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Common Flight Attendant Job Requirements

Flying on an airline, enjoying traveling, and getting paid to do it is a job that many people would enjoy having. It certainly beats many other jobs and offers a lot of good benefits.

Flight attendants are able to help people with their needs, too, which will provide job satisfaction. Like any other job, there are some job requirements that you will need to meet before being hired into this competitive position.

With a better economy, the number of flight attendants needed in the upcoming years is expected to grow by several percentage points. Plus, as aircraft gets bigger and carry more passengers, this only means that more flight attendants are needed for each flight. A 747 has more than a dozen flight attendants on board. Search the airline job listings when you finish reading this material.

Typical Qualifications

The qualifications for flight attendants are rather basic and it is an entry-level job. However, because there are often more applicants than there are job openings, this means that the more abilities and experience you have behind you, the better are your chances of being hired. An example of this is the education and age requirements. Although technically you only need to be 18 and have either a H.S. Diploma or GED, those who are actually being hired usually have more than this minimum - usually 21 and a couple of years of college. There is not any maximum age limit. Today, almost 50 percent of all flight attendants are now college graduates, and 70 percent have some college education. Some applicants even have Master's and Doctorate Degrees - although that is certainly not necessary.

Another important background you may want to have is some kind of customer relations experience. Since flight attendants work mostly with people during the flight, airlines like to see that you can handle the pressure that is sure to be involved - at times. It is possible to have a background in customer relations but no education above a H.S. Diploma and still be hired because they prefer the experience. College courses in nursing, communications, psychology, travel and tourism are also desirable. If you can speak two foreign languages, you would be an ideal candidate for international flights. You must also be able to speak clear English.

Physical Requirements and Training

Most airlines require attendants to be height-weight proportionate, and they have certain maximum weight allowances depending on height. You must be tall enough to be able to reach the bins above the passengers, but not too tall to have to bend over all the time. Applicants should also be well groomed and wear only conservative jewelry. No visible tattoos. Men must have their hair cut above the collar and be clean-shaven, although a mustache usually is allowed. Corrected vision either with contact lenses or glasses is also now acceptable for flight attendants. You will need to be healthy.

After being hired, flight attendants are given training by the airline that hired them. The airline will pay for all of it, and it can be expected to last between four and eight weeks. This training is specific to the airline and cannot be duplicated elsewhere - which is why you want to avoid private schools for this purpose. Your training, which will have to be certified by the FAA, will also include courses in medical emergencies, evacuation, firefighting, water survival, security procedures, and more. Your training will be specific to the aircraft you will be flying on.

Other Requirements

Another very important requirement is that you must pass a background investigation. This covers basically everything about you, and it will go back at least ten years. Minor offenses are often overlooked on these background checks, but major problems will be found. You will also need to be a U.S. citizen, or have permission to work in the U.S.

Flight Attendant Pay

While there are a number of job requirements, the benefits are very good. They enjoy medical, dental, and vision insurance, vacation pay, a retirement plan, and more. Probably the best benefit, however, is greatly discounted travel. They also are paid for every hour they are away from home. Typical starting salary is about $33,000 to $65,000.

There is the possibility of advancement for a flight attendant. It may take, however, a little while to be regularly working in that position. To start out, a flight attendant will usually only work on a standby basis, and this could be for as long as a year. In large cities, though, this could be as long as five to ten years. More people are staying in this field longer.