An interesting alternative to working in the private sector is a career in government. Many highly responsible aviation positions are to be found in the FAA and other Federal agencies. In addition, state and local government agencies are involved in aviation.
Among its many functions in aviation, the FAA is responsible for controlling the movement of aircraft throughout the nation, establishing and maintaining electronic navigation aids, licensing pilots and aircraft mechanics, and certifying the airworthiness of aircraft.
General Information: A major source of aviation careers lies in jobs with federal, state and local government agencies.
Civil aviation careers in the Federal Government for men and women are found within the Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration; the Civil Aeronautics Board; and a growing number of other Federal departments and agencies. All of these aviation jobs come under the Federal Civil Service, and wage scales are determined by Congress, which, from time to time, adjusts the pay levels to bring them in line with comparable jobs in private business and industry. Salaries for Federal Civil Service employees are established into two chief categories: General Schedule (for those employees who perform administrative, managerial, technical, clerical and professional jobs and who are paid on an annual basis) and the Federal Wage System (for those employees who perform jobs associated with the trades and crafts and who are paid wages on an hourly basis).
Most Federal Civil Service employees in the aviation field are covered by the General Schedule and their salaries vary according to their grade level (GS-1 through GS-18). Within each of the grades provided in the General Schedule, provision is made for periodic pay increases based on an acceptable level of performance. With an acceptable level of competence, the waiting period of advancement to steps two, three and four is one year, steps five, six and seven is two years, steps eight, nine and ten is three years.
Forty hours constitutes a normal work-week. Additional payment (called premium pay) is made for shift work involving duty between 6 o'clock p.m. and 6 o'clock a.m. and for work during Sundays and holidays. Merit promotions are awarded under provisions of a Civil Service approved merit promotion plan.
Most federal employees under Civil Service participate in a liberal retirement plan. Employees earn from 13 to 26 days of paid annual vacation, depending upon the length of service, and 13 days of paid sick leave each year. Health insurance, low-cost group life insurance, credit union service, and compensation and medical care for injury on the job are other benefits offered.
The largest number of aviation jobs found within the Federal Government (outside the Department of Defense) is with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of the Department of Transportation. The FAA, with a total of approximately 47,000 employees, is charged with the administration and enforcement of all federal air regulations to insure the safety of air transportation. The FAA also promotes, guides and assists the development of a national system of civil airports. The FAA provides pilots with flight information and air traffic control services from flight planning to landing.
The jobs require considerable travel, as inspections, consultations and investigations must be made at various facilities and locations or at the scenes of accidents. Forty hours constitute a normal work week. Change of assignment from one duty station to another is required as staffing demands. Inspectors are required to travel frequently and to occasionally work irregular duty hours.
Typical Requirements and/or Experience
Candidates must have had experience as described below. Education may be substituted for general experience.
General experience: General experience is that which has provided familiarity with aircraft operation or the aviation industry. The following are examples of qualifying general experience:
Pilot or crew member in civil or military aviation Civilian or military air traffic controller Aviation mechanic or repairperson Avionics or electronics technician Skilled machinist, assembly person, or inspector in production of aircraft, aircraft parts, or avionics equipment
Substitution of Education: For all positions in this series, successful completion of post-high school education in related fields such as engineering, aeronautics, or air transportation may be substituted for the required general experience. Education may be substituted at the rate of one academic year of full time study for nine months of general experience, up to the maximum of three years of general experience.
Specialized Experience: Specialized experience is that which has provided knowledge and skills for work in the specialty field-operations, airworthiness, or manufacturing. In addition, specialized experience must have provided a broad knowledge of the aviation industry, the general principles of aviation safety, and the Federal laws, regulations and policies regulating aviation. Examples of qualifying specialized experience are described under the appropriate specialty area.
Level of Experience: Candidates for positions at grades GS-11 and below must have had at least six months of specialized experience at a level of difficulty and responsibility comparable to that of the next lower grade in the Federal service, or one year equivalent to the second lower grade. Candidates for grades GS-12 and above must have had at least one year of specialized experience of difficulty and responsibility comparable to that of the next lower grade.
For any grade, the required amount of experience and education will not in itself be accepted as proof of qualification for a position. The candidate's total record of experience and education must demonstrate that he or she possesses the ability to perform the duties of the position.
Physical Requirements: Candidates must be physically able to perform efficiently the duties of the position. They must have good distant vision in each eye and be able to read without strain printed material the size of typewritten characters, glasses permitted. Ability to hear the conversational voice with or without a hearing aid is required. Any physical condition would cause the applicant to be a hazard to himself or herself or others or which would interfere with her or his ability to fly as a passenger in a variety of airplanes will disqualify the applicant for appointment. In addition, candidates for positions that require participation in the operation of aircraft must possess a currently valid first-class medical certificate in accordance with the regulations of the FAA. Incumbents of these positions must pass recurrent medical examinations as may be prescribed by the FAA.
Basis of Rating: No written examination is required. Candidates will be rated, on a scale of 100, on the extent and quality of their experience and training. Ratings will be based upon candidates statements in their applications and upon additional information that may be obtained by the Office of Personnel Management. For positions that involve specialization in flight operations, the nature, amount and recency of flight time as a pilot or flight instructor will be given substantial weight in ranking candidates.
Successful completion of post-high school education in related fields such as engineering, aeronautics, or air transportation may be substituted for the required general experience. Education may be substituted at the rate of one academic year of full time study for nine months of general experience, up to the maximum of three years of general experience.
Married and unmarried men and women, with or without children are eligible. Persons who are widowed or divorced, also are eligible.
It is the policy of most aviation companies to provide equal employment opportunity to all individuals regardless of their race, creed, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, military and veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law. Most aviation companies are strongly committed to this policy, and believe in the concept and spirit of the United States law.
Most aviation companies are committed to assuring that:
All recruiting, hiring, training, promotion, compensation, and other employment related programs are provided fairly to all persons on an equal opportunity basis without regard to race, creed, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, military and veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status or any other characteristic protected by law;
Employment decisions are based on the principles of equal opportunity and affirmative action;
All personnel actions such as compensation, benefits, transfers, training, and participation in social and recreational programs are administered without regard to race, creed, color, sex, age, national origin, disability, military and veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status or any other characteristic protected by law, and;
Employees and applicants will not be subjected to harassment, intimidation, threats, coercion or discrimination because they have exercised any right protected by law.
Most aviation companies believe in and practice equal opportunity and affirmative action. All employees are responsible for supporting the concept of equal opportunity and affirmative action and assisting the company in meeting its objectives.
Most aviation companies maintain Affirmative Action Plans for minorities, women, disabled persons and veterans.
EEOC has jurisdiction of the prohibitions against employment discrimination codified in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. These laws prohibit discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age and disability.
The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) enforce the prohibitions against federal employment discrimination codified in the CSRA. The OSC will defer those bases of discrimination under EEOC's jurisdiction to the respective federal agency and its EEO process. The CSRA also prohibits employment discrimination in the federal government based on marital status, political affiliation and conduct which does not adversely affect the performance of the employee, none of which are within EEOC's jurisdiction. Moreover, the law defines ten other prohibited personnel practices in the federal government, all of which fall under the jurisdiction of the OSC and the MSPB. See Prohibited Personnel Practices at http://www.osc.gov/ppp.htm.
Additional information may also be found on the the EEOC web site located at http://www.eeoc.gov/
Wages and Benefits
Most Federal Civil Service employees in the aviation field are covered by the General Schedule and their salaries vary according to their grade level (GS-1 through GS-18). Within each of the grades provided in the General Schedule, provision is made for periodic pay increases based on an acceptable level of performance. With an acceptable level of competence, the waiting period of advancement to steps two, three and four is one year, steps five, six and seven is two years, steps eight, nine and ten is three years. Trainees are paid while learning their jobs.
Salaries and benefits can vary. For an updated look at salaries in the aviation industry, view the Avjobs.com Salary Report.
Where the jobs are and who hires
Inspectors operate out of Air Carrier District Offices, General Aviation District Offices and Flight Standards District Offices. These are located throughout the country. Five International Field Offices have the same functions as the FSDOs.
Opportunities for Advancement
Outstanding inspectors may be promoted to the next higher level with increased responsibilities and salary. An inspector demonstrating managerial ability may become a section or branch chief. She or he may also become an instructor at the FAA Academy.
Outlook for the Future
The aviation industry has gone through periods of tremendous success and innovation, and periods of intense challenges. Today, aviation plays a critical role in our economy and the future of aviation will depend on business and personal travel, aviation fuel costs, and government subsidy and intervention.
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No written examination is required. Candidates will be rated, on a scale of 100, on the extent and quality of their experience and training. Ratings will be based upon candidates statements in their applications and upon additional information that may be obtained by the Office of Personnel Management. For positions that involve specialization in flight operations, the nature, amount and recency of flight time as a pilot or flight instructor will be given substantial weight in ranking candidates.
To locate educational facilities with programs related to this position, search Avjobs Aviation School Directory. The Avjobs Aviation School Directory makes researching and finding an aviation college, university, flight school or professional training facility simple.
Interview: Before appointment, candidates may be required to appear for an interview. The purpose is to observe and evaluate certain personal characteristics to determine whether candidates possess the following essential qualities:
Ability to express ideas logically and accurately and to speak effectively and convincingly Ability to operate successfully and easily in group situations. Candidates should be evaluated on the basis of the extent to which their experience and training provided knowledge's and skills necessary for positions for which they are being considered. The following are elements of aviation safety positions that the candidates' background should have provided:
Broad knowledge of specialization Independence and responsibility Skill in evaluation and fact-finding Ability to advise and guide others Skill in reading comprehension and report writing Selective Placement For positions that require particular knowledge and skills, consideration may be restricted to those candidates whose background indicate that they possess those knowledge and skills. For example, Aviation Safety Inspector as an operational position may require ability to operate a specific type of jet aircraft or helicopter in which case consideration may be restricted to candidates who have ratings in that type of aircraft. As another example, positions that primarily require knowledge and skill in maintenance of avionics equipment may be restricted to candidates whose backgrounds demonstrate knowledge and skill in the avionics area.
Alternatively, separate registers may be established for eligibles with avionics expertise.