Flight Attendant: Career Summary, Job Outlook, and Training Requirements

Research what it takes to become a flight attendant. Learn about job outlook, salary and training requirements to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering CCAF degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Flight Attendant?

Flight attendants meet the needs of passengers and ensure all safety procedures are properly executed during flights. As a flight attendant, you will instruct passengers on safety measures, distribute comfort items and make sure emergency equipment is in working order. You will also be responsible for administering first aid, directing passengers and answering questions.

Continue reading for more information about the skills, training and the employment outlook for these professionals.

Training Required Flight training program; postsecondary education is optional
Key Skills Physical stamina, customer service, interpersonal, problem-solving
Certification FAA certification is required for all flight attendants
Job Growth (2014-2024) 2%*
Median Salary (2015) $44,860*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is the Career Summary of a Flight Attendant?

Flight attendants oversee all safety procedures and make passengers as comfortable as possible during flights. Some of your responsibilities include instructing passengers on the proper use of safety equipment, such as seat belts and oxygen masks, and answering flight-related inquiries. You can also expect to interact with passengers by distributing reading materials, blankets and related comfort items. In addition to passing out snacks and beverages, you clean the aircraft's cabin, greet boarding passengers, and provide special assistance to the disabled, elderly and very young.

What Is the Projected Job Outlook?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of flight attendants was expected to increase by two percent between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported that the overall economy would stifle job growth for this field during that decade. It was believed that competition in the flight attendant industry would remain strong as the number of applicants exceeded that of available positions. Opportunities would be best for those seeking employment with expanding charter and commuter airlines.

What Training Requirements Should I Satisfy?

While education beyond high school is generally not a requirement for aspiring flight attendants, many airlines favor candidates who have earned college degrees. If taking college courses is the right choice for you, make certain that your curriculum includes classes such as psychology, travel, communications and foreign language. You may find that flight attendant certificate programs are offered in a number of community colleges. Courses in these programs may cover airline reservation systems, first aid techniques, crew rescue and survival techniques, and airline operations.

After you have been hired by an airline, you receive formal training at an official, approved flight training academy. You learn procedures such as airline operations, emergency equipment use, airplane evacuation and water survival, as well as how to deal with terrorist threats and unruly passengers. According to the BLS, when you have completed training, you must acquire mandatory certification through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This involves demonstrating your knowledge of areas such as security measures, fire fighting techniques and medical emergency procedures.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Careers with similar education requirements include those of transportation attendants and bartenders. Transportation attendants perform similar duties to flight attendants on ships, trains, or buses, or within the station. Bartenders are responsible for mixing and serving drinks and managing bar operations.

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