Flight attendants secure passengers during air travel. To qualify for this position, individuals must possess an understanding of air safety, general operating policies for commercial aircraft, emergency evacuation procedures along with the physical capability to manipulate equipment safely. In addition to professional certification, flight attendants must meet education and training requirements to keep up with policy changes issued by the Federal Aviation Administration. Once qualified, flight attendants in Virginia can seek employment through professional airlines flying through airports in Norfolk, Richmond, Newport News and other Virginia cities.
Fulfill the education requirements for consideration. According to the Bureau of Labor, flight attendants are required to possess a high school diploma as a minimum for this profession. However, commercial airlines have shown increased interest in hiring candidates with a college degree or some college experience.
Meet the personal requirements for the position. Major commercial airlines require candidates be at least 18 years of age with proof of US citizenship. Applicants must also be tall enough to reach overhead compartments and strong enough to assist passengers with lifting and adjusting personal items such as luggage and packages.
Get training as a flight attendant. Once you are hired as an attendant, you will be required to complete training through your employer. Prior to hire, training programs are available to assist aspiring attendants with learning about the industry procedures, airline safety and preparing for the interview and hiring process. Training programs may take anywhere from four to seven weeks. To locate a flight attendant program at a dedicated aviation facility or through a community or vocational school, visit the Best Aviation website, an internet resource for aviation careers.
Consider learning a second language. International airlines often seek candidates that speak more than one language. If you are bilingual, use this to your advantage and indicate this in the application process for access to international positions.
Ensure you have a clear professional and personal background. As a condition of admission to training, all flight attendants must undergo a background check conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration that may go back as far as 10 years. To qualify, you should confirm that your background is free of any criminal convictions, shows a clear work and education history with proof available for all history upon investigation.
Hiring and Training
Apply for employment with a major commercial or private airline with service in Virginia. To locate openings and hiring requirements, you can visit and apply directly at the websites of your desired airline. To identify airlines that hire flight attendants, visit the Association of Flight Attendants website. This organization, located in Virginia, provides resources and career information for interested candidates. If you participated in a training program for airline attendants, seek placement assistance directly with your training facility. Also, you may consider using fee-based job and employment resources like Avjobs.com.
Complete flight attendant trainee training. Once your application has been accepted, you must complete training through the airline. You will not be considered an employee of the airline until successful completion of the training program.
Get your Certificate of Demonstrated Proficiency from the FAA. When you have successfully completed training, the Director of Operations for your airline will submit an application for your Certificate of Demonstrated Proficiency. This certification confirms you have passed airline training requirements for the flight attendant position.
2016 Salary Information for Flight Attendants
Flight attendants earned a median annual salary of $48,500 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, flight attendants earned a 25th percentile salary of $39,860, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $62,490, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 116,600 people were employed in the U.S. as flight attendants.