How do I get Started in a Flight Attendant Career?

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  • Written By: D. Jeffress
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 January 2019
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Flight attendants ensure the security and comfort of airplane passengers by providing safety information and various services. Getting started in a flight attendant career involves receiving the appropriate education and training. A prospective flight attendant must have at least a high school diploma, though both commercial and private airlines prefer candidates with college degrees. A hopeful flight attendant must also complete a three to eight week training program held at an airline's training facility.

Before pursuing a flight attendant career, a person should make sure that he or she meets the standard requirements for the position. Generally, airlines set minimum and maximum height requirements, ensuring that candidates are tall enough to reach overhead compartments and short enough to easily maneuver throughout an airplane. In addition, airlines typically conduct vision checks prior to hiring. Candidates must also pass drug tests, physicals, and extensive background checks which detail criminal records and employment history.

A person must have a high school diploma to begin a flight attendant career. Since competition for flight attendant jobs can be strong, airlines usually look for candidates who have an associate or bachelor's degree in hospitality, travel, or social sciences. Employers also prefer people who have strong communication skills and customer service experience. The ability to speak one or more foreign languages is extremely helpful in gaining employment with an international airline.


Once hired, a flight attendant is required to attend a three to eight week training course at the airline's training facility. Attendants receive training in first aid, emergency management, company policies, and customer service. Trainees typically engage in group activities, individual instruction, and practice flights. Once training is completed, attendants receive certification from the appropriate government agency. In the United States, the Federal Aviation Administration provides certification to new flight attendants.

A person's official flight attendant career begins after gaining certification. New flight attendants are usually placed on reserve for up to one year, meaning they are not given specific schedules or hours. Rather, they fill in for regular flight attendants on an as-needed basis. With patience and experience, flight attendants are taken off of reserve, given reliable schedules, and assigned a home base.

Getting started in a flight attendant career can be stressful. The prospect of an exciting, fast-paced lifestyle, including benefits such as free travel, however, draw many applicants to the position. Those who are willing to relocate, engage in formal training, and complete a somewhat uncertain reserve period are rewarded with meaningful, enjoyable careers in the aviation industry.



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