March 22, 2021

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Flight Attendant Job Description, Salary, and Education

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Flight Attendant Job Description

Salary: $31,800 – $47,500Number of Jobs: 98,720
Hourly Rate: Not AvailableEmployment Outlook: Normal
Green Job: NoEducation: Long-term on-the-job training

What do Flight Attendants do?

Flight attendants play a vital role in ensuring the safety and comfort of airline passengers.

Though flight attendants may be most well known for helping with baggage, taking tickets, and handing out refreshments, their biggest responsibility is keeping passengers safe in the event of an emergency.

Before the flight takes off, flight attendants instruct passengers in general safety procedures. They provide instructions on how to operate seat belts, flotation devices, oxygen masks, and emergency exits.

Before the plane lands, they ensure that passengers have fastened their seat belts and that their seats are in the proper position for landing.

Between flights, they are responsible for taking inventory of supplies, including drinks, payments, headsets, and other in-flight materials. They also report on the condition of the plane, as well as any disruptions that occurred during flight.

Work Environment and Schedule

Flight attendants spend the majority of their working hours in airplanes, but also spend a lot of time on the ground prepping planes and waiting for aircraft to arrive. Full time flight attendants spend up to ninety hours a month in the air, and about fifty hours on the ground. Spending two or three nights away from home each week is common.

Their days can be long, as most shifts last at least twelve hours (and even longer on international flights). One benefit of working such long days is that flight attendants enjoy more time off than workers in most occupations.

Flight attendants are required to work nights, weekends, and holidays. Their schedules are also very irregular, and require workers to be very flexible with their working hours.

With so much time spent away from home (and so much time spent in the air with serving customers), this can be a very stressful occupation. It’s not a job for everyone, but for some people it can be very fulfilling.

How to Become a Flight Attendant

Flight attendants must have a minimum of a high school diploma or GED, though some airlines prefer to hire candidates with either an associates or bachelor’s degree. If you want to work in this occupation, previous employment in a customer service position can help increase your chances for employment.

If you dream of traveling the world as a flight attendant, learning to speak at least one other language fluently is normally required. Taking a foreign language class in high school or college is a great way to learn.

Flight attendants are trained by their employer, but have to become certified by the Federal Aviation Administration before they can practice. Since each type of aircraft has its own safety and security systems, a separate certification is required for each type of aircraft.

Training normally lasts between three and six weeks, and results in a certification. Certifications require training in operating emergency equipment, administering first aid, and performing other safety procedures.

After earning their certification, flight attendants are placed on reserve status, which works kind of like the substitute teacher system. Reserve flight attendants don’t have a regular schedule — instead, they are always on call and must be able to report to the airport on short notice when needed.

Only after many years of experience are flight attendants able to choose their own routes.

Employment Outlook

There are currently 98,720 flight attendants in the United States, with 3,010 new flight attendant job openings created each year.

Flight Attendant jobs are not expected to see much growth beyond their current levels in the next decade.

Flight Attendant Salaries

Overall Salaries

Flight Attendant salaries can vary depending on your experience, the location, company, industry, and benefits provided. Nationwide, most flight attendants make between $31,800 – $47,500 per year, or Not Available per hour.

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