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Airline Stewardess Job Requirements & Career Facts

Explore the career requirements for airline stewardesses. Get the facts about education, training and certification requirements to determine if this is the right career for you.

What Is an Airline Stewardess?

Airline stewardesses, or flight attendants, ensure the safety and comfort of passengers during commercial airline flights. Airlines are required by law to have flight attendants on all commercial flights. Their duties include but are not limited to preparing safety checklists and presentations, serving food and drinks to passengers, and providing guidance in emergency situations. The following chart provides an overview about becoming an airline stewardess.

Degree Required High school diploma; some airlines prefer candidates with some college
Training Required Flight training sponsored by airline
Key Responsibilities Prepare cabin before flight; demonstrate safety procedures; assist passengers with seating and other needs; dispense beverages and food; handle any situation that arises during flight; direct emergency operations in the cabin; provide first aid if needed
Certification Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification is required
Job Growth (2018-2028) 10%*
Median Salary (2018) $56,000*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

What Are the Job Duties of an Airline Stewardess?

As an airline stewardess, you'd be responsible for assisting passengers on flights and ensuring that they adhere to safety regulations and procedures. You typically find a position working for a single airline as opposed to an airport. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), you'll typically spend 65-90 hours per month in the air and another 50 hours per month on the ground preparing for flights.

When you work as an airline stewardess, you'll instruct passengers on emergency evacuation procedures, ensure that passengers follow safety rules, secure carry-on luggage in overhead bins and serve drinks and food to passengers. You also work coordinate with pilots and crew members to determine the length and weather conditions associated with each flight. Once a plane has landed, you'll be responsible for making sure all passengers exit, helping handicapped passengers de-board, and making sure the plane is cleared of debris.

What Educational Programs Are Available?

It's possible to find a position as an airline stewardess with simply a high school diploma as an educational background. However, many airlines do look for incoming flight attendants who have some type of postsecondary education or training. Degree programs in hospitality or communications are applicable to the field. Some schools also offer vocational certificate programs specifically designed for aspiring flight attendants. Such programs cover the basics of aviation regulations, communications and customer service.

What Certification Do I Need?

You must gain certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) before you can legally work as an airline stewardess. In order to earn certification, you must first complete between 3-6 weeks of training with an airline. Each airline has its own specific training programs. If you leave one airline to work for another, you must typically complete at least one day of training with the new airline.

During training, you'll learn about safety regulations, operating procedures and basic First Aid. You'll also learn how to perform the basic job duties of an airline stewardess or flight attendant. Some specific courses or topics that might be covered include crew resource management, customer service, emergency procedures and airplane-specific training.

What Salary Could I Expect to Earn?

About 119,300 individuals worked as flight attendants in 2018, according to the BLS (www.bls.gov). The median annual salary in the profession in 2018 was about $56,000. Some of the top-paying states included Oregon, Washington, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Florida.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

There are many skills required to be a flight attendant that can transfer to other careers. Companies always need talented customer service representatives to deal with problems that arise. Food service workers and bartenders continually make sure their customers are satisfied. EMTs and paramedics also have to think quickly in emergency situations. Most of these alternative occupations require a high school diploma or no formal education credential; however, EMTs and paramedics must complete postsecondary training programs.