Sep 21, 2017

How to Become a Purser

The airline and ship industries are very complex and require a variety of professionals to handle passenger matters. Pursers are trained professionals that assist passengers and handle important financial matters on airlines and ships.

What does a purser do?

Pursers provide essential service to make sure all passengers that are aboard aircraft and ships are comfortable and safe. Airline purses are often called lead flight attendants and they manage flight attendants, ensure all baggage is safely stored, and meet the needs of passengers. They make sure that safety procedures are enforced at all times. Airline pursers are also responsible for completing detailed flight reports. Ship pursers typically work on major cruise ships and they supervise the ship attendants, help passengers prepare necessary paperwork such as customs declarations, and handle payroll and freight documentation tasks. They are also responsible for keeping belongings and money that are stored in the safe or safety deposit boxes on the ship secure.


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What kind of training does a purser need?

Airline and ship pursers must have at least a high school diploma. Many airlines require pursers to complete formal training programs approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Many employers prefer ship pursers to have previous travel or tourism experience. Some ship pursers attend maritime training schools. Employers of both airline and ship pursers typically provide on the job training to enable new pursers to learn the necessary policies and procedure. Pursers must learn the required regulations and duties, proper safety procedures, emergency procedures, first aid administration, passenger relations, and a variety of other topics. The length of training depends on the size of the airline or ship company. All airline purses must be certified by the FAA.

What are the prospects for a career as a purser?

Employment of pursers is expected to grow about as fast as average for all professions, increasing 8% through 2018 (1). The growing population and increased need for purser services on commercial aircraft and ships will drive job growth.

Job prospects are expected to be good with strong competition. Pursers with advanced training and extensive experience will have the best job opportunities. Many job openings will arise from the need to replace pursers that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do purser make?

As of 2012, the average annual salary for pursers is $62,000; average annual purser salaries vary greatly on location, industry, employer, education, experience, and benefits (2).

A career as a purser is a great choice for people with a strong interest in providing necessary services to passengers aboard aircraft and ships. Pursers must have a solid understanding of the policies and procedures of their employer. Patience, detail orientation, and dependability are necessary characteristics. Pursers must have excellent communication and ability to interact with a variety of passengers and other professionals. They must be able to make effective decisions and remain calm during stressful situations. 

Becoming a Purser Requires Skills & Training, Start Today

Are you serious about becoming a Purser? Then you need to get the required skills and training to do it! To start your new career, first you must decide what school you want to enroll in, so you need to gather info about potential schools. Use the College Mouse Degree Search tool to find the right course and college for you, and get started towards your new dream job today! After you sign up for your course, make sure you fill out and submit the FAFSA so you can take advantage of any financial aid currently available to you!


  1. Hi Lea, unless you are already working in the industry, it is unlikely that you will be able to get a flight purser job directly. The most common path to becoming a purser is to start out as a flight attendant, and then get promoted once you’ve proved yourself and demonstrated your leadership potential. To become a flight attendant, you will need to have completed high school and ideally a degree in any discipline. Having a degree in a marketing or customer service related area can be a plus, but is not required. Being fluent in more than one language is typically a big plus. Most airlines offer specific training to candidates once hired – so it’s typically not necessary to have attended any prior specialized training.

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