Becoming a flight attendant crosses the mind of many job seekers for numerous reasons. The fact that the job doesn’t require a college degree and comes with perks like free travel, hotel rooms and meals are just a few reasons why there are so many applicants hoping to get hired as flight attendants. Even though the perks of becoming a flight attendant are clear, there are some drawbacks that come with it as well. For more insights about how to become a flight attendant, keep reading.
What Is a Flight Attendant?
Nearly every flight that takes the sky has flight attendants on board. A flight attendant is someone who helps ensure the safety, security and well being of a flight’s crew and passengers. While flight attendants benefit from having the opportunity to enjoy a somewhat non-conventional job, they’re often subject to long hours and extended periods away from home.
What Does a Flight Attendant Do?
A flight attendant keeps both crew and passengers on flights safe and comfortable. Some of the specific responsibilities that the job entails includes:
- Explaining safety procedures and providing instructions on how to use emergency devices.
- Ensure that passengers are following all safety protocols.
- Assist in helping passengers store carry-on baggage.
- Provide special assistance to individuals in need, like seniors and people with disabilities.
- Generally provide great service and hospitality to guests.
What Do You Need to Be a Flight Attendant?
Although having a college degree isn’t a necessity for becoming a flight attendant, there are still numerous requirements an individual should be aware of upon applying to become a flight attendant. For instance, any applicant should be able to complete a pre-employment drug screen and submit to an FBI fingerprint check. More of those requirements include:
- At least 18 years of age.
- High School Diploma or GED.
- Completion of Airline orientation/training program.
- FAA issued Certificate of Demonstrated Proficiency.
What Is the Average Flight Attendant Salary?
The median flight attendant salary as of 2020 was $59,050 per year. That number can skew up or down depending on variables including tenure, location and the airline they work for.
Pros & Cons of Becoming a Flight Attendant
Becoming a flight attendant is appealing for numerous reasons, but what many newcomers don’t realize are the drawbacks that come with the position. For instance, even though flight attendants are able to travel often, many times that can interfere with celebrating holidays and special occasions. Another benefit of becoming a flight attendant is the fact that they’re subject to discounted flights at discounted rates. On the other hand, the path to becoming a flight attendant may be longer than applicants anticipated. Even though a college degree isn’t required for becoming a flight attendant, the application and training process can be highly selective, and plenty of applicants are regularly turned down.
8 Steps to Becoming a Flight Attendant
The process of how to become a flight attendant can differ across the board. Ultimately the two main aspects of becoming a flight attendant that are universal are successfully completing the pre-hire orientation and training upon receiving an offer from an airline, and having successful customer service experience prior to applying to become a flight attendant. Keep reading for more specific details about how to become a flight attendant.
Step 1: Earning a College Degree (Not Required, But Beneficial)
Even though a college degree isn’t required to become a flight attendant, earning one can certainly help bolster a candidate’s resume. Although a college degree isn’t required, applicants are required to have their GED or High School Diploma in order to become flight attendants. What airlines find more valuable in flight attendant candidates than anything else is proven customer service or hospitality experience.
Step 2: Attain Customer Service Skills
There’s no replacement on a resume for high level customer satisfaction or service positions. One of the best ways for prospective flight attendants to stand out in the mind of airlines hiring flight attendants is to come to the table with a wide range of customer service skills that have been put to the test with real customers. The more customer service experience a candidate has amassed over time, the more likely that candidate is to be equipped to have the skills prospective employers are looking for.
Step 3: Search for Prospective Employers
Finding a job as a flight attendant can be just as hard as finding a job in any other industry. A few good places for prospective flight attendants to search for jobs include LinkedIn, job boards and directly on the websites of leading airlines. After finding airlines searching for new flight attendants, it’s time to go through the application process. Factors like working conditions and salary are likely to vary depending on the airline.
Step 4: Apply to Desired Jobs
Applying to become a flight attendant can be overwhelming at times. Some applications contain confusing questions that can take hours to complete. Additionally, applications are usually accompanied with a resume and cover letter. Ultimately there are hundreds of thousands of candidates applying for the opportunity to become flight attendants, so the goal should be to present an application that stands apart from the crowd.
Step 5: Train for Certifications
After completing the application and interview process, the next step to becoming a flight attendant is to train for the necessary certifications. One option for applicants without hospitality experience who are hoping to stand out to airlines hiring new attendants is to complete a flight attendant training program before applying for positions. Otherwise, flight attendants typically receive new hire training at the flight training center of the airline they’ve been hired by. Most training programs take about six weeks to complete.
Step 6: Complete FAA Certification Exams
After completing airline-required training, the next step to boarding a flight as a flight attendant is to secure FAA certification. The director of operations of an airline can apply for Certificate of Demonstrated Proficiency from the FAA for new flight attendants that have shown proficiency in key areas of their new hire training like applying first-aid and evacuation techniques. After receiving their Certificate of Demonstrated Proficiency, flight attendants are responsible for maintaining their certification with routine testing.
Step 7: Start Reserve Status
Upon receiving FAA certification, flight attendants begin their careers under reserve status. Flight attendants who are placed on reserve status are often relied on to fill in for call-offs. After about a year, good performance can see flight attendants get removed from reserve status which allows them to move away from their base airport and work more desirable shifts.
Step 8: Advancing Your Career
Many of the perks that come with becoming a flight attendant only come to fruition after spending a considerable amount of time with one airline. Similar to other career fields, the best way to move up the ladder is by continuing to learn skills that coincide with the role. For example, one way to begin working flights traveling to and from Canada would be to learn French. Tenure and a dedication to learning valuable skills are the best ways to advance as a flight attendant.
Why Becoming a Flight Attendant is a Worthwhile Career Choice
The opportunity to travel while earning a livable salary is appealing to lots of people. Taking that into consideration, flight attendant’s salary and travel aren’t the only reasons why the role is appealing. The fact that becoming a flight attendant doesn’t take the investment of several years in college or tens of thousands of dollars in specialized training is even better. The popularity of the career field is steadily increasing, too. Anyone interested in making a shift in their career would benefit from exploring opportunities in becoming a flight attendant. If you’re new to aviation and learning all the ins and outs of becoming a knowledgeable pilot or if you’re touching up as an expert, FLYING Magazine has it all.
On airline websites, job boards and LinkedIn.
By attending classes or gaining customer service experience in other areas.
Usually at least 6 months.