Airfield operations specialists are in charge of all operations on an airport's airfield. An associate's degree or apprenticeship may be enough to get started in the field. This article will give you more information about career prospects, and salary and education requirements.
For people interested in the behind-the-scenes aspects of aviation, a career as an airfield operations specialist may be worth exploring. Airfield operations specialists maintain the entire airfield area of an airport. Their duties include ensuring the safe take-off and landing of aircraft, maintaining navigational aids, performing inspections, and communicating with air traffic control. Getting into this field requires an associate's degree and on-the-job training, and there are apprenticeships available.
|Required Education||Associate's degree|
|Other Requirements||Field experience|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||4%|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$51,880|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Public and private airports and military airfields employ airfield operations specialists to ensure safe and secure airport environments. Specialists perform a variety of tasks, including maintenance, emergency response, and management. These workers need strong knowledge and skills in customer service, math, public safety, communication systems, and aviation regulations. Specialists typically work in control centers and in the outdoors, where they may be exposed to hazards such as fumes, dangerous machinery, loud noises, and bad weather.
Most employers require airfield operations specialists to have at least an associate's degree or work experience, or a combination of both. Universities, community colleges, and technical schools offer degrees and certificates in aviation. Degree programs such as aviation technology and aviation management include classes in aviation law, weather, aviation safety, airport management, and aircraft systems.
Applicants may receive on-the-job training by completing college internships and apprenticeships recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor. Related work experience may be obtained in areas such as airport security, dispatch, and maintenance.
Airfield operations specialists inspect all airport areas, including hangers, runways, and fuel storage areas for compliance with airport and Federal Aviation Administration safety regulations. Specialists ensure airfield safety by monitoring weather conditions, maintenance work, wildlife activity, and runway conditions. Air-traffic control and airfield operations specialists coordinate the arrival, departure, refueling, parking, and loading of aircraft. Other duties include using radios to direct emergency response units and providing first aid during airfield emergencies.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that airfield operations specialists earned mean annual salaries of $51,880. The highest ten percent of specialists earned $95,330 or more that year. The BLS projected that the employment of airfield operations specialists would likely grow by about 4% from 2014 to 2024.
To become an airfield operations specialist, typical requirements include an associate's degree, and/or on the job training or an apprenticeship. This is a job with diverse responsibilities. The field is expanding at a slightly slower than average rate through 2024.