Choose Your Own Adventure with a Career in Aviation

Considering a career in aviation? For most people, aviation brings to mind adventure – exotic locales, new people, exciting experiences. A career in aviation can mean those things for you, too, plus a paycheck.

With a broad range of opportunities within the field, a career in aviation isn’t only for pilots and mechanics. General aviation employers need line personnel to fuel and service aircraft, marketing professionals to promote their businesses, accountants to manage the books, and a whole host of other positions.

Many aviation jobs, even those that don’t require previous experience or training, are well-paying positions with solid benefits. There’s also strong demand for almost every position in the aviation industry. But a career in aviation is about more than money.

Ryan Waguespack, a long-time aviation professional and consultant to multiple clients, including NATA, has held numerous roles within the industry working in sales, business development, and regulatory compliance for both aircraft manufacturing and charter companies. Waguespack was a pilot years ago. Although he ultimately decided a flying career wasn’t the best fit for him, he had caught the aviation bug. Instead of leaving the industry altogether, he sought new opportunities in different roles.

“One of the best things about a career in general aviation is that it’s a very entrepreneurial field. You’re in charge of your destiny,” said Waguespack. “You have an opportunity to create your own adventure.”

Not everyone finds that freedom, well, freeing. Some people are turned off by an unclear career progression but for people who like to chart their own course, a career in aviation can be very rewarding – both financially and personally. Not only might you find career opportunities you never considered or a chance to work for an amazing organization, but you might have the opportunity to live in places you never dreamed of.

Pilots aren’t the only aviation professionals who get to travel and see new places. Other aviation careers provide an opportunity for geographic adventures through business travel or relocations. Waguespack’s own career has taken him from the Alaskan backcountry to the skyscrapers of Dubai, with a host of locations in between.

Waguespack also values the tight-knit community feel of general aviation. It doesn’t take long to connect with people in this industry and once you do, you’ll find other aviation professionals to be helpful and friendly.

“It sounds a little silly, but we really are a giant family,” said Waguespack. “People look out for each other in general aviation.”

Finally, a career in aviation means you’re always learning. New technology, new regulatory requirements, and ever-changing conditions mean no two days are ever the same.

Today’s aviation professionals get to work with some of the most cutting-edge technologies, whether in new aircraft systems, drones, or autonomous flight. Skills in these areas will continue to be valuable for decades, both within aviation and outside the industry.

If you’re considering a career in aviation, learning more is pretty easy. While the internet offers a wealth of material, attending a local aviation event such as an airport open house or pancake breakfast and fly-in is a great way to meet local aviation professionals and hobbyists. If there are no planned events in your area, just stop by your local general aviation airport. Virtually everyone in aviation loves to share their own adventures.