career: Aviation

What's it all about

Careers in aviation are expanding all the time, and cover everything to do with flying. Starting from the ground up (literally) the aviation industry can be split in to three areas.

  • In the air
  • Manufacturing
  • Airport

In the air covers everything from pilots to flight attendants, and can be done by anyone whether they have a degree or not. Yes – you can fly a plane without going to university.

The manufacturing side of things involve the engineering, designing and maintaining of air crafts – you don’t need a degree for this either.

The airport section probably holds the most options and can range from cleaning to security to customer service to booking. Guess what? You don’t need a degree for any of this.

What could I be doing 

What could I be doing

  • Pilot
  • Flight attendant
  • Cleaner
  • Security
  • Retail worker
  • Customer service
  • Baggage worker

Routes in

To become a professional airline pilot you will need to obtain an Airline Transport Pilot’s Licence (ATPL).

You usually start your career as a first officer after gaining at least ‘frozen ATPL’. When you have completed enough flying hours you can apply for a full ATPL and qualify as an airline captain. To have a full ATPL you have to be at least 21, but you can start training before this.

You also have to have a medical certificate stating that you’re able to fly before obtaining an ATPL. This is to check that you have good hearing, sight and colour-vision abilities but some courses might require a height and weight limit.

What skills will I need 

What skills will I need

  • Team work
  • Good coordination
  • Communication skills
  • Sense of responsibility
  • Ability to read maps
  • Ability to keep calm under pressure
  • Focused

Been there, done taht

We’re still on the hunt for a fabulous case study to show us how it’s done. Are you #DoingItWithoutADegree in this field? Then get in touch by emailing hattie@unisnotforme.com to find out how you can inspire our ambitious school leavers.


Expert opinion

We spoke to the FTA – Flight Training Academy – about how you could start your career in flying without going to uni:

“Flying a plane might seem like something that requires years of university, but the reality is much different. The FTA is a world class flight training academy that helps its students develop the skills, experience and confidence they need to achieve their dreams of becoming airline pilots – without degrees! They tell us how you could take to the skies and become a pilot:

If you’ve ever dreamed of becoming a pilot, flying a commercial aircraft is one of the most rewarding, exhilarating jobs you can do. But how do you become a pilot? To qualify as a first officer for an airline, you’ll need to take a commercial pilot training course with a reputable flight school. How do you find the right pilot school for you? Decide which course you want to do, research and asks lots of questions – then visit the school. Before you do, here’s some things to consider:


  • Location
  • Career development
  • Equipment
  • Post course support
  • Safety
  • Integrated vs modular
  • Prospects


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