Airport Ramp Agent: Salary and Career Facts

Explore the career requirements for airport ramp agents. Get the facts about education requirements, job outlook and salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Driver Training degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is an Airport Ramp Agent?

Airport ramp agents transport and load baggage on and off of airplanes and may be responsible for other customer service or airport-related tasks. They may be expected to keep records of when the baggage was loaded and when it was returned to the customer. If a customer's belongings are lost in the transfer process, then that needs to be recorded as well. They may also be in charge of conducting inspections on equipment to find malfunctions that may cause damage to items or injuries. The following chart gives you an overview about what you need to know about entering this field.

Education Required High school diploma
Training On-the-job training
Key Responsibilities Greet customers, route luggage in correct terminal, accept delivery of baggage
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 7% (for all cargo & freight agents)
Median Salary (2015)* $41,870 (for all cargo & freight agents)

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Are the Job Duties of an Airport Ramp Agent?

Your duties as an airport ramp agent vary by employer, according to May 2011 job postings found on Monster.com. You could greet customers coming into the airport, offer assistance with luggage and help to direct aircraft within the ramp area. Other duties include loading cargo onto planes and keeping gates, ramps and equipment clean. You could be required to stand for long periods, lift heavy items repeatedly and perform tasks that require physical strength.

The position of an airport ramp agent is a mixture of physical work, customer service and maintenance duties. In a typical day, you might complete a number of jobs inside and outside of the airport. You could work at the ticket desk helping to get passengers' baggage organized or in the ramp area directing planes and transporting cargo to be loaded onto the plane. You might also be responsible for cleaning the interior of a plane and preparing serving carts for its next flight.

What Training Will I Need?

There is no formal training required for a job as an airport ramp agent. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employers usually require you to earn a high school diploma or equivalent for the entry-level job (www.bls.gov). You might need to be over 18 years old, possess a valid driver's license and be physically capable of lifting 50-70 pounds repetitively. Many employers require you to pass a criminal background check. Qualities that employers look for in job candidates generally include proven customer service skills, good physical condition and fluency in English.

In this career, you'll usually learn as you work. You could shadow another ramp agent to learn about the job duties and specific company procedures. Some employers offer a brief training program that introduces you to company policies, work schedules and technical requirements. If you do participate in a postsecondary certificate or degree program in aviation management or tourism, you could work as a ramp agent intern at a local airport through the program.

How Much Can I Earn?

According to the BLS, cargo and freight agents held 81,120 jobs in 2015. Of these, air transportation positions made up 2.6%, with the remainder working in trucking, courier and transportation support. The BLS further reported a 7% increase in jobs for the field due to economic growth and demand for expedited shipping services. Cargo and freight agents earned a median wage of $41,870 per BLS data in May 2015 and $36,826 per PayScale.com data in January 2017.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Customer service representatives are employees who work with customers in person or over the phone. They answer questions, take complaints, resolve billing problems, keep customer records and handle other customer interactions. Bill and account collectors set up repayment schedules, notify customers of missed payments and converse with customers regarding reasons behind overdue payments and contractual terms of payments. Both of these careers require professionals to have a high school diploma.

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