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How Can I Find Aviation Teaching Jobs?

Research what it takes to become an aviation teacher. Learn about education requirements, job duties, salary and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you.

What Is an Aviation Teacher?

An aviation teacher is also known as a flight instructor. Aviation teachers are responsible for training individuals to become licensed pilots. They follow curriculum that's been approved by the FAA, and use it to ensure they cover all required information in their instruction. Some of the things they teach students include safety procedures and the functions of all the instruments and how to operate them. They also instruct students in how to file flight plans, how to perform maintenance checks on the aircraft, and all stages of flight including take off and landing. They evaluate their students and document their progress through all training levels until graduation.

Education Required Associate's degree minimum; bachelor's degree preferred; aviation instructor training
Education Field of Study Education or an aviation-related field
Certification Optional certification available
Key Responsibilities Lead and teach aviation students, develop curriculum, evaluate student performance, keep student records
Job Growth (2018-2028) 3% decline (for all vocational education teachers, postsecondary)*
Median Salary (2019) $62,914 (for all flight instructors)**

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; **Payscale.com

Types of Aviation Teaching Jobs

Aviation teaching jobs include international, college and maintenance technology program instructor positions. You may also find work as an on-the-job trainer or a flight instructor. Employment may be found with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), colleges, universities, flight schools or airlines.

If you teach an aviation program or course, you'll lead a classroom, develop curriculum, deliver lectures, create hands-on activities, evaluate student performance and keep student records.

Work as an on-the-job trainer or flight instructor is focused on perfecting a student's skills. You may show students how to do a specific job duty and then have them do it while you watch, correcting any errors and offering constructive criticism. You may explain certain procedures, policies or techniques to students.

What Training Options Are Available?

Employers typically require a minimum of an associate degree, but most prefer a bachelor's degree in education or an aviation-related field. Employers often require knowledge and experience with aircraft or flying. Ways to gain experience may include working as a mechanic or in the military.

The FAA Academy offers options in aviation instructor training. Courses offered through the academy include training for instructors who will work at FAA facilities, those who will teach international students and those who will offer on-the-job training. Courses include classroom and hands-on training. Topics covered may include computer applications, curriculum development, training methods and student evaluation.

Colleges, universities, technical colleges or community colleges may offer training courses similar to those offered through the FAA Academy. These programs typically award a certificate upon completion and may be used to complement your associate or bachelor's degree when applying for a teaching position.

What Are My Advancement Options?

As an aviation teacher, you may continue your teaching career by advancing to higher, more prestigious teaching positions and earning recognition for your work. The FAA offers the gold seal certificate, which is the highest designation you may earn as a teacher from the FAA (www.faa.gov). Earning this certificate could lead to a higher salary and more job opportunities. You may also wish to open your own flight school or change careers and become a pilot.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Flight engineers and career and technical education teachers have a lot of professional similarities to aviation teachers. Flight engineers must have a bachelor's degree and their pilot license. They are responsible for performing maintenance checks prior to flight, and they file flight plans and check fuel levels. These are tasks that aviation teachers demonstrate to students. Flight engineers monitor the engine, fuel level and all of the plane's systems to ensure they continue working properly during the flight; aviation teachers either demonstrate navigation skills to their students or monitor their students while they navigate the plane. Career and technical education teachers need a bachelor's degree and teacher's license. Like aviation teachers they must follow an approved curriculum, instruct students in the material and evaluate their progress.