Should I Become A Ramp Agent?
Ramp agents work in a physically demanding part of the air transportation industry. They direct aircraft into and out of gates and help park aircraft. They move luggage and cargo crates to and from aircraft, verifying that each package is being shipped to its correct destination. Ramp agents also assist aircraft crews by cleaning and re-supplying the plane, deicing planes and performing equipment inspections.
Because of the physical nature of this job, strength and endurance are required; ramp agents must safely move luggage and cargo in order to avoid injury. Ramp agents usually work on full-time schedules and may be required to work irregular shifts that include nights and weekends.
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|Degree Level||None required; a high school diploma may be preferred by some employers,|
|Experience||None required; employers provide on-the-job training|
|Key Skills||Ability to operate vehicles and life heavy items, communication skills, fluency in written and spoken English, typing skills. Must be able to pass a background check and have clean driving record|
|Salary||$20,050 per year (Median Salary for Baggage Handlers)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May, 2014), SkyWest Airlines Career Guide
Step 1: Get a High School Diploma
Many employers don't require ramp agents to have diplomas, but high school graduates may be preferred. Reading comprehension and math skills help with understanding directions and charts. Ramp agents need to be able to type, and aspiring agents should take keyboarding and basic computer courses to acquire this skill.
Classes that teach organization, time management and improve teamwork skills help prepare individuals for working well with other ramp agents and supervisors.
Step 2: Acquire Communication and Customer Service Skills
Many employers desire applicants with strong communication and customer service skills. Ramp agents are expected to interact with flight crews, ground personnel and supervisors. Communication skills are critical for success in this position. Individuals may improve their chances for employment by taking basic communication and customer service courses at community colleges and adult learning programs if they lack these skills.
Step 3: Develop Physical Stamina
Ramp agents must be able to frequently lift up to 70 pounds, repeatedly bend over, kneel and work in awkward positions. Individuals who aren't physically fit should consider starting a fitness routine to build strength and endurance. Workers should also practice safety techniques to protect against bodily injury, including wearing a back support and asking others for assistance.
Step 4: Meet Job Qualifications and Get Hired
Applicants must meet several qualifications to get hired. These are likely to include taking drug tests and agreeing to background checks, including a review of public records. Ramp agents need to have a driver's license and be capable of driving vehicles, including cars, trucks and luggage carts. Additional training may be required to operate specialized vehicles, such as forklifts. Typically, applicants need to have a valid driver's license with no restrictions and a good driving record.
Step 5: Advance Your Career By Seeking Related Opportunities
Individuals working as ramp agents face limited promotional opportunities because of the nature of the work. They may seek a supervisory position within their field or pursue a position within another area of the airline industry. An individual who consistently performs in this position demonstrates that he (or she) is a dependable worker. With further education or training, they would be good candidates for other jobs or administrative positions within the company.