Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Exploring Careers and Jobs in the Airline Industry

While becoming a flight attendant is one of the most acknowledged careers within the airline industry, there are plenty of other jobs to consider when exploring this particular field. With varying levels of customer care, education, as well as math and science requirements, there are many different opportunities to explore when considering a job with an airline or airport.

Different Career Fields in the Airline Industry

The airline industry provides jobs that place employees both in the air and on the ground. When it comes to being a part of the cabin crew, there are different levels of seniority and responsibility to take note of. For example, varying degrees of flight attendants include first-class, trainer, corporate or VIP services, as well as management. The flight crew includes employee positions, such as training captain, command, pilot, co-pilot, and flight engineer.

Engineering is a separate category as well, where licensed engineers are needed to attend to the airframe, engines, and avionics. On the ground, employees may handle traffic, operations, performance, crewing, route planning, passenger services, or management positions. Administrative responsibilities usually deal with a certain level of experience and education. Employees in this sector often control the following areas: finance, commercial sales, marketing, IT, personnel, senior management, as well as director positions.

Additional jobs associated with the airline industry include skycap services, air cargo handler, airline support, flight dispatcher, and ramp service personnel.

Airline Experience and Education

As you explore the many different positions that the airline industry furnishes, a certain level of experience and education might be required to qualify for a particular job. Usually customer contact roles demand the least amount of education, but thrive off of extensive experience with personal interaction, patience, and customer service.

Telephone sales agents are trained to sell tickets for flights, where a standard high school education and previous experience dealing with customers is needed. Customer service agents may excel in the fields of English, math, and geography, as they man the airline check-in stations, boarding pass outlets, answer questions about flights, and check bags.

The airline industry also provides an assortment of careers that do not directly deal with the consumer. Aircraft maintenance engineers (also referred to as ground engineers) are responsible for the service and repair of aircraft while on the ground. They are trained in mechanical or avionics engineering, which also entails working on electrical and electronic systems, radio, audio, hydraulics and pneumatics. Qualifications for this kind of work include 3 to 4 years of a craft apprenticeship; good grades in math, English, science, and physics, or full-time college courses in Aeronautical Engineering.

Airline pilots require a CPL (commercial pilot's license) and may also use any experience gained when flying aircraft in the military. Depending on the airline, a certain number of flying hours are needed to fill the position of a pilot.

Commercial aircrafts are packed with an array of items to accommodate their passengers. Anything from food, beverages, snacks, newspapers, movies, and extra pillows are available upon request. All of these items pass through the hands of employees who handle and prepare these products through a catering division associated with an airport. There are no specific education requirements attached to this line of work.

Airline Industry Salary and Benefits

Depending on the company you work for, an assortment of decent benefit and salary packages are offered for workers in the airline industry. For example, United is a popular airline that travels throughout the world. Employees receive competitive benefits that range from worldwide travel privileges for eligible family members, life insurance, health and dental packages, and 401(k). Paid holidays, stock options, and pension plans are also benefits that an airline may offer their employees.

When it comes to the salary of an airline employee, location and years of experience help determine wages. For example, flight attendants must possess a high school diploma or an equivalent, but today, a college degree is often preferred. For a management or supervisor position, advanced education helps. Some schools and college offer flight attendant training, which helps boost an application wading in the job pool. Most beginning flight attendants earn a low-range of under $20,000 per year, while the median salary is found around $28,000 to $56,000. Some senior level attendants may earn close to $80,000.

Additional average salaries for airline-related careers and jobs include: aircraft electrician ($35,777 - $44,847), chief flight inspector ($68,319 - $99,965), large jet pilot in command ($84,567 - $136,612), test pilot manager ($78,540 - $192,607), and flight scheduler ($34,050 - $73,762).

In the United States, there are numerous airlines providing local jobs, such as Delta, Northwest, Southwest, Jet Blue, Spirit, and American Airlines. Popular Canadian airlines to seek employment include Canadian Airlines International, Air Canada, and Air Canada Jazz.

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