Airline pilot is ranked 5th on the list of "Best Jobs if You Are Leaving the Military" in 2012, according to CNN Money, making this an exciting career for those who have served their country and are transitioning to civilian life. You can also apply as a flight attendant, traveling to exotic locations for free, or work as ticket agent or baggage handler -- both of which pay fairly well and require only a high school education.
Airline pilots perform checklists with copilots before their flights depart, which include monitoring engines, hydraulic and electrical systems. They also check fuel levels and weather conditions prior to departures. As a pilot, you ensure the safe takeoff and landing on each flight. You also maintain constant communication with air traffic control towers to avoid crossing paths with other planes or jets.
Most airline pilots have bachelor's degrees, and they must log 250 hours of flight time before obtaining their commercial pilot licenses. As a pilot, you would earn an average mean salary of $118,070 as of May 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The BLS also projects that jobs for these professionals will increase 11 percent between 2010 and 2020, which is slightly lower than the 14 percent national average for all occupations.
Flight attendants do briefings with pilots before flight departure. They also ensure that the plane is fully stocked with drinks and snacks. As a flight attendant, you demonstrate various safety features to passengers, including instructions on seat belts, oxygen masks, flotation devices and emergency exits. It is also your responsibility to ensure that all passengers have fastened their seat belts before takeoff and that overhead bin latches are secured. These professionals also serve beverages to passengers, provide pillows and reading materials and administer first aid when necessary.
Flight attendants earned average annual salaries of $41,720 as of May 2011, according to the BLS. Little to no job growth is expected for these professionals.
Airline cargo agents, who are also called baggage handlers, expedite the movement of luggage to and from various destinations. They sort and stack luggage on carts and conveyor belts and load them into the storage compartment of planes. Your main responsibility in this position is ensuring that passengers get their luggage in a timely manner for connecting flights, or when disembarking from planes.
Cargo agents earned average annual salaries of $40,680 as of May 2011, according to the BLS. Jobs for these workers are expected to increase 29 percent between 2010 and 2020.
Ticket agents take reservations from vacationers and business travelers. They answer questions about rates and carry-on fees, book flights and collect payments. As a ticket agent, you are responsible for greeting customers and assisting them as they check luggage at the airline counter. You may also assist customers who are checking in electronically. These professionals also take passengers ticket stubs as they board planes.
Reservation and transportation ticket agents, as they are called, earned average salaries of $33,670 per year as of May 2011, according to the BLS. The number of jobs for these workers is only expected to increase 6 percent between 2010 and 2020.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Airline and Commercial Pilots
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Airline Pilots, Copilots, and Flight Engineers
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Flight Attendants
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Flight Attendants
- AvJobs.com: Baggage Handler, Ground or Station Attendant Jobs
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Cargo and Freight Agents
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Cargo and Freight Agents
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Reservation and Transportation Ticket Agents and Travel Clerks
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Reservation and Transportation Ticket Agents and Travel Clerks
- CNNMoney: Best Jobs if You're Leaving the Military
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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