November 24, 2008

Up, Up and Away: How to Study Your Way Into a Career in Aviation

The economy is in the tank and gas prices are unstable at best. People everywhere are cutting back on a travel, especially vacation trips.

Frequent business flyers report flying less than ever, as companies cut all but the most urgent of business trips to save money.  Given all that, you might think pursuing in a career in the aviation industry is not exactly the most prudent choice.

Well, according to, you would be wrong.  The perception that airline jobs are less than plentiful could not be further from the truth:

Despite an inexorable rise in fuel prices, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects airline passenger traffic to grow by 5.1 percent between now and 2011. According to Airbus, dealing with this growth will require more than 24,000 new planes over the next 25 years, and those new planes won’t fly themselves — they need pilots. How many? The IATA says that in order to meet demand, 19,000 pilots will need to be trained each year until 2026. Flight schools currently crank out around 16,000 annually.

And it is not just pilot jobs that are in high demand.  There is also a huge shortage of qualified aircraft mechanics and air traffic controllers.

While these jobs tend to be subject to the ups and downs of the economy (i.e. they are not necessarily recession-proof), pay is typically high and benefits are usually good. Which means, if you are willing to take a certain level of risk in terms of your job stability, the rewards can pay off quite well.

Plus, according to October 2008 edition of Plane & Pilot Magazine, the best time to train to become a pilot (or for another job in the airline industry) is right now:

…it’s far better to train during the economic downturn (and be prepared when the inevitable hiring boom returns) than to scramble for training during the hiring boom.

So, what does all of this mean for you? Education time!

If you want a career in the aviation industry, you need the proper education and training. For a complete list of aviation schools, including training programs for pilot jobs, airline support jobs,  and FAA jobs, see JobMonkey’s exhaustive list of aviation schools.  The list is divided into five sections by regions of the U.S. plus one list for Canada schools.  Each list includes names, contact information and a brief description of the school.

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