The increase in the popularity of air travel and an increase in the number of airlines coming up every year has made aircraft maintenance a lucrative career path. There is a high demand for the services of aircraft mechanics and this demand is projected to increase by 14% in 2026. Some of the things to know when starting out a career as an aircraft mechanic are how to become an aircraft mechanic and how much people in the field make.
What is an Aircraft Mechanic
An aircraft mechanic is a technician that handles the repairs and maintenance of aircraft. Aircraft in this context include airplane, helicopter, and other air vehicles. An aircraft mechanic is also known as an aircraft maintenance technician. The aircraft maintenance technician also carries out inspections on air vehicles to ensure complete compliance with Federal Aviation laws.
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How to Become an Aircraft Mechanic
Step 1: Earn a High School Diploma
There is no stipulated formal educational requirement needed to become an aircraft mechanic. The main focus is on getting practical experience in the field. It is advisable to earn at least a high school diploma when starting a career as an aircraft mechanic.
Step 2: Enroll for an Apprenticeship Program
As mentioned earlier, the focus is on practical experience not formal or academic requirements. The next step is to enroll in an apprenticeship program. The apprenticeship program is usually an 18 months program where you get to spend time working on airplanes and power plants. Note that the apprenticeship program must be under a certified aircraft mechanic.
Step 3: Enroll in an Aviation Technical School
Another alternative for persons that don’t want to go through the apprenticeship program is to enroll in an aviation technical school. There are quite a number of aviation tech schools that offer training for prospective aircraft mechanics in the country. The school must be accredited by the Federal Aviation Administration FAA.
Step 4: Go Certifications
Certifications are very important in aircraft maintenance. There are a number of certification programs offered by FAA. For instance, to start aircraft inspection and recommendation, you must have the mechanics certificate or repairman’s certificate from FAA. To get these certificates, you have to undergo a written, practical and oral test.
There are other criteria like age limit which is 18 years for prospective aircraft mechanics.
Aircraft Mechanics Job Description
The summary of the job description of an aircraft mechanic is to carry out repairs of air vehicles. The breakdown of the job description of an aircraft mechanic includes the following
- Schedule timely repairs for aircraft
- Carry out an inspection to ascertain the level of repairs needed
- Make proper repairs
- Change old parts with new functional parts
- Make recommendations for change or upgrades when necessary
Career Opportunities for an Aircraft Mechanic
An aircraft mechanic can opt to specialize in helicopter or airplane maintenance. There is also an option to further specialize in air vehicles with a particular build. For instance, you can opt to specialize in repairs of airplanes with electrical systems or hydraulics.
Where Can an Aircraft Mechanic Work
Aircraft maintenance is a specialized career field and there is a limit to the number of places an aircraft mechanic can work. An aircraft mechanic can work in a hangar or an airfield and these are most times owned by private organizations. Other air mechanics can opt to work in a government agency.
Aircraft Mechanics Salary: How Much Do Aircraft Mechanics Make
The amount an aircraft mechanic makes depends on factors like years of experience in the field, employer and area of specialization. The median or average salary of an aircraft mechanic is $51,000. The top 10% earn as much as $67,000 while the lowest 10% earn $44,000.
How Much Do Aircraft Mechanics Make Per Hour
The amount aircraft mechanics make per hour varies as a result of a number of factors. The hourly pay of an aircraft mechanic starts from $21 per hour and can go as high as $33 per hour.
Note: These salary figures are approximates based upon third-party submissions to BreanchCareers. These figures are given to Breanch-Careers users for generalized comparison only. The amount may differ by Jurisdiction.