Get your future a lift with a career in aviation
Take your future to new heights with a career in aviation! JCC’s Flight Center, located at the Jackson County Airport - Reynolds Field, offers education and training needed for someone looking for a job in aviation.
JCC offers an associate degree and pilot certification for those looking to learn to fly. Students working toward an associate degree may take their general education credits at JCC and complete flight training at the flight center. Since 2012, JCC has partnered with Solo Aviation to offer flight training. Now, students may also learn to fly helicopters as well as earn multi-engine and multi-engine instructor ratings.
Careers in the field are diverse, from local commercial pilots, to flight instructors, to corporate and regional pilots to the major airline pilots. The College offers private, instrument, commercial and flight instructor flight training. A minimum of 250 hours flight time are required for a commercial certificate, which qualifies pilots for entry-level jobs.
“Demand in the field is projected to grow due to a forecasted pilot shortage,” said instructor Christopher “Chip” Monk, program director of aviation technology. “We are expecting a big draw for flight instructors, which students can do right out of JCC.”
Commercial airlines have seen their ups and downs in recent years, though jobs for pilots and aviation technicians are available. A student will usually start with flight instruction and then go on to become either a corporate or regional pilot. To become a pilot, students should be sociable and good with people because one will always be working with others. In addition, good skills in math and science are helpful.
“Really, it’s more like driving a car than anything. It is easier than some people think. It’s still a lot of hard work, but it isn’t out of reach,” Monk said.
Most airlines are looking for pilots with some type of college degree, and more and more would like a bachelor’s degree. A degree can help if at some point down the line pilots find themselves unable to fly. Pilots must be able to pass medical and eye examinations and be in general good health, and their career may be grounded due to an illness such as diabetes, cancer or serious injury. While aviation has traditionally been a male-dominated field, more and more women are getting into the “left seat” now as airline pilots and captains.
Demand for pilots is expected to increase in the coming years as the demand for air travel increases. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment outlook through 2020 anticipates an 11 percent growth in the number of yearly job openings. Earnings of pilots vary depending on size of employer, type of flight, number of hours and miles flown and so on. Entry-level jobs begin between $20,000-$30,000. According to the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth, earnings range from $68,500 for co-pilots of a small jet to $162,100 for chief pilot of a large fleet. To learn more, call 517.787.7012.
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