How to Get Experience in Aviation
Aviation is a fast growing degree field for international students, with a lot of great career prospects. Students who study aviation should consider getting an aviation internship or some type of work experience while studying. This will expose students to the daily rigors of a career in aviation and prepare them for future careers in aviation.
Finding an Internship
Having experience in aviation is very important in starting a career after graduation. There are plenty of aviation internships in the industry, but finding them may require a little research initiative on the part of international students. Students should search for aviation internships openings online or on company web pages. An even better idea is to reach out directly to aviation organizations for internships.
Finding the right internship is very important. There are many types of aviation internships, both short term and long term. Depending on your actual degree path and what you want to do, there is likely a specific internship program for you. Some of the more widely available internships are in the field of aviation management or aviation business. These forms of aviation internships are offered by many of the large airliners and even mid-level airline companies. These programs’ goals are to teach students the ins and outs of different jobs in aviation while also giving them different responsibilities that will benefit them in a future aviation career. Aviation internships in these fields have a great chance of leading to potential jobs after graduation.
Most airlines will offer internships in the summer, but may also offer academic semester internships in the fall or spring. The aviation field offers several different internships in departments such as Flight Operations, Aircraft Maintenance, Aircraft Servicing, and Client Services. In addition to the major airliners like Southwest, American Airline and Jet Blue, many international and regional airports sponsor interns. Many of these internships are paid, or offer academic credit or housing while employed.
An Apprenticeship in Aviation
Students who want to do something more hands on in the aviation industry often take up an apprenticeship in aviation rather than an internship. An apprenticeship is a paid position that provides intense on the job training. Most apprenticeships in aviation are collaborated by educational courses in addition to job training. Apprenticeships are generally more focused on trades and trade workers such as mechanics and pilots. The skills learned in these positions will prepare students for real jobs after graduation. Unlike most internship opportunities, an apprenticeship is an employed position. Apprentices are treated like employees; they are expected to do good work while constantly improving as they learn more about the field.
Getting Flight Experience
Many international students go into aviation because they want the opportunity to fly as a career. Commercial and private flight is a large business. In order to start a career as a pilot, a student first needs to know how to fly a plane, and must have the skills necessary to operate the plane. In the classroom, students learn about wind measurements, nautical mapping, and flying. While you may have the opportunity to fly with a trainer and use simulations, usually just a degree is not enough to qualify you for a job immediately following graduation. Instead, you will need to have a documented journal of flight hours, preferably solo flight hours. In order to get up in the air, you should try to get a private pilot’s license. The private pilot’s license allows a person to fly an aircraft solo and operate many types of aircraft. Once you get this license and are able to document several hours, you may be qualified for a flight position. A lot of current commercial and private pilots got their start as pilots for their respective militaries. Students will find that these experience building opportunities will set them apart from other applicants in their search for a career in aviation.