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Become A Flight Technician

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Working As A Flight Technician

  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Getting Information
  • Documenting/Recording Information
  • Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information
  • Deal with People

  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • $61,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Flight Technician Do

Aerospace engineering and operations technicians operate and maintain equipment used in testing new aircraft and spacecraft. Increasingly, these workers are being required to program and run computer simulations that test new designs. Their work is critical in preventing the failure of key parts of new aircraft, spacecraft, and missiles. They also help in the quality assurance, testing, and operation of advanced technology equipment used in producing aircraft and the systems that go into the aircraft.

Duties

Aerospace engineering and operations technicians typically do the following:

  • Meet with aerospace engineers to discuss details and implications of test procedures
  • Build and maintain test facilities for aircraft systems
  • Make and install parts and systems to be tested in test equipment
  • Operate and calibrate computer systems so that they comply with test requirements
  • Ensure that test procedures are performed smoothly and safely
  • Record data from test parts and assemblies
  • Install instruments in aircraft and spacecraft
  • Monitor and ensure quality in producing systems that go into the aircraft 

New aircraft designs undergo years of testing before they are put into service, because the failure of key parts during flight can be fatal. As part of the job, technicians often calibrate test equipment, such as wind tunnels, and determine the causes of equipment malfunctions. They also may program and run computer simulations that test the new designs.

Some aerospace engineering and operations technicians are beginning to specialize in three-dimensional printing, or additive manufacturing, as this technology becomes more common in the work they do.

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How To Become A Flight Technician

Many employers prefer to hire aerospace engineering and operations technicians who have earned an associate’s degree in engineering technology. Prospective technicians also may earn certificates or diplomas offered by vocational or technical schools. Some aerospace engineering and operations technicians must have security clearances to work on projects related to national defense. U.S. citizenship may be required for certain types and levels of clearances.

Education

High school students interested in becoming aerospace engineering and operations technicians should take classes in math, science, and, if available, drafting and computer skills. Courses that help students develop skills working with their hands also are valuable, because these technicians build what aerospace engineers design. In addition, technicians should have a basic understanding of computers and programs in order to model or simulate products.

Aerospace engineering and operations technicians typically need to earn an associate’s degree or a graduate certificate from a community college or vocational–technical school. Community colleges offer programs similar to those in technical institutes but include more theory-based and liberal arts coursework and programs. Community colleges typically award an associate’s degree. Vocational–technical schools include postsecondary public institutions that emphasize training needed by local employers. Students who complete these programs typically receive a diploma or certificate.

The Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET accredits programs that include at least college algebra, trigonometry, and basic science courses.

Many vocational and community colleges offer cooperative programs with work experience built into the curriculum.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Aerospace engineering and operations technicians receive instructions from aerospace engineers. Therefore, they must be able to understand and follow those instructions, as well as communicate any problems to their supervisors.

Critical-thinking skills. Aerospace engineering and operations technicians must be able to help aerospace engineers troubleshoot particular design issues. They must be able to help evaluate system capabilities, identify problems, formulate the right question, and then find the right answer.

Detail oriented. Aerospace engineering and operations technicians make and keep precise measurements needed by aerospace engineers. Consequently, they must make correct measurements and keep accurate records.

Interpersonal skills. Aerospace engineering and operations technicians must be able to take instructions and offer advice. The ability to work well with supervising engineers, other technicians, and mechanics is essential because technicians interact with people from other divisions, businesses, and governments.

Math skills. Aerospace engineering and operations technicians use the principles of mathematics for analysis, design, and troubleshooting tasks in their work.

Mechanical skills. Aerospace engineering and operations technicians must be able to assist aerospace engineers by building what the engineers design. Mechanical skills are needed to help with the processes and directions required to move from design to production.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although not required for the job, certification is offered by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Certification may be beneficial because it shows employers that a technician can carry out the theoretical designs of aerospace engineers.

Both companies and the FAA seek to ensure the highest standards for the safety of the aircraft. SpaceTEC, the National Science Foundation’s Center for Aerospace Technical Education, coordinates a nationwide program through community and technical colleges to help students prepare for certification.

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Top Skills for A Flight Technician

  1. Preventative Maintenance
  2. Flight Simulators
  3. Flight Training Devices
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Performed preventative maintenance on satellite communications equipment.
  • Perform preventive maintenance on digital flight simulators and associated hardware including all aspects, operation, maintenance and inspection.
  • Maintained flight training devices/simulators in order to confirm their operational readiness.
  • Performed maintenance and inspection on five different types of visual systems, including Vital IV, VII, VIII & IX,
  • Advised technicians on methods of resolving troubleshooting problems and repairing difficult system malfunctions.

Flight Technician Demographics

Gender

Male

82.1%

Female

9.5%

Unknown

8.3%
Ethnicity

White

61.5%

Hispanic or Latino

16.3%

Black or African American

12.5%

Asian

6.3%

Unknown

3.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

50.0%

Portuguese

25.0%

Carrier

25.0%

Flight Technician Education

Schools

Community College of the Air Force

24.1%

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Daytona Beach

12.0%

University of Phoenix

10.8%

ITT Technical Institute-Arnold

4.8%

Westmoreland County Community College

3.6%

ECPI University

3.6%

North Carolina State University

3.6%

Vincennes University

3.6%

Southern Polytechnic State University

3.6%

University of Oklahoma

3.6%

University of Oregon

3.6%

Meridian Community College

3.6%

Rose State College

2.4%

Central Texas College

2.4%

San Jose State University

2.4%

College of Southern Maryland

2.4%

Sierra College

2.4%

Thomas Edison State University

2.4%

Liberty University

2.4%

Western Oklahoma State College

2.4%
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Majors

Business

14.2%

Electrical Engineering

12.9%

Electrical Engineering Technology

11.7%

Aviation

10.4%

Automotive Technology

7.1%

Aerospace Engineering

5.8%

Computer Science

5.4%

Criminal Justice

4.2%

Information Technology

3.8%

Management

3.3%

Engineering

3.3%

General Studies

2.5%

Project Management

2.5%

Nursing

2.1%

Liberal Arts

2.1%

Computer Information Systems

2.1%

Drafting And Design

1.7%

Fire Science And Protection

1.7%

Graphic Design

1.7%

Computer Networking

1.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

31.3%

Other

27.3%

Associate

25.0%

Masters

9.8%

Certificate

4.3%

Diploma

1.7%

Doctorate

0.6%
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