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Careers in aviation have always been in high demand, thanks to crafty marketing that has positioned pilots and flight attendants as arguably the coolest jobs in the world, second only to astronauts. But for the people who don’t fancy traipsing around the world for free and lounging in hotels, there are other options to consider that are just as fulfilling.

If you, like most of the population, have a fear of flying, then there are other options on this list that would not require you to leave the ground, but still be vital to the aviation industry.

But here are the top five careers you might want to think about pursuing in Aviation:

1. Pilot/Co-pilot

The most highly coveted profession in the aviation industry is the pilot. Many children have fantasized about becoming pilots one day and for a good reason.

According to JobMonkey, the sexiest job for men is – you guessed it – a pilot.

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics, revealed that the median pay for airline pilots, co-pilots and flight engineers in 2017 was $137,330, which is the highest in the aviation industry and more than three times the average salary for all workers ($44,564). This is a fair reward, given how much it costs to become an airline pilot.

Over the next twenty years, Boeing predicts that the U.S. would require an additional 206,000 pilots. This will be second only to the Asia Pacific region, that would demand the services of 261,000 new pilots.

2. Air Traffic Controller

No aeroplane disaster/hijacking movie would be complete without scenes of air traffic controllers (ATC) frantically working to avert disasters. While their day job is not as dramatic as visualized by Hollywood, their occupation is as vital as depicted.

Without ATC, the aviation industry grinds to a halt. This explains why their median salary was a respectable $124,540 in May 2017. Despite being paid close to what most pilots earn, the requirements are not as stringent, and the college fees are not as expensive.

3. Air Marshals

If you have ever dreamt of a career in the skies, but you struggle with math-based courses, a Federal Air Marshal might be the winning ticket you were looking for. Charged with the safety of passengers on the plane, they serve as the first line of defence against terrorist or criminal activity in the air.

There isn’t a required degree course to follow, though anything related to criminal justice is expected. Starting pay ranges between $40,000 – $60,000 depending on experience, with steady growth that can get up to $155,000.

4. Aerospace Engineers

Aerospace Engineer

The first thing that comes to most people’s’ minds regarding aviation careers is pilots, even though they wouldn’t have a job if the planes weren’t built in the first place, but hey, such is life.

Despite not featuring high on the list of dream jobs, these highly skilled engineers are rewarded commensurately by their employers. The median pay in 2017 was $113,030. They are the backbone of the aviation industry, and they are worth every cent.

5. Airport Operations Manager

Finally, we have airport operations managers who as the name suggests, are responsible for the smooth-running of airports. This is a broad job covering airport protocols for pilots, technicians and ground staff, enforcing security measures, keeping apprised of everything that goes on in the air and on the ground, while also staying on top of communications and PR.

A Bachelor’s degree in Aviation Management would help you prepare for this all-important task. The median salary for airport operations managers on LinkedIn is $70,000. This, of course, depends on the airport in which you work.


The aviation careers listed above are varied, with each providing pros and cons. This list also did not include great aviation careers such as flight attendants, aeroplane technicians, and aeroplane inspectors, all jobs expected to see a respectable increase in demand as air travel continues to grow.

What you need to figure out is which career would be best for you and which course you need to take. The Comparative analysis of top U.S. aviation courses should help you narrow it down. The course fees are as diverse as our list, with advantages for residents of certain states.

Whatever you decide, you are guaranteed a driving, and challenging career in aviation.

Written By
Vigilance Chari is an experienced copywriter and international presenter who uses content marketing to build a strong online presence that generates leads for her clients. She offers a full range of content marketing services including blogging, ghostwriting, whitepapers, email marketing and more. When not writing, she spends her time as an enthusiastic professional party planner and part-time painter.

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