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Aviation is still one of the most high-paying industries in the world. But what does it take in order to be qualified for a job in this industry?

Here are the aviation careers with the highest salary and some advice on how to get your foot in the door.  

1. Becoming a Pilot

Many people dream of becoming a commercial airline pilot – you get to feel the experience of flying and the median salary is $117,000.

However, getting into this field is no easy task. Budding pilots often have to achieve a bachelor’s degree in a subject related to aviation before taking up two months ground training followed by 1,500 hours of flight experience.

Many aspiring pilots are eager to get into the top aviation schools where the resources and training is some of the highest quality, although such schools can be expectedly more expensive.

The training process can cost anywhere from forty to one-hundred-and-twenty grand overall, so having funding is important. Pilots also need to have certain personal qualities – being a good team communicator and having a calm but decisive nature is important for staying in control in the sky.

You’ll have to become a co-pilot before you become a pilot. It’s worth noting that there are many roles beyond commercial airlines such as private-passenger airlines, cargo aircraft and military aircraft.

Such positions can be competitive, but once you’ve got your foot in the door you’re made for life and can expect generous work benefits and the option of early retirement.

2. Becoming an Air Traffic Controller

Air traffic controllers play a vital part in monitoring aircraft in the sky and directing takeoffs and landings. The median salary is $62,000 and you only need an associates degree to apply. That said, the job itself is often said to be the most stressful in the world due to the tremendous amount of focus needed.

Clear communication is also needed – the whole job revolves around communicating with pilots and ground control.

Air traffic controllers do get regular breaks and generous benefits that help to make the job easier. Many are able to retire early and live on a good pension – this means that there are often vacancies going and landing a job isn’t too challenging once you’re certified.

The training, in order to get certified, is rigorous – an exam must be passed to become an air traffic controller in which there is no room for error and as a result; the majority of people fail the first time. There are many air traffic control schools around the world where you can learn the ropes.

 3. Becoming an Aerospace Engineer

Aerospace engineers earn an average of $82,000 a year. They are responsible for the building of aircraft, whether it is the design stage, managing the costs, ordering materials or project managing the construction process.

Degrees in aerospace engineering will help to get into this field – there are plenty of universities across the world that offer these courses. From here, you can find an entry-level position at a company and possibly scale your way up the ladder to a management position.

Such a company could involve military aircraft, commercial aircraft, cargo aircraft or even spacecraft for those with sights set higher.

Personal qualities required to become an aerospace engineer include strong technical understanding, good problem-solving skills, attention to detail, good time management and strong communication skills for working within a team.

4. Becoming an Aircraft Mechanic

Aircraft maintenance is another important role within the industry, which can earn you around $50,000 per year.

Major airlines may pay even more than this, but jobs can be competitive. It’s possible to learn many of the skills required to be an aeroplane mechanic on the job, however, more employers are now looking for education, such as aerospace engineering or a qualification from an FAA-approved school.

Attention to detail is a must as any fault could have devastating effects – usually, there are inspectors hired to double-check everything. It’s possible to get a job as an inspector after working as a mechanic for several years – this could result in a ten grand pay rise.

Such a job requires a lot more responsibility as it is your job to do the final checks before an aeroplane deemed fit for service again.


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