The Career Center recently hosted a seminar on Careers in Aviation Technology and Industrial Trades. There were two guest speakers. The first representative was Brian Capone with the BRCC Aviation program. The second presenter was Connie Fabre with the Greater Baton Rouge Industry alliance. If you missed this seminar, here are some key points:
Aviation isn’t just working with airplanes. There are many branches to the tree of aviation. Here are some examples:
Pilot: If you enjoy technology, travel, and a general interest in aviation, then a pilot would be a great career choice. To be a pilot you must attend flight school and additional safety training. You can also get additional certifications to increase your income. There are so many directions this career field can take you, the sky is literally the limit. Here are a few examples:
- Private Pilot or VFR Pilot: an entry-level pilot position. You operate under Visual Flight Rules (VFR), meaning you can fly small aircraft while the horizon is visible. This requires a minimum of 10 hours of flight experience.
- Military Pilot: much of the training is the same as a regular pilot, but you’d be working directly for a branch of the US military.
- Fire, Police, and Medical Pilot: In today’s world there can be many unpredictable circumstances in which a pilot is needed. This can range from a forest fire in California, to a high speed chase, to even a rescue mission from an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.
- Commercial Pilot: must have an airline transport pilot certification, at least 1500 hours of flight experience, and a bachelor’s degree in aircraft operations, aviation, aeronautical engineering, or a related field. It take around three years to reach this level as a pilot.
- Flight Instructor: must have a commercial pilot’s license, a valid third class FAA medical certificate, and a passing score on the FAA knowledge test.
Non-Pilot Aviation Careers: There are many other fields in aviation besides piloting. A few examples are:
- Air Marshal: law enforcement officers who ride on airplanes who are trained to immediately take out a threat or conflict in order to maintain safety to all persons onboard.
- Air Traffic Controller: make the decisions as to which planes can take off and land. Controllers seek to avoid crashes and other incidents involving aircraft by communicating directly with pilots and directing their actions. They have an enormous amount of responsibility and must be good at problem solving. This is a very rewarding career which starts at around $40k, and many well-seasoned controllers make close to $100k.
- Aviation Mechanic: If something breaks, it must be fixed. There is a growing need for aircraft mechanics today. This field pays very well also – expect to make an average starting salary of $50,000 per year or around $26 per hour. BRCC offers training for this profession. An alternative is to get training from the military.
There are many high-paying industrial careers in Louisiana. Oil, natural gas, and chemical plants are a vital part of the state’s economy. A few examples of these jobs are:
- Plant Operator: supervises the operation of an industrial plant. Operators are needed in utilities, power plants, or chemical plants such as gas extraction facilities, petrochemical or oil refineries. Education for this career can be obtained through a two-year degree from a community college. Average pay for this career can start at $21.00 an hour, and salary will rise quickly. The average chemical plant operator in Louisiana earns $67,000 per year.
- Welder: fabrication and assembly of metal structures and equipment through the use of welders, cutters, shapers and measuring tools. Welders are needed not only in chemical plants, but general construction of buildings to ship yards. Education for this career can be obtained by apprenticeships which range from 6,000 to 8,000 hours in length, or three to four years at 2,000 hours per year. Much of the training for this career path can be completed at a community college or vo-tech school. Welding jobs in Louisiana can average around $53,000 a year.
- Chemists: process, mix and examine natural compounds to determine how they interact with other chemicals. To become a chemist one would need a four-year degree from an accredited university. Many industrial companies need both chemists and chemical engineers.
Aviation is a diverse and rewarding field that anyone who is interested in flying or who enjoys technical hands-on care should look into. Check BRCC‘s offerings in this field.
Louisiana’s industrial field is constantly growing. It is a great alternative for graduating high school seniors who don’t want a traditional four-year degree. More information can be found on GBRIA’s website.
Written by Alvin Coleman