Aircraft Mechanic have a big job. There's an emphasis on big because have you seen how big airplanes are? As an aircraft mechanic, you'll be responsible for repairing and providing scheduled maintenance on aircraft.
A lot of aircraft hang out near the airport, but where you'll actually be working could vary. Some work in hangars, others on the airfield. There's several ways you could become an aircraft mechanic. The majority learn through a Federal Aviation Administration approved aviation maintenance technician school. A few learn on-the-job. Some receive their training through the military. Whatever way you decide, just know there is no right way to becoming an aircraft mechanic.
Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians repair and perform scheduled maintenance on aircraft. They also perform aircraft inspections as required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Many aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians learn their trade at an FAA-approved aviation maintenance technician school. Others enter with a high school education or equivalent and are trained on the job. Some workers enter the occupation after getting training in the military. Aircraft mechanics and avionics technicians typically are certified by the FAA. See Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 65, subparts D and E, for the most current requirements for becoming a certified mechanic.Education and Training
Aircraft mechanics and service technicians often enter the occupation after attending a Part 147 FAA-approved aviation maintenance technician school. These schools award a certificate of completion that the FAA recognizes as an alternative to the experience requirements stated in regulations. The schools also grant holders the right to take the relevant FAA exams.
Some aircraft mechanics and service technicians enter the occupation with a high school diploma or equivalent and receive on-the-job training to learn their skills and to be able to pass the FAA exams. Other workers enter the occupation after getting training in the military. Aviation maintenance personnel who are not certified by the FAA work under supervision until they have enough experience and knowledge and become certified.
Avionics technicians typically earn an associate’s degree before entering the occupation. Aircraft controls, systems, and flight instruments have become increasingly digital and computerized. Maintenance workers who have the proper background in aviation flight instruments or computer repair are needed to maintain these complex systems.Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Although aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians are not required to get licenses or certifications, most do, because these credentials often improve a mechanic’s wages and chances for employment. The FAA requires that aircraft maintenance be done either by a certified mechanic with the appropriate ratings or authorizations or under the supervision of such a mechanic.
The FAA offers separate certifications for bodywork (Airframe mechanics, or “A”) and engine work (Powerplant mechanics, or “P”), but employers may prefer to hire mechanics who have both Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) ratings. The A&P ratings generally certify that aviation mechanics meet basic knowledge and ability standards.
Mechanics must be at least 18 years of age, be fluent in English, and have 30 months of experience to qualify for either the A or the P rating or both (the A&P rating). If only one rating is sought by the mechanic, 18 months’ experience is required to take either the Airframe or the Powerplant exam. However, completion of a program at a Part 147 FAA-approved aviation maintenance technician school can substitute for the experience requirement and shorten the time requirements for becoming eligible to take the FAA exams.
Applicants must pass written, oral, and practical exams that demonstrate the required skills. Candidates must pass all the tests within a timeframe of 2 years.
To keep their certification, mechanics must have completed relevant repair or maintenance work within the previous 24 months. To fulfill this requirement, mechanics may take classes from their employer, a school, or an aircraft manufacturer.
Avionics technicians typically are certified through a repair station for the specific work being done, or else they hold the Airframe rating to work on an aircraft’s electronic and flight instrument systems. An Aircraft Electronics Technician (AET) certification is available through the National Center for Aerospace & Transportation Technologies (NCATT). It certifies that aviation mechanics have a basic level of knowledge in the subject area, but it is not required by the FAA for any specific tasks. Avionics technicians who work on communications equipment may need to have the proper radiotelephone operator certification issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
Other licenses and certifications are available to mechanics who wish to increase their skill set or advance their careers. The Inspection Authorization (IA) is available to mechanics who have had their A&P ratings for at least 3 years and meet other requirements. These mechanics are able to sign off on many major repairs and alterations. Mechanics can get numerous other certifications, such as Repairmen of light-sport aircraft and Designated Airworthiness Representative (DAR).Important Qualities
Strength and agility. Mechanics and technicians may need to carry or move heavy equipment or aircraft parts. They may need to climb on airplanes, balance, and reach without falling.
Detail oriented. Mechanics and technicians need to adjust airplane parts to exact specifications. For example, they often use precision tools to tighten wheel bolts to an exact tension.
Dexterity. Mechanics and technicians must possess dexterity to coordinate the movement of their fingers and hands in order to grasp, manipulate, or assemble parts.
Observational skills. Mechanics and technicians must recognize engine noises, read gauges, and collect other information to determine whether an aircraft’s systems are working properly.
Troubleshooting skills. Mechanics and technicians diagnose complex problems, and they need to evaluate options to correct those problems.Work Experience in a Related Occupation
Avionics technicians may begin their careers as aircraft mechanics and service technicians. As aircraft mechanics and service technicians gain experience, they may study independently, attend formal classes, or otherwise choose to pursue additional certifications that grant privileges to work on specialized flight instruments. Eventually, they may become dedicated avionics technicians who work exclusively on flight instruments.Advancement
As aircraft mechanics gain experience, they may advance to lead mechanic, lead inspector, or shop supervisor. Opportunities are best for those who have an inspection authorization (IA). Many specialist certifications are available that allow mechanics to do a wider variety of repairs and alterations.
Mechanics with broad experience in maintenance and repair might become inspectors or examiners for the FAA.
Additional business and management training may help aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians open their own maintenance facility.
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The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 12.8% of Aircraft Mechanics listed Hand Tools on their resume, but soft skills such as Detail oriented and Dexterity are important as well.
Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as an Aircraft Mechanic. The best states for people in this position are Alaska, Rhode Island, Hawaii, and Virginia. Aircraft Mechanics make the most in Alaska with an average salary of $80,743. Whereas in Rhode Island and Hawaii, they would average $71,976 and $67,883, respectively. While Aircraft Mechanics would only make an average of $67,569 in Virginia, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.
Yes, aircraft mechanics make good money. The median annual salary for an aircraft mechanic is just over $67,000 in a year. The average hourly wage for an aircraft mechanic is just over $32 per hour.
The top-paying specialty for mechanics is aircraft mechanic. Aircraft mechanics are charged with keeping aircraft of all sizes in good working order. They must complete inspections as directed under Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines and perform scheduled maintenance checks and repairs.
Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, and the number of years a person has spent in the profession.
Aircraft mechanics (sometimes also called aviation mechanics or aviation technicians) are trained experts who diagnose, troubleshoot, and repair airplane engines, systems, and technology.
Therefore, aircraft mechanics with a bachelor's degree and multiple years of experience in their field can earn significantly more than someone just starting their career and only has an associate's degree.
The amount that an aircraft mechanic can make is also largely dependent on their priorities and skill set. If the person works hard and grows the knowledge and skills needed to perform the job well, they will make more money.
It typically takes two to four years to become an aircraft mechanic. This is because a career as an aircraft mechanic will require an associate degree. However, some employers may prefer aircraft mechanics with bachelor's-level training in aircraft mechanical technology.
Aircraft mechanics must also have a license from the Air Transportation Office (ATO) before performing their duties. The licensing process includes written examinations and panel interviews, where a longer study period in an aviation-related field is an advantage.
The rules stipulate a practicum or on-the-job experience in an authorized aircraft maintenance or repair station for aircraft mechanics. Because of the job's technical requirements, new entrants to the workforce need to familiarize themselves with the equipment and must have a theoretical and practical knowledge of the job.
Employers typically look for applicants with postsecondary training, including an associate's degree in aircraft technology. An associate degree program normally takes two years to complete, and graduates should be prepared to install, maintain, and perform tests on aircraft's mechanical systems.
Those preparing to enter this line of work as quickly as possible should strive to gain hands-on experience through an internship alongside their associate's degree. It is also a good idea to consider earning a bachelor's degree to advance in the field.