10 Highest Paying Jobs in the Aviation Industry

Oct 17, 2019

The aviation industry is one of the most lucrative the USA today!   Jobs are abundant and companies are willing to PAY top dollar to recruit the best talent.  Even with recent economic hurdles occasioned by buttoned-down security and sky-high fuel prices, it remains one of the best paying careers. 

If you’re changing jobs or planning to pursue a career in the field, the following are the TOP-TEN best-paying AVIATION jobs to consider.

The median annual salary is indicated next to the job title. 

  1. Airline Pilot: $117,000                      

While some commercial pilots earn as little as $20/hour, experienced pilots with thousands of hours are by far the best-paid workers in aviation, with some earning well over $200,000 a year. Many of today’s American Airlines commercial pilots have side hustles such as flying  crop dusters, doing test flights,  firefighting by air and monitoring air traffic in addition to flying passengers around the globe. 

  1. Aerospace Engineer: $124,430

Aerospace engineers design, manufacture, and test new aircraft structures. Physical research and development personnel, who account for about 9% of all aerospace engineering jobs, are some of the highest-paid aviation workers, earning an annual median salary of $124,430. Other lucrative sub-sectors in the field include navigation and controls and parts manufacturing. 

  1. Air Traffic Controller: $62,500

Air traffic controllers are based in airports and regional/national centers and tasked with managing ground movement, takeoff, landing time, en-route flight time, and more. Air traffic controllers don’t necessarily need a graduate degree. Instead, candidates need to pass a tough aptitude-based selection process then go through 3 years of rigorous training. 

  1. Airspace Marshal: $62,100

Airspace Marshals are employees of the federal government stationed in airports and in-flight planes to guard against attacks targeted at U.S. aircraft, passengers, and crew. They are trained in handgun accuracy, close-quarters self-defense, and terrorist behavior recognition. Training is provided by the Federal Air Marshal Service. 

  1. A&P Mechanic: $50,500

If you have a love for being close to planes and you are mechanically inclined, becoming an A&P Mechanic might be right up your alley!  A&P technicians inspect, maintain, and repair every mechanical part of aircraft, including the engine, landing gear, and brakes. 

  1. Flight Dispatcher: $49,300

Flight dispatchers liaise with pilots to create flight plans before takeoff. During the planning, factors such as weather and fuel management are discussed at length and the best decisions made for that particular flight. Dispatchers must also account for amount of cargo and number of passengers when creating flight plans. 

  1. Avionics Technician: $49,300

An avionics technician works on navigation and radio communication, weather radar systems, and computer components of an airplane. Often, they are required to solve complex electrical problems to ensure safe flights.

  1. Aircraft Loadmaster: $40,900

Airline loadmasters mathematically plan for placement of passengers and cargo on planes to ensure safe takeoff and landing. In commercial airlines, there’s even a load planner position. While loadmasters often fly on the plane, load planners are permanently stationed on the ground. 

  1. Flight Attendants: $38,890

Flight attendant jobs also pay handsomely. It’s important to understand, however, that it’s one of the most in-demand positions in aviation. Every year, tens of thousands of candidates put in applications to be considered at various airlines. So, competition is stiff. If you’re selected, there’s plenty to enjoy, chief among them traversing the globe free of charge!

  1. Customer Service Agent: $28,460

Often one of the first people you meet when interacting with an airline, the customer service department checks in passengers and assists with administrative duties. They also liaise with flight dispatchers and cabin crew to finalize passenger lists before takeoff. The position requires charismatic characters with a positive self-image. 

Now, Make an Informed Decision

There are many other well-paying positions in aviation, including; ramp agents, ticket agents, and security handlers. The above ten positions, however, are the best paying at the moment.