two-thirds of the world’s population will reside in cities. So how can we improve the current but already-stretched mobility system to respond to the ever-increasing demands?
For a start, the mobility sector came together with a shared vision: that is, to better facilitate access to cities and countries, and improve multi-layered efficacy in travel. To date, the aviation industry has radically improved, thanks to innovative solutions and state-of-the-art technologies. This equates to a higher demand for people to work in the field of aviation.
Fields of Aviation
Many people strive to achieve their dreams of belonging in the dynamic industry of aviation. Who doesn’t? With aviation, not only will you get a promising career, but this field also comes with several other benefits such as job security and flexibility.
So which field of aviation should you choose? Below are ten career options to consider.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics defines aerospace engineers as the ones behind designing spacecraft, aircraft, missiles, or satellite. They also make and test prototypes to guarantee that they work according to its design. These engineers are employed in several sectors like aerospace parts and product manufacturing, the federal government, engineering services, electromedical, and navigational industries.
Over the years, aerospace engineering has dramatically evolved since it commenced in the 19th century. Technological advancements were noted. Today, professionals in this field are constantly working to create more environmentally friendly aircraft that hopefully produce minimal noise pollution and better fuel efficiency.
Air Traffic Controllers
These professionals are responsible for the aircraft’s movements to keep a safe distance between them. As with aerospace engineers, air traffic controllers can work in several locations, including approach control facilities, control towers, and route centers that have night, weekend, or rotating shifts.
Air traffic controllers are a different kind of breed, considering their very stressful field. But if you’re the type of person who loves the idea of working in a fast-paced, high-responsibility career, then being an air traffic controller can be uniquely satisfying to you.
Aircraft Maintenance Personnel
Also called avionics equipment technicians, aircraft maintenance personnel are trained to do a scheduled maintenance on an aircraft. They handle critical responsibilities like diagnosing electrical and mechanical problems, as well as repairing or replacing defective brakes, wings, electrical systems, and other aircraft mechanisms. Avionics technicians turn to their maintenance manuals at all times to conduct repair procedures, examine aircraft parts for possible defects, test gauges, and aircraft parts, keep records, and inspect the completed work.
This is a very famous field in the aviation industry. A lot of factors have significantly transformed the industry, including ecological requirements, fierce competition, or new technology. This is where aviation managers come into the picture. These professionals are responsible for understanding the aviation field and navigating these transformations across everything from the manufacturing of an aircraft to controlling air traffic. With a critical responsibility as this, you need impeccable management and technical skills to be able to work correctly.
As the name implies, Aviation Safety refers to the measures undertaken to guarantee aircraft are safe and free from factors that may potentially lead to injury or loss. While jet airplanes have long been proven to be always safe, air travel has become safer every year as more and more aviation safety professionals play their critical role in increasing aviation safety. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says the career in aviation safety is aviation safety technicians and aviation safety inspectors.
This isone of the most popular aviation fields to date. When you become a cabin crew, you get to fly all around the world! And the best part? This is all part of your job. Your airline will arrange for your hotel room and transportation for the destinations that you’re flying with work. FlightAttendantCareer.com asserts that “every trip feels like a mini-vacation.”
Cabin crews respond to emergencies and provide routine in-flight services to guarantee the comfort and safety of their airline passengers while they are on-board. Apart from these responsibilities, they are also given several duties and roles like participating in pre-flight briefings with pilots, demonstrating proper use of emergency and safety equipment, conducting pre-flight checkups of emergency equipment, attend to the needs of the passengers, and a lot more.
Aside from getting paid to travel, cabin crews also enjoy flexible scheduling. You can also have the chance to see the world and interact with people from practically all over the globe.
Civil and Military Aviation
Civil aviation includes all non-military aviation like commercial and private flying. This field has two major categories: general aviation, which includes all commercial and private flights, and scheduled air transport such as cargo and passenger flights that operate on a scheduled basis.
One international labor organization acknowledges how important civil aviation is. Without air travel, global supply chains cannot function, or international tourism will not exist. Around 40% of today’s high-tech sales strongly rely on good quality air transport. Add in the fact that perishable commodities like cut flowers or fresh food have no alternative mode of transport other than air travel.
Military aviation, on the other hand, involves using various military aircraft as well as other flying machines that primarily conduct aerial warfare.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, commercial and airlines pilot navigate and fly helicopters, airplanes, and other aircraft. Pilots enjoy several benefits like travel or flexible working hours. Aspiring pilots can also consider another career path; becoming helicopter pilots. These pilots can work for the government, or better yet, have commercial employers in executive transport, sight-seeing, offshore support, pipeline and utility support, crop dusting, test pilot flying, or emergency medical services. Thus, if you are bent to becoming a pilot but an airline pilot doesn’t seem appealing to you, a good career choice is a commercial helicopter pilot.
Flight instructors train aspiring pilots on how to fly using several mediums like simulators, classroom instruction, and live flight instruction. Aside from the fact that you are sharing your passion and knowledge for flying with aspiring pilots, being a flight instructor also has job security in this field.
This is also called aviation logistics, and this plays a critical role in the global economy. The World Bank asserted that air transport is a crucial enabler in the economic development and growth of a nation. Air transport expedites integration in the global economy and further provides connectivity not only on a national, regional, or international scale. This mode of transport helps generate trade, create employment opportunities, and promote tourism.
Over the years, employment opportunities and job growth in the aviation industry have multiplied. The BLS reports that the average salary of commercial and airline pilots is $105,720, with a projected 5% job growth by 2024. This is why more and more people are aspiring to be a part of the aviation profession. Depending on the field of study you wish to learn, there are several quality programs, both online and traditional, that provide the necessary foundational and technical skills, you must learn to become an aviation professional.
Aviation Job Growth, Prospects, and Outlook
According to BLS, air traffic will gradually increase through 2022. It means that job prospects and opportunities for commercial and private airline pilots, aircraft manufacturers, and airport workers are looking bright. Because newer aircraft are expected to require less maintenance than older models, job opportunities for certain aviation mechanics and avionics professionals may be limited.
As new technologies emerge in the aviation industry, there will be greater demand for aviation mechanics and technicians specializing in a specific type of aircraft, such as military aircraft, agricultural aircraft, or a particular aircraft brand. Recent technological advances, such as advanced GPS systems, aerial imaging devices, aerial applicators, and helicopter technology, necessitate the use of specialized maintenance services performed by a trained and skilled technician. Those who work for government agencies or private aerospace or aviation manufacturing plants may earn a higher salary over the course of their careers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for airline pilots is expected to remain stable through 2022, and those with more experience and flight hours can enjoy job advancement and better benefits throughout their careers. An improving economy in the country, the expansion of international carriers, and a pilot shortage all contribute to a higher demand for trained pilots.
Best Aviation Colleges
Here are ten of the flight training and aviation colleges in the US:
Purdue’s School of Aviation and Transportation Technology provides an intensive teaching model with comprehensive hands-on training education techniques. Since Purdue University focuses on teaching and the sciences, the university’s aviation school is surely able to match up with its ranking.
Purdue’s aviation college has seven undergraduate aviation degrees, including but not limited to professional flight, aviation management, and aerospace financial analysis. They also offer graduate school programs such as a doctorate in aviation technology, aerospace management (on-campus and online), or MS in aviation.
University of North Dakota’s John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences is proud of its high standards of professional flying school, sans the astronomical tuition fees that students worry about. They offer five program objectives:
- To produce graduates with remarkable aviation skills
- To strive for utmost excellence; both on a national and international scale
- To inspire students to learn more about aviation throughout their lives
- To create a strong foundation in technology
- To provide the needed culture and skills to promote safety in the aerospace industry
This aviation school has undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degree programs. With each program, you can add a specialty certification or a minor if you wish to. All the programs also include mandatory flight course requirements. While the cost of aviation classes is relatively pricey, there are financial aids and scholarships for students who can meet with eligibility requirements.
The College of Engineering’s Center for Aviation Studies of the Ohio State University is deemed as one of the world’s best aviation colleges. With partnerships between the university and prominent agencies in the aviation industry, this guarantees students with better employment opportunities like research and internship, along with post-graduation employment. Graduate and undergraduate programs are offered in this school.
Their undergraduate programs include BS in Business Administration in Aviation Management (thru the Fischer College of Business), BS in Aviation (via the College of Engineering), and BA in Social Sciences in Air Transportation. Students taking up any major degree program can also add a professional pilot specialization that will pave his way towards earning a Commercial Pilot’s Certificate.
The College of Engineering of the San Jose State University offers a Department of Aviation and Technology. They offer two bachelor’s programs; a BS in Industrial Technology and BS in Aviation Degree. Within these degrees, you can specialize in maintenance management, operations, professional flight, or aviation management. The school also offers a master’s program, perfect for full-time working professionals as these classes are offered during the evening or online.
Founded in the early 70s, the Embry Riddle Aeronautical University has more than 170 locations worldwide and is currently the leading provider of degree programs for aviation education. This school offers a variety of non-degree and degree programs in aerospace and aviation. According to the US News and World Report, the school’s aerospace engineering program has consistently topped the nation for nine straight years. They also have online degree program offerings like a bachelor or associate degree in aviation business administration, professional aeronautics, or aviation maintenance. Their master’s degree programs include space education, technical management, and supply and logistics chain management.
Each curriculum program provides an extensive study in the field of aeronautical science. It also includes navigational courses, training in their top of the line aircraft simulator, and communications. Students also get to explore core areas like ethics, philosophy, geography, humanities, and psychology.
This school has several degree options in the field of aviation: a certificate program in professional pilot, an Associate of Applied Science in Aviation Business, professional pilot specialization, or a resident/correspondence program in aircraft dispatch. Flight training for their pilot programs commence during the first quarter of study and utilize both ground school and actual flight training. To have the most intensive educational experience, students get to learn either on a single or a multi-engine aircraft.
The school has a structured and result-oriented curriculum to ensure that all their students are geared with the proper training and knowledge, crucial to become a successful pilot. All the courses they offer are FAA approved and are secured under FAR Part 141.
Established in 1969, Hallmark University is a private school aimed at providing industry-relevant programs. The School of Aeronautics at this university has both associate and diploma programs: applied science degree programs in aviation, or airframe technology/power plant technology. These programs span 15 months and are designed to prepare graduate students with the necessary knowledge and skills required to become professionals in the aviation field. Students can learn how to correctly diagnose an aircraft issue as well as maintain and repair this aircraft. All program curricula adhere to the regulations and requirements set by the Federal Aviation Administration to ensure that students are qualified to take FAA administered certification exams.
The school also provides a test incentive program. Here, students can earn vouchers that can assist them in paying for the cost of every test. Furthermore, Hallmark University also has diploma programs such as air frame technicians, aviation technicians, or power plant technician. These programs need between 54 and 90 credits and intensive hours of practice (1174-1926 hours) to hone their learned skills.
This school was established in 1928, and to this day, it has produced numerous graduates who have excelled and made impressive contributions in the aviation industry. Spartan College’s suite of programs tackles the many facets of the industry, including the areas of technology, manufacturing, aerospace, and aviation. The aviation program is either a diploma program or offered at the associate’s and bachelor’s levels. Students can pursue diploma programs in nondestructive testing, avionics maintenance technology, or aviation management.
Spartan College’s Associate of Applied Science in Aviation Maintenance, along with other majors in avionics, gears the students for an entry-level position. The Bachelor of Science in Aviation Technology Management combines education, training, and experience to guarantee that graduates are properly equipped with the needed skills to become successful in their chosen field. It can be completed in 16 months.
This public institution has a successful thirty-year history and has served more than 20,000 people. They offer flexible and customized degree programs that are specifically tailored to meet the needs of each individual. As a student, you can choose to have a certificate program, an associate program, or a bachelor’s degree program.
The school’s associate degree in Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Airline Operations is designed to prepare each student with the basic skills required to handle the many facets of airline operations, while being fully compliant with the FAA regulations.
Besides gaining the fundamental airline operation acumen, graduates also emerge with interpersonal strong skills in customer service, time management, professional ethics.
Created by Comair Airlines, this flight academy is now owned by Delta Connections. It was established in 1989 as a flight school and has since then been considered one of the leading institutions for pilot training. They have produced top first officer candidates for several regional airlines. This academy has 73 aircraft in its fleet, and the majority of their graduates are now employed in more than 30 airlines.
Originally, LFA is a flight school that offered pilot training. Over time, they began to offer bachelor’s and associate degree programs via joint partnerships with Broward College, Jacksonville University, and San Jacinto College.
The fast-paced Professional Pilot program can be completed in two years, with courses such as High Altitude Weather Training, Coursework in Advanced Systems, High-speed Aerodynamics, Part 121 Operations, Automation, and Advanced Aircraft System. It has two phases: the flight instructor phase and the training phase—each of which has a duration of 12 months.
Why a Career in Aviation is a Good Move
Deciding to enter into the world of aviation is a huge decision. However, there are several reasons why fulfilling this dream is something you should push to take your career to new heights.
- Fulfill your passion. Flying is addicting, and wouldn’t it be reason enough to fuel your dreams and making it a reality? If you believe that you are born to fly, then your sky is the limit for a soaring and promising career.
- You become a member of an exclusive group. Did you know that only 0.2% of the whole US population has a license to fly? This makes this a chosen group composed of only an exceptional few.
- Job flexibility. Once you become an experienced pilot, you get to have the luxury of ‘working’ from one city to the next, wherever your job will take you.
- More travels. Pilots have this unique chance to travel all across the globe, learn different cultures, and experience exotic destinations.
- Financially rewarding. As their careers advance, pilots can also earn excellent salaries. While airline and commercial pilots both navigate and fly planes, helicopters, and other aircraft, airline pilots accordingly earn better salaries than those commercial pilots; this according to the US Department Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Better flight skills. Since pilots have to undergo constant training to better their skills, this is one career that will keep you in-demand and very sharp.
- Sense of accomplishment. Flying your very first solo flight may prove to be one of the most confidence-building and satisfying experiences of your life. Pilots will learn and discover more about themselves while undergoing training. The fact that they are trained to make intelligent on-the-spot decisions, or when they are made to judge challenging situations without warning, will surely give that inner feeling of accomplishment.
Like many aspiring people who wish to become a part of the aviation industry, several institutions can make it all happen for you. Aviation schools offer certificates, associate programs, bachelor or master’s degree programs.