Since 1967, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has investigated all civil aviation accidents in the United States as well as accidents that occur on highways, rail systems, pipelines, or waterways. Though it used to be part of the Department of Transportation (DOT), since 1975 the NTSB has been an independent agency separate from the FAA and the U.S. Department of Transportation. Occasionally the NTSB works with other government agencies during the course of an accident investigation. The NTSB also makes suggestions to the FAA and other government agencies regarding new safety laws or regulations that they feel may be important in light of an investigation. For example, if the NTSB determines that some aircraft are prone to a particular type of system failure, they may suggest to the FAA that regular inspections on those systems be made mandatory.
To date, the NTSB has performed more than 124,000 aviation accidents. Because accidents can occur at any time, the NTSB is always on call. At any hour of the day and on any day of the year, NTSB personnel may be dispatched to locations anywhere in the United States or the rest of the world whenever an aviation accident is reported. The NTSB also works with other countries to improve those countries’ safety records and aviation regulations. The NTSB’s website is located at www.ntsb.gov/ and there it lists current information about the agency, including laws and regulations that may affect employment at the NTSB.
Applying for NTSB Jobs
Hiring for the NTSB is done through an outside agency. At the NTSB career page, you can search through the currently available jobs and apply online. Detailed information about each job is provided, and you can get a clear idea about which positions you qualify for.
Many NTSB jobs are well paying, and you can easily earn six figures a year. However, most of these jobs are highly technical in nature, and require relevant work experience or university degrees in specialized areas such as physical or mechanical engineering.
If you are currently an undergraduate or graduate student who is studying an applicable field or you have an aviation background, you may qualify for an internship at NTSB. Though these positions are unpaid, they provide hands-on work experience that will improve your chances of being hired for a paid position after you graduate.
Because it would be a conflict of interest, applicants who have a vested interest in aviation-related industries are usually disqualified. For example, if you own stock in a commercial airline, the NTSB will probably not want to hire you. Consult with the agency before applying for a job to determine if this applies in your situation.