/ 10 June 2016



The aviation industry offers a wide variety of careers: from cabin crew to air traffic controllers, and from artisans to engineers.

– Planning and developing transport infrastructure

– Maintenance and operation of transport systems and infrastructure

– Freight and logistics management

What skills do I need?

– Interest in aviation

– Technical aptitude

– Maths skills – particularly for pilots and aviation engineers

– Ability to think three-dimensionally

– Organisational skills

– People skills

– Admin and management skills

What career options are there?

– Aviation economist

– Aviation lawyer

– Aviation safety specialist

– Aviation medicine

– Airport planner

– Environmental specialist

– Metallurgical engineer

– Aerospace engineer

– Aircraft maintenance engineer

– Aeronautical engineer

– Airspace modelling and simulation specialist

– Systems engineer

– Application engineer

– Weather specialist

– Air freight controller

– Air freight manager

– Air traffic controller

– Pilot

– Cabin crew/flight attendant

– Loadmaster

– Search and rescue

– Avionician

– Radartrician

– Aircraft electrician

– Aircraft instrument mechanic

– Aircraft mechanic

– Aircraft radiotrician

– Aircraft composite structures worker

– Aircraft welder

– Aircraft trimmer

– Aircraft spraypainter

– Aircraft electrician

– Aircraft technician

– Aircraft painter

– Electroplater

– Electronics Mechanician

– Fitter and Turner

– Tool and Jigmaker

– Toolmaker

– Turner and Machinist

– Fleet manager

– Distribution manager

– Procurement manager

– Purchasing manager

– Supply chain manager

If you’d like to become a pilot:

– Start with a Grade 12 or N4 pass with maths and physical science

– You will need to be in good physical health and must pass regular physical exams

– Achieving a private pilot’s licence can be very costly, due to the many hours of training and flying experience you will need.

The South African Civil Aviation Authority issues the following types of licences:

·       Student Pilot Licence (SPL)

·       Private Pilot Licence (Aeroplane) (PPL-A)

·       Private Pilot Licence (Helicopter) (PPL-H)

·       Commercial Pilot Licence (Aeroplane) (CPL-A)

·       Commercial Pilot Licence (Helicopter) (CPL-H)

·       Airline Transport Pilot Licence (Aeroplane) (ATPL-A)

·       Airline Transport Pilot Licence (Helicopter) (ATPL-H)

·       Glider Pilot Licence (GPL)

·       Free-balloon Pilot Licence (FBPL)

·       Airship Pilot Licence (ASPL)

Becoming an engineer in the aviation sector

Engineers in aviation can specialise in structural design, production, development and testing, navigational guidance and control systems and aircraft construction.

You’ll need:

– Grade 12 with English, maths and physical science


– N4 with Maths and physical science 60% or higher


– N5/6 or first year university of technology 50% or higher

– BEng (mechanical engineering) or BEng (electronic engineering) with workplace experience


– Bachelor of Science (BSc) in aeronautical engineering

Critical and scarce skills:

– Pilots, Air Traffic Controllers, Aircraft Maintenance Engineers

– Avionics Engineers

– Aircraft and Avionics Technicians

Qualifications you will require:

(due to the wide range of career choices in this sector, qualifications are widely varied)

– BCom (transport economics)

– NDip (Eng)

– BEng

– BTech Engineering: Civil (transportation)

– BTech Transportation Management

– Bachelor of Science in engineering (BSc (Eng))

– Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng)

– MSc Eng

– PhD

– National Diploma

– National Certificate (Vocational)

– Nated (Technical) National Certificate linked to specific trade – e.g. N4 – N6 Engineering studies

– Apprenticeship after minimum grade nine, with a minimum age of 16, with National Trade Test certificate

Choose these subjects at school:

– Maths

– Physical science

– English

– Computer applications technology or IT often beneficial

Useful contacts:

– Department of Transport

Directorate Capacity Development:

Tel: 012 309 3299/ 3981/ 36


– Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS)

Tel: 011 607 1000


– South African Civil Aviation Authority

Tel: 011 545 1000


– South African Air Force


SAPS Air Wing


– Air Traffic & Navigation Services

Tel: 0860 286720


Professional Bodies

– Transport Education and Training Authority

Tel: 011 577 7000


– South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF)

Tel: 011 455 1726


– Engineering Council of South Africa

Tel: 011 607 9500