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Aviation Internships - How to Pursue an Aviation Career


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An internship with an airline is a great way to get some practical experience in your chosen field. Not only will you have the opportunity to see for yourself how the company is run on a daily basis, but the internship may open some doors for you when it comes to being considered for a permanent position. An interesting bonus to being an intern with an airline is that during your internship, you may be able to fly for free!

To find an internship with an airline, visit the web site of the company you are interested in working with. You will find information posted there about the types of internship opportunities available, along with when and how to apply for them. Not all airline internships are for aspiring pilots; internships are also available for people interested in engineering, finance, marketing, and travel management areas as well.

Southwest Airlines offers paid internships to approximately 40 individuals each year. Depending on the time of year, the internship period lasts either three or four months. Prospective interns may be hired in corporate safety and maintenance, flight operations, marketing, public relations, dispatch, or engineering departments.

A minimum GPA of 2.5 is required to be considered for one of these opportunities, and the company accepts resumes on an ongoing basis.

Flight operations interns at Northwest Airlines are recruited for the company's Operations Training Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. These unpaid internships are open to students enrolled in an aviation or aeronautical science program, who will earn a college credit for their participation. For every 30 days of service, the interns earn one ticket on the airline (subject to space availability).

Choosing to intern at America West airlines also means free airline travel. If you are chosen as one of the 5-10 interns the company hires each year, you will be given two discount travel passes. Opportunities exist in safety engineering, marketing, and finance areas of the company.

Another option for finding an internship with an airline is through the school you are attending. For example, students attending the University of Illinois’ Institute of Aviation can apply for internships at TWA, United Airlines, and American Airlines. These one-semester flight officer internships are competitive and the applicant's grade point average is an important factor when choosing interns.

Over the 16-18 weeks of the internship, the student has the opportunity to spend time in flight simulators and travel in the jump seat of the cockpit of the airline's flights. United Airlines guarantees that its interns will receive a job interview for a pilot position at a future time, but they do not promise that a company intern will receive a job offer on graduation.

Students attending Rocky Mountain College can be placed for internship opportunities with regional and national carriers. The school regularly works with Southwest Airlines, Delta Airlines, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Skywest Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and other carriers. Rocky Mountain College will work with students and airlines to customize an internship program to meet the students’ needs. Preference is given to airlines where students have a good chance of being considered for available positions after graduation.

You may also find listings for internship positions on Internet job boards, such as Monster and Careerbuilder. No matter what strategy you use to find an internship with an airline company, be sure to read the instructions for applying and follow them carefully. Failure to do so may result in your application being discarded without being read. You will want to impress on the company that you are able to take direction well; this trait will help you, no matter where you work after graduation.

The Internet is a great place to learn about airline jobs and internships. Check out specific airline web sites or Internet job boards to find out about available positions including flight attendant jobs . Colleges and Universities can also help with internship placements. Lisa Jenkins is a freelance writer for JobMonkey who shares her knowledge of the industry, job search advice, and a list of aviation schools around the U. S.


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