You Might Be an Aircraft Mechanic If…

You Might Be an Aircraft Mechanic If… | AIM

What is something that all aircraft mechanics have in common? A passion for aircraft, as well as a desire to know how things work, especially airplanes. If you enjoy a mechanical puzzle, fast-paced work, and the satisfaction of seeing tangible results from hard work, then a career in aviation might be for you. How can you know if being an aircraft mechanic is a good fit? You might be an aircraft mechanic if:

  • You really love airplanes.
  • You have mechanical aptitude.
  • You enjoy learning about how things work.
  • You’re fascinated by the experience of flight.
  • The idea of being able to fix something that can go hurtling through the air at over 500 miles per hour is appealing to you.
  • You find the challenge of working in different weather conditions and diverse environments exciting.
  • You’ve considered being an auto mechanic but find airplanes even more interesting than cars.

A career in aviation maintenance sounds glamorous to some, or like too much hard work to others. It definitely has its glory moments, when a plane load of stranded passengers cheers you for fixing their plane, when a pilot sincerely thanks you for making sure they can get off the ground, or when you can stand back and look at a gleaming airliner and know that you’re the reason it’s in shape to fly. But like every career, it’s not without its pitfalls: sometimes you’ll have to change an airplane tire on the cold tarmac in the driving rain or diagnose an electrical problem in freezing weather. Those moments are worth it if you truly love aviation though.

What does becoming an aircraft mechanic entail? How much do aircraft mechanics make? What sort of schooling or certification is required? Despite being a fairly straightforward career, there are a lot of options when it comes to where to work, what you’ll be doing, and how much you’ll make. Here’s a basic rundown of the options that exist in aviation to help you navigate your career choices.

How To Become An Aircraft Mechanic

Top earners in the aviation maintenance field will do best to get their A&P license. The Airframe and Powerplant license is a certification granted by the FAA that enables you to legally sign off your work on all aircraft that fly in US airspace. Most A&P school programs will combine an associates degree with the airframe and powerplant training.

This certification is required by all airlines and most general aviation operators to work as a mechanic on their aircraft. There are still some outposts where you can work as a technician’s assistant or apprentice without the A&P license but there will be limits to your earning potential and job finding capabilities without this certification. You can also increase your earning potential in aviation by adding other certifications on such as a special certification in Avionics or special training on aircraft types such as helicopters or aircraft systems.

Where You Can Expect To Work

Aircraft mechanics find work in a surprisingly diverse number of locations. The most frequently thought of position is working for the airlines maintaining their passenger carrying fleet. But you can also find work in general aviation maintaining private aircraft like Lear jets or those who are so inclined can join the proud ranks of the military to repair fighter jets and surveillance equipment. Other options in aviation maintenance include working for major manufacturers like Boeing who hire A&P mechanics to inspect their finished product to FAA standards. Shipping companies like FedEx and UPS need aircraft mechanics to keep their packages moving swiftly, and the FAA employs licensed mechanics to inspect airport and general aviation operations.

How Much Do Aircraft Mechanics Make

Just as there is a lot of variation in where you can work, there is a large range in earning capabilities. The median salary for a licensed aircraft mechanic is $55,230 annually, but those just starting out, or those working without a license can expect to earn as little as $35,000 while experienced mechanics can make as much as $80,000 a year working for the bigger airlines or in private aviation. As well as experience and industry, location can play a factor in how much you can expect to earn as well.

If aviation fascinates you, and you think you would enjoy the challenges and rewards of this exciting career, find out more about becoming an aircraft mechanic.

Related Article: How to Get a Job as an Aircraft Mechanic

For more information about aviation maintenance training, the Aviation Institute of Maintenance Aircraft Mechanic School Programs is where you can learn more. Visit our Consumer Information Disclosure page, Gainful Employment Disclosure and Consumer Information.

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