Air Travel Occupations: Growth Projections Gain Elevation

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Pilots and related jobs are among those with excellent prospects for the future - photo: copyright Brandon Farris

During hard economic times, two factors often impact the workforce with a one-two punch: Inflation and employment status. Higher prices paid with dwindling funds multiply stress exponentially. While downsizing can affect every job description, some career paths are more adaptable to adjusted environments or offer an additional layer of protection against unexpected unemployment. Air travel is one such industry that is often overlooked, and pilots and related jobs are among those with excellent prospects for the future.

Primary Air Travel Occupations

The complete list of air travel-related jobs is rather long, those directly involved with in-flight operations possess the best prospective outlook.


At its most basic description, a pilot is the person flying the aircraft, whether it’s a helicopter, private or commercial airplane. Qualifications for each level differ greatly and require tiered training and qualifications.

A basic pilot’s license enables the individual to fly either a fixed-wing or rotary-blade aircraft—an airplane or a helicopter; certification in one aircraft type is not included with the other. Within each type are airplane specifications qualifications. A Cessna-type license does not permit a pilot to fly a jumbo jet.

Commercial pilots and co-pilots enjoy expanding employment opportunities. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) projects the demand for qualified commercial pilots will grow from 12 to 19 percent through 2018.

Pay scales depend on experience and aircraft, but as of 2008, the average wages approximated just over $65,000 per year. The lowest 10 percent wage bracket noted salaries of $32,020, but the upper 10 percent wage range averaged $129,580 per year, according to the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey Program.

Flight Engineers

Flight engineers assist the pilot in navigation and other functions. Flight engineers also enjoy a favorable employment and salary projections.

The OES reports that flight engineer wages closely approximate those of pilots, and the BLS projections declare a demand growth projection that averages from 7 percent to 13 percent.

Related Occupations

Air travel occupations extend beyond the cockpit. Support roles are crucial to every airplane, flight, cargo or passenger. A few related job descriptions include:

Air Traffic Controllers

A highly stressful and exacting occupation, air traffic controllers direct air flight and travel.

Flight Attendants

Flight attendants are responsible for more than passing out drinks and snacks. They are the airline’s front-line safety representative and passenger education coordinator. They, above all, are the ‘people-persons’ of an airline.

Airfield Operations Specialists

These personnel coordinate communication and functions between maintenance, the flight control tower and the airplanes. They ensure proper and safe take-offs and landings and maintain flight records, among other duties. No airport could safely operate without them.


If flying isn’t for you but you are still highly interested air travel career, investigate qualifications for these critical support positions. If flying is in your blood and the idea of staying on the ground is distasteful, then enroll in a reputable, certified flight school today and earn your pilot’s wings today!

About the Author

JC Ryan is a freelance writer for My Colleges and Careers helps people determine if an online education is right for them and helps them understand which online courses and online schools they can choose from to reach their goals.

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One Response to “Air Travel Occupations: Growth Projections Gain Elevation”

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    Air Travel Occupations: Growth Projections Gain Elevation « Flight Training Blog…

    Air Travel Occupations: Growth Projections Gain Elevation « Flight Training Blog…