20 Aviation Careers (With Primary Duties and Salaries)
If you're interested in travel, airplanes, or aerospace in general, pursuing a career in aviation may be the best option for you. There are plenty of aviation careers available that allow you to work in different settings, such as an airport, an airplane, an office, or a hangar. Learning more about these roles can help you determine which one may be a good choice for you. In this article, we discuss 20 aviation careers, their primary duties, and average salaries for you to consider.
20 aviation careers to consider
There are plenty of aviation careers to consider if you're interested in travelling and providing excellent customer service to keep passengers safe and happy. Here are 20 aviation careers, their main responsibilities, and average salaries:
National average salary: $48,176 per year
Primary duties: Air traffic controllers work in a control tower at an airport. They assess air traffic patterns to give pilots the clearance to take off and land safely. They also keep aircrafts safe while they're in the air by providing weather updates or other relevant information.
National average salary: $100,938 per year
Primary duties: Aviation lawyers specialize in legal cases related to aviation. They are experts in airport security, aviation regulations, and aircraft operation. Aiviation lawyers can represent passengers or any aviation employee in court to deal with any relevant claims or issues.
National average salary: $40,472 per year
Primary duties: Aircraft cleaners clean the inside of a plane once passengers leave. They remove waste, spot clean areas, sanitize bathrooms, and vacuum the carpet. They also restock supplies, such as toilet paper and soap, and prepare cleaning products for flight attendants to use during the flight.
National average salary: $50,517 per year
Primary duties: Line service technicians provide basic services to aircrafts, such as replenishing ice or water or changing lavatory fluids. They may also help other aviation employees, such as baggage handlers or aircraft refuelers, with their duties. They operate ground equipment and ensure aircrafts are checked and secure.
National average salary: $39,155 per year
Primary duties: Booking agents, or ticket agents, work at airport counters or call centres to help airline customers. They typically help customers book plane tickets by offering information regarding prices and schedules. They may also offer assistance for other requests, such as cancellations, flight changes, or upgrades.
National average salary: $35,190 per year
Primary duties: Baggage handlers safely and efficiently load and unload cargo and airline passengers' luggage from an airplane. They collect and sort luggage to ensure it goes to the right location and remove it from the plane as quickly as possible. They also have to look for suspicious-looking items and report anything unusual to security to keep everyone safe.
National average salary: $45,707 per year
Primary duties: Aircraft refuelers put fuel into aircrafts. They have to work in all weather conditions, such as rain or snow, which can be difficult. They typically drive a fuel truck and drive to multiple aircrafts a day to refuel them.
National average salary: $44,021 per year
Primary duties: Avionics technicians install and troubleshoot avionics equipment, such as flight recorders or lighting systems. They ensure that all equipment is working properly and if it's not, they repair it. Some avionics technicians typically work on the aircraft while others work in a shop to complete repairs.
National average salary: $75,488 per year
Primary duties: Pilots fly and navigate aircrafts, such as airplanes and helicopters. They may transport people or cargo, typically on a fixed schedule and route. They steer the aircraft, monitor their instruments, and communicate with air traffic controllers to take off, keep the aircraft in the air, and land safely.
10. Flight attendant
National average salary: $34,944 per year
Primary duties: Flight attendants ensure airplane passengers are safe and content throughout their flights. They perform a safety demonstration to ensure passengers know about the airline's regulations and what to do during an emergency. On long flights, they may serve food and drinks to passengers, then clean up when they're finished.
Related: How to Become a Flight Attendant
11. Flight paramedic
National average salary: $85,492 per year
Primary duties: Flight paramedics provide emergency care to patients in an aeromedical environment, such as a helicopter. They have advanced medical knowledge and work well under pressure to give their patients the best care possible. They typically work with registered nurses, physicians, and other paramedics, depending on the type of care the patient needs.
National average salary: $67,673 per year
Primary duties: Aviation inspectors have a number of duties that centre around ensuring airline passengers are safe. They examine aircrafts, review maintenance procedures, investigate accidents, and suggest repairs when necessary. Their main responsibility is ensuring airpots and aircrafts comply with safety regulations.
13. Cargo agent
National average salary: $48,794 per year
Primary duties: Cargo agents work for airlines to pick up and deliver shipments. They may determine the best shipping method and route for their cargo and coordinate the logistics of the delivery. Cargo agents have excellent customer service and communication skills to update their clients on the status of their shipments and ensure they arrive at their destination safely.
National average salary: $58,086 per year
Primary duties: Aircraft maintenance technicians work on different aircrafts, such as airplanes, helicopters, or jets. They use diagnostic equipment to assess how well specific aircraft parts are working. They also assess the machinery as a whole to ensure it's functioning correctly. Some aircraft maintenance technicians specialize in a certain area of an aircraft, such as hydraulics or engines, as they work as a team.
15. Aviation manager
National average salary: $60,883 per year
Primary duties: Aviation managers lead an aviation department, typically for an airline. They ensure the department follows all relevant regulations so they are operating safely and efficiently. Aviation managers typically act as a liaison between their team and upper management, relaying messages and instructions. They may offer input for important decisions, such as hiring or budget development.
National average salary: $69,390 per year
Primary duties: Aircraft mechanics repair and maintain aircrafts for airlines, the government, private companies, or the military. They typically inspect aircrafts before any scheduled flight to ensure they meet safety standards, keeping passengers safe. If they notice any faults, they repair them and keep detailed records of their work.
National average salary: $68,749 per year
Primary duties: Flight test engineers work with aircraft prototypes to ensure they're safe. They design and oversee the tests manufacturers and engineers use to assess every aircraft. Flight test engineers don't fly any aircraft themselves. Instead, they work closely with test pilots that complete a test flight to assess the aircraft's safety. Flight test engineers typically work with a team on each aircraft led by a senior flight test engineer.
National average salary: $104,058 per year
Primary duties: Flight instructors are licensed pilots that teach students how to fly an aircraft. They typically offer detailed in-class instruction before students can get in any aircraft. Flight instructors may also pair in-class instruction with flight simulators to ensure students understand how to operate the aircraft safely in different scenarios. Then, to complete the training, they fly with the students in the cockpit and provide guidance, ensuring the students are flying safely.
National average salary: $69,378 per year
Primary duties: Aeronautical engineers design aircrafts and missiles. They create detailed blueprints that manufacturers can easily follow to create their designs. Their designs may be used for commercial, government, or military purposes. People tend to confuse aeronautical engineers and aerospace engineers, but aerospace engineers design spacecrafts, while aeronautical engineers work on aircrafts that stay within the Earth's atmosphere.
National average salary: $61,727 per year
Primary duties: Aircraft assemblers follow a blueprint to assemble aircrafts. To do this, they are typically experts in mathematics, engineering, and welding technology. This knowledge helps them ensure they accurately follow every blueprint, ensuring each aircraft they assemble is safe. As Aircraft assembly is a hands-on job, employers typically require candidates have in-person, technical training before applying.
Salary figures reflect data listed on the quoted websites at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organization and a candidate's experience, academic background, and location.