For those just starting out, or for individuals considering switching careers, aviation can be a great option. Commercial pilots and air traffic control professionals enjoy important career responsibilities, good pay and opportunities for advancement throughout their working lives.
- Responsibilities – If you are looking for a career in which you can exercise your skills and critical thinking abilities, aviation fits the bill. Both pilots and air traffic controllers undergo rigorous training and are responsible for the lives of hundreds of people every day on the job. Pilots are in charge of checking the aircraft’s weight and balance, interfacing with tower controllers, monitoring the aircraft, and navigating the aircraft during flight. Air traffic controllers guide airplanes and converse with pilots. They monitor the airspace and routes to ensure that all aircrafts are safe in their trajectory. Anyone interested in the detailed training requirements of air traffic controllers can browse the resources at air traffic controller training.
- Job Outlook – According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, commercial airline pilots can expect an 11 percent increase in jobs in the coming years, which is on par with the national average rate of growth in the United States. Many pilots are predicted to retire in the next decade and new pilots will be hired to replace them. Air traffic controllers will face more difficult job prospects as a 3 percent decline in positions is predicted during the 2008-2018 period.
- Career Advancement – When researching a career, it’s also important to consider the advancement opportunities one can expect. Both commercial pilots and air traffic controllers have opportunities to grow in their profession as they gain experience. After 1-to-5 years of experience, flight engineers can advance to flight officer standing; 5-to-15 years is required to advance to the position of flight captain. Air traffic controllers have the opportunity to move into supervisory roles as they gain experience.
- Great Pay – Both air traffic controllers and commercial pilots have earnings that are well above the median U.S. income. The average wages for airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers is around $103,000 a year. Wages vary by the pilot’s experience and position. Most pilots begin their careers earning $20,000 a year and earn more as they advance. The average wages for air traffic controllers is $108,000 a year. Those just starting out earn around $37,000 a year; pay increases as the controller completes training phases.
- More Information – If you’re inspired to learn more about getting into an aviation career, check out online resources for information on available aviation degree programs.