How to Become a Flight Attendant

Thousands of commercial and private aircraft take off daily around the world to serve the needs of passengers. Trained professionals are required to provide service and assure that all passengers are safe and abide by regulations. This is the job of flight attendants.

What does a flight attendant do?

Flight attendants ensure the security and safety of traveling passengers and make sure flights are as enjoyable and comfortable as possible. They provide passengers with information on emergency evacuation and safety procedures, current weather conditions, flight time, and any special issues. They make sure all passengers have their seatbelts securely fastened and equipment is properly stowed for take off and landing. They also answer any questions and help passengers who need assistance.

Flight attendants are responsible for the first-aid and other emergency equipment aboard the aircraft. They also stock the passenger cabin with enough food and beverages and other available amenities. At the end of each flight, they report any issues or problems, lost and found materials, and cabin conditions.

What kind of training does a flight attendant need?

Flight attendants must have at least a high school diploma, but many airlines prefer candidates with a college degree. Applicants who can speak two major foreign languages are preferred for international flights. Once a flight attendant is hired, he or she must go through a formal training period lasting from 3 to 8 weeks depending on the airline and type and size of carrier. The training typically takes place at a flight-training center.

All flight attendants must obtain certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). They must complete the required training requirements, an approved proficiency check, and the assigned tasks. Flight attendants are certified for certain kinds of aircraft, no matter what airline.

What are the prospects for a career as a flight attendant?

Employment of flight attendants is projected to grow as fast as average for all jobs, increasing 11% from 2006 to 2016 (1). Job growth will be driven by airlines expanding their carrying capacity.

Job prospects are expected to be good, but with keen competition because there are often more applicants than job openings. Flight attendants with college degrees and public experience will have the best prospects. Many job opportunities will also arise from flight attendants retiring or leaving the field for other reasons.

How much do flight attendants make?

As of July 2009, the middle 50% of flight attendants earned annual salaries between $48,008 and $65,171. The top 10% earned annual salaries of more than $73,725 (2).

A career as a flight attendant is an excellent choice for individuals who enjoy flying and serving others. Flight attendants must be in good health, have good vision, and be able to speak clearly and be able to interact comfortably with passengers. In times of stress, flight attendants must remain calm and have the ability to calm down others.

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