Saturday, May 1, 2004

Aviation Careers Outside The Cockpit


Very few people realize that there’s a broad spectrum of job opportunities residing on the ground


Not everyone who loves airplanes wants to be a pilot. Obviously, there’s much more to aviation than flying. The spectrum of service to the aircraft industry is as wide as a rainbow that is arcing the sky—there’s something for everybody. And here’s just a small sampling." />

Aviation Maintenance
So many aircraft technicians find that their greatest moments of satisfaction come when watching an airplane that they’ve made airworthy roll out of the shop and climb into the sky. “The prestige attached with working on airplanes and high-tech systems draws many into aviation maintenance,” says instructor Alan Williams of Enterprise/Ozark Community College in Ozark, Ala. “Aircraft technicians also understand and appreciate the personal responsibility they hold for the safety and welfare of passengers on board.”

Many men and women who became dislocated in the work force discovered aviation maintenance and investigated the opportunities for a good livelihood. Those who are interested in this field of study can find the same enjoyment, as long as they get the training for the highly learnable skills and knowledge that are required for the field.

There are many FAA-certified aviation maintenance schools scattered across the nation. Some focus 100% on technical training, which will prepare students for the A&P certification in less than a year. Other schools are a division of a college granting a two-year associate of applied science degree, which may better prepare those who go this route for upward movement.

“Once you work in this field, many new doors of opportunity will open up for you—some totally unexpected,” adds Williams. “Competition is high for these better jobs, and a degree may often be the deciding factor that turns an opportunity your way.”

Aviation maintenance provides a comfortable income and career ladder. Entry pay for technicians averages about $30,000 with an expected $39,000 to $46,000 during three to five years of employment. Authorized inspectors make $41,000 to $51,000; service managers earn $44,000 to $58,000; and maintenance directors get paid a salary of $57,000 to $68,000.

The job market for aviation technicians should remain sound over the coming years. This market is being driven, in part, by an aging fleet that requires more maintenance and upgrading, and an aging workforce, many of whom are reaching retirement.

Aviation Dreams Galore
The aviation industry provides many niches for those whose personal dream of working with anything related to airplanes is a call they must answer. Within this broad spectrum, interested students and career-changers—both pilots and non-pilots alike—will find that there is an opportunity to make their aviation dreams come true. To discover the huge scope of aviation prospects on offer, go to the Schools Directory at www.planeandpilotmag.com and request information about the different kinds of aviation-career programs that are available to you.