According to the Federal Aviation Administration, air travel is expected to grow steadily over the next two decades, reaching as high as 1.2 billion people flying commercial airlines per year by 2032. This means that the number of positions in the field of aviation are sure to increase accordingly. This is an exciting field of work to be sure, and tempting to those who are looking to change careers. While it’s never easy to transition between career fields, there are enough commonalities between this field and others that certain careers lend themselves to transitioning to aviation.
Large companies such as Lockheed Martin offer programs for those transitioning out of their military careers and into careers which make the most of the skilled training and experience they’ve received. It seems natural, for instance, for an Air Force pilot to transition into a job flying commercial aircraft, and if a pilot meets certain age and experience (flight hours) requirements as determined by the FAA, they are eligible to receive an airline transport pilot certificate.
Other military specializations lend themselves toward civilian careers in aviation. Aircraft maintenance technicians and air traffic controllers are also regularly employed by the FAA. The US Department of Transportation website features specifics on the levels of military experience required in order to be considered eligible for these positions.
Law Enforcement/Criminal Justice
A career in aviation isn’t all about piloting planes or working with the technical components of an aircraft. According to the Transportation Security Administration, there are a number of careers which would benefit from prior experience in other fields. Air Marshals, for instance, have become invaluable to airlines in the quest to keep planes and their cargo safe, and their quiet presence adds no little comfort to the minds of passengers. While there are a battery of tests and plenty of training to go through, individuals with prior experience in law enforcement, criminal justice and human psychology will have an edge.
If you have a degree and experience in business or public administration, a career in airport management may be a match for you. These positions involve overseeing the day-to-day operations of a busy airport, working with federal and state aviation committees that govern rules and regulations for airport business and security and ensuring that the airport in question is in compliance, working with airport staff and vendors who rent space within the airport, and working with airlines and shuttle services. These fast-paced careers are perfect for anyone with business experience and a fascination with the many goings-on involved in aviation.
If you enjoy travel and have experience in the customer service or hospitality fields, you may be interested in a career as a flight attendant. It’s important, though not strictly critical, that applicants for a position as a flight attendant be able to prove that they’re experienced in working with the public. What’s important is demonstrating that they’d be able to handle difficult situations and/or passengers with discretion and professionalism. Any career-specific training will be conducted by the airline in question upon hire.