Careers in Aviation

Some people mistakenly think that students majoring in aviation will definitely become pilots in the future. However, having obtained a degree in aviation, a student has a variety of career prospects to choose from. In the US, the educational establishments offer a wide range of degrees to help international students become aviation mechanics, flights attendants, air traffic controllers, etc. So, what do you have to know about these professions if you have decided to pursue a career in aviation?


Aviation is generally associated with pilots. They normally specialize in the certain kind of aircrafts they work with. Apart from airplanes and helicopters, you may want to specialize in gyroplanes, airships, gliders or even balloons. You will not be allowed to fly any of these aircrafts without a license and certificate, which you can receive after attending a flight school. Another option for international students is pursuing a degree in flight management or similar programs at a US college or university. Keep in mind that in order to become a pilot you must also pass a demanding medical test. A successful completion of all these steps enables you to do any sort of related work, starting from flying commercial airplanes or air taxis to aerial application and banners pulling.


One more choice you can make if you set your mind on pursuing a career in aviation is becoming a mechanic. The job responsibilities of a mechanic are outlined by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. They suggest that air vehicle mechanics and technicians are supposed to inspect the aircraft equipment, including engines, landing gear, and other accessories, such as brakes or air-conditioning systems, as well as take care and keep record of the parts that need to be repaired or replaced. An international student may choose from 170 existing Federal Aviation Administration certified schools to apply for a degree. A potential student should also keep in mind that this job requires you to work outside, thus being exposed to various weather conditions. Mechanics also have to tolerate loud noises and greasy conditions. Finally, mechanics must be able to lift up to 70 pounds – some aircraft parts you will have to repair are rather heavy.

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Air Traffic Controllers

This job is crucial for aviation since aircrafts would not fly safely if there were no air traffic controllers. The profession is rather demanding. You must be detail oriented, very careful while multitasking and stay alert all the time. In brief, the main task of an air traffic controller is to make sure a plane takes off, flies, and lands safely, so you will have to ensure the clarity of the airspace. Depending on their responsibilities, air traffic controllers can be divided into groups such as terminal radar controllers, tower flight data controller, tower local controllers, etc. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics informs that the majority of these aviation professionals are employed by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Flight Attendants

Just as pilots, flight attendants are regarded as the face of an airline. In fact, they are the most celebrated members of aviation. They cooperate with the passengers directly and are responsible for their safety. In case of an emergency, flight attendants are the first representatives of the airline to take care of the clients. They also inform passengers on the safety procedures before the plane takes off. In addition, flight attendants have a range of secondary responsibilities aimed at making the passengers feel comfortable. Therefore, it is their job to serve food and drinks, inform the clients on available entertainment, and assist them in other situations. Until recently, a high school diploma would suffice to become a flight attendant, but more and more airlines now require a completed college degree. This can be either a degree in aviation or hospitality.

These are the most popular degrees in aviation but the range of professions you can choose from is not limited to the four highlighted above. A student can also become a flight engineer, ticket agent, ramp worker and so on.


Becoming a Flight Instructor Study Aviation as an International Student in the US Why to Become a Flight Instructor Studying Aviation in the USA