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When it comes to glamorous jobs, working in the aviation industry might be in the top ten. Aviation has a long history of prestige, from its heyday in the 1950s and 1960s as one of the most exclusive jobs around, to its status today as one of the highest-paying careers available. Despite the changes over the years, its popularity hasn’t faded, with The Balance Careers listing working as a pilot as one of the top fifteen dream jobs for children today.
While working in aviation may seem like a far-off dream for many, it’s certainly possible to make that fantasy a reality. 2020 is ushering in a new decade of growth and opportunities, and there’s no better way to take advantage of that than to plan out a brand new career. Aviation has a diverse range of jobs available to all backgrounds, from engineers who require training and skills in the STEM field to flight attendants who may need to prioritize interpersonal skills and problem solving. Looking to get hired in aviation? Here are just a few of the skills that you might need.
Much of the work in aviation involves interaction with machines and requires specific technical skills. Whether you’re an engineer designing aircraft or a pilot learning to fly one, it’s imperative that you get the proper training and education to ensure that you’re able to complete your work competently. One of the oft-cited hurdles to working as a pilot is the amount of flight time and training needed to get certified. And with changing demographics leading up to a shortage of pilots all over the world, organizations like the Federal Aviation Administration are changing their technical requirements. According to Aviation JobNet’s feature on ‘Why Pilot Training Needs to Change’, the FAA has loosened regulations on spot pilot training and flight simulators in order to encourage more students to apply. Prospective students should be sure to research on the technical background for aviation jobs and prepare accordingly.
One of the terms that has grown in popularity in aviation over the years is soft skills. Soft skills are skills that are more interpersonal in nature, making them harder to define when compared with hard skills, which in contrast are easily quantifiable. Soft skills can include interpersonal communication, critical thinking, and problem solving skills. While technical skills may be the backbone of a resume in the aviation industry, they’re not the only thing employers will look out for. Trends in the industry have led to a highlighting of soft skills, which are especially important due to the nature of aviation. Sarina Houston has listed the most important skills pilots acquire from training, including confidence, time management, and adaptability— all of which are essential for handling crises on the job.
Aviation, more than other industries, is a field that requires intense collaboration among different levels and job titles. It’s impossible for one person to get a plane off the ground on their own— all stages of a flight require teamwork, from the design of the plane, to its construction, to manning it with crew, to landing it back safely on the ground. Researcher Candace K. Kolander writes that crew resource management (CRM) has led to improvements in aviation safety. Airlines prioritize CRM among pilots, cabin crew, ground staff, air traffic controllers, and the like in order to increase efficiency and safety in every flight.