Flight engineers must undergo considerable education and training. Although a high school diploma is the minimum requirement, almost all employers expect at least two years of college education. This profession also requires a license through a regulatory agency. In the United States, flight engineers must be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Similar licenses are offered in several other countries. To obtain this type of certification, prospective applicants are required to have finished a two-year course in aircraft and engine maintenance. These courses come with written exams which focus on weather effects, engine performance, flight theory and maintenance procedures. An in-flight exam is also required, which tests the candidate's ability to effectively handle emergencies.
In addition to sufficient training and aircraft expertise, applicants must also be physically ready. They must be medically approved for the job. Excellent eyesight, full color vision, sufficient hearing and no lung or heart problems are a necessity.
Successful flight engineers need several other skills too. They must be acute problem solvers and have the ability to interpret scenarios with little information. They should be very observant and patient, taking the time to check all systems thoroughly. Finally, they must handle high pressure situations well, in case of emergency.