Some were introduced to aviation by a family member, friend, or mentor. Others simply tripped into the wonder of flight through chance or circumstance.
Historically, aviators did not discover aviation in high school. Until recently, there was no emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). High school aviation programs have been a rarity, with schools instead focusing on cars, farming, cosmetology, and a few other career paths.
Aviation is finally making its way into high schools through STEM, magnet, and other dedicated programs by teaching conventional graduation requirements in the context of this exciting industry. High schoolers can earn their diploma while simultaneously pursuing their passion for flight, priming them for college entry. Here are a few reasons why a high school student should consider a future in aviation:
- Aviation is an industry of growth. Aircraft manufacturers, airlines, and government agencies report that hundreds of thousands of pilots and mechanics will be needed in the next 20 years. Aviators will be highly sought after and hirable.
- Aviation is an industry of opportunity. Becoming a pilot isn’t the only option—many different career paths revolve around flight. Someone has to take care of the passengers and help the flight crew ensure a safe flight. That’s where dispatchers and ground and cabin crews come in. As the world recovers from the pandemic, travel will pick up once again, and people will need the attention and care of the crew to help them on their way to and from their destination.
- Aviation is an industry of evolution. Things are changing rapidly, and people are needed to design, build, maintain, purchase, repair, and fly not only the airplanes and helicopters of today, but the drones, autonomous vehicles, VTOL aircraft, urban air mobility, and commercial spacecraft of the near future. All these aircraft will need experts to keep them in the air and safely operating alongside each other and with existing manned aircraft already active within the national airspace system.
- Aviation is challenging. Not everyone can do it. It takes discipline balanced by creative thinking, study, practice, dedication, and perseverance to become an aviator. But right from the beginning, aviators will be rewarded with another dimension few career paths offer:
- Aviation is exciting! Sure literature, economics, and the rise and fall of the Roman Empire are all interesting—but compared to aviation? Come on! Top Gun! Heroes like Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger and Tammie Jo Shults! Humans have been pursuing flight for hundreds of years for the beauty, science, and awe of it all. With so many ways to fly and new technologies emerging every day, there’s never been a more exciting time to join the aviation ranks.
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