How to Become a Flight Attendant

Flight Attendant Key Stats
Avg. Salary / year $64,420
Education 0-6 Months
Job Outlook 10.2%

If you’re interested in travel and have great communication and customer service skills, you might like to become a flight attendant.

A flight attendant looks after the needs of passengers on an aircraft during a commercial flight.

They also make sure safety standards are met, and are on hand to take charge in the case of an emergency.

To become a flight attendant, you’ll need to be great with people.

Much of your work will be providing a high level of customer service to passengers.

Flight attendants have plenty of opportunity to travel both domestically and internationally.

Education Requirements to Become a Flight Attendant

The minimum educational requirement to become a flight attendant is a high school diploma or GED.

However, many airlines give preference to applicant with a college degree or customer service experience.

There are colleges and schools that offer specific training for flight attendants.

These schools are usually privately run and charge high fees, but they teach a range of skills such as service, safety procedure, as well as administrative skills like ticketing.

While they will give you an advantage in gaining employment, they are not essential.

An airline will look favorably on those who have a four year bachelor’s degree from college.

Majors in psychology, nursing, communications, travel, and tourism will be highly regarded.

Also, those that have worked in customer orientated jobs will be given preference.

If you are interested in working as a flight attendant for an international airline, you will need to speak a second language fluently.

Those who can speak three or more languages will be sought after.

Once you become employed, you will be sent to training for 3 -6 months.

This will usually take place in the training center run by the airline.

Room and board is usually provided during your training period.

To become a flight attendant, you need to be certified by the FAA.

This certification will include a thorough background check.

A good place to find out more information about certification is the Association of Flight Attendants website.

Flight Attendant Job Description

Before a flight, flight attendants will meet with the captain approximately one hour before scheduled take off.

The captain will discuss the flight path, duration, and any special considerations needed to be given to the passengers on board.

Flight attendants will then go on to prepare the plane for boarding, making sure the plane is safe, and that there is plenty of food and drinks on board.

A flight attendant will also give a safety presentation at the beginning of each flight and make sure the aircraft’s passengers are ready for takeoff.

Throughout the duration of a flight, a flight attendant will serve food, and see to any needs or requests of a passenger.

They may also make announcements, and provide first aid to ill passengers if required.

In the event of an emergency, a flight attendant will supervise passengers, and coordinate any emergency evacuation.

Here are some of the duties you may complete if you become a flight attendant:

  • Checking and seating passengers
  • Attending a brief by the captain
  • Preparing a plane for boarding
  • Preparing a plane for takeoff
  • Serving meals and beverages
  • Giving a safety demonstration
  • Providing first aid
  • Helping passengers disembark the aircraft after landing

Flight Attendant Salary and Career Path

When you first become a flight attendant, your first few months of duty will have you working closely with other attendants so you can learn your role.

After a while you will be given more responsibility.

Some flight attendants are promoted to position such as lead attendants.

Some may move on to ground positions, developing products, recruiting, or training new staff.

Some go on to administration positions when travel becomes difficult for them.

The median range of a flight attendant’s salary is between $29,000 and $49,000 a year.

The highest 10% of earners make more than $63,000 a year.

Some similar roles to that of a flight attendant that you may be interested in include:

If you would like a job in customer service that offers a lot more than many other roles, then you might like to become a flight attendant.

There are many good opportunities to travel, as well as the chance to make a successful career.

BLSThe below information is based on the 2021 BLS national averages.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

National Average Salary


Average Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
New York$69,250
North Carolina$58,190
Washington- NA -

The top earning state in the field is Connecticut, where the average salary is $111,500.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

Connecticut - $111,500
Hawaii - $104,110
New York - $69,250
Massachusetts - $67,010
Oregon - $65,550
* Salary information based on the May 2021 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Flight Attendants, OCC Code 53-2031, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a flight attendant?

The main responsibility of a flight attendant is to ensure the comfort and safety of the passengers during an air flight.

Flight attendants are part of the cabin crew (the personnel who operate an aircraft while traveling internationally or locally).

Flight attendants can also be called “stewards” and “stewardesses” or “air hosts” and “air hostesses”.

Flight attendants have to inspect the aircraft prior to takeoff to ensure that everything is working properly and is in place.

Before the flight, the cabin crew has a briefing with the captain during which safety details, weather conditions, and the flight duration are discussed.

Flight attendants have to go through the list of passengers to find out if any special needs passengers will be flying.

A flight attendant does not only help the passengers, he or she also monitors their behavior to detect anyone who is acting suspiciously.

How much do flight attendants make?

On average, a flight attendant earns a bit more than $33.000 per year in the United States.

You can expect to earn anywhere between $29.500 and $46.000 annually.

Top-level flight attendants with a lot of experience can make around $22 per hour, while entry-level stewards and stewardesses earn about $14 hourly.

Flight attendants with experience can seek for promotion.

Usually, meals and overnighting at hotels in different countries are compensated by the company.

How much does it cost to become a flight attendant?

You would have to undergo special training to become a flight attendant.

Typically, an initial flight attendant course will cost you around $800 for two weeks of classroom instructions (accommodation and school materials not included).

A complete course at a certified flight attendant school can cost up to $5000.

There are also online schools that provide the same formal education and won’t cost you a fortune.

What is the demand for flight attendants?

Between 2016 and 2026, the flight attendant job market is expected to grow by 10.2% in the United States.

There will still be strong competition for the workplaces as the job of a flight attendant is considered to be glamorous and adventurous.

The majority of the vacancies will be provided by low-cost, regional, and charter airlines.

The Asia Pacific region is expected to have the highest cabin crew demand, so a lot of flight attendants will try to find a job in that area.

The field of commercial flights is sensitive to the overall economic situation worldwide – the worse the economy is, the fewer people fly.

How long does it take to become a flight attendant?

You don’t necessarily need a degree to become a flight attendant, though the candidates with formal education in public relations will have a great advantage.

After passing some checks, candidates usually train from 6 weeks to 6 months (depending on the country and airline).

Typically, flight attendants remain on reserve status for a year (sometimes for longer).

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.