Aircraft Equipment Mechanics & Service Technicians

Earnings Potential



Median hourly earnings of aircraft mechanics and service technicians were about $21.77 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $17.82 and $27.18. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $13.99, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $33.84.

Facts at a glance

  • Most workers learn their job in 1 of about 170 schools certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
  • Job opportunities should be excellent for persons who have completed an aircraft mechanic training program, but keen competition is likely for the best paying airline jobs.
  • Job opportunities are likely to be the best at small commuter and regional airlines, at FAA repair stations, and in general aviation.

Summary of what this career entails

An aircraft and avionics service mechanic and technician perform scheduled maintenance, repair, and make inspections required by the Federal Aviation Administration. This is all done to make sure aircraft is at its best before it takes off. For the most part aircraft mechanics specialize in maintenance of the preventive nature. By inspecting aircraft engines, landing gear, instruments, pressurized sections, and accessories (ex: brakes, valves, and pumps), aircraft mechanics are able to secure the technical aspects of an aircraft.  Other mechanics may specialize in repair work, where he/she fixes a problem with a plane based on the pilot’s description of said problem. Specific titles include airframe mechanic, an individual that works on an aircrafts frame. A technician both repairs and maintains components used for aircraft navigation and radio communications among other things. 

Examples and or details of work

Aircraft inspections as mentioned above are scheduled based on factors such as how long the plane has been in the air, the number of days passed since the last inspection and the number of cycles of operations. The mentioned inspections are crucial because while the number of plane crashes is still relatively small, it is still widely feared amongst the general public. An inspector has the job of making sure that the pilot does not have those same fears and can go about flying his plane. Many inspectors or mechanics work for the Air Force.

Degrees that lead to this career

Degrees that lead to a career in Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Service Technicians include avionics, aviation technology, and aviation maintenance management. The mentioned concentratios are provided by the  170 schools certified by the FAA. Certified mechanic schools must offer students at least 1,900 class hours. The FAA requires ongoing training from employees because of the advances in aircraft. As times goes on the more advanced aircraft gets, because of that more training is needed. Mechanics are required every two years to take an additional 16 hours of training to keep his/her certificate. The courses are often offered by manufactures or employers.

Specific Career openings in this field

Specific career openings in this field include airframe mechanic, power plant mechanic, A & P mechanic, avionics technician, teacher (trainer), flight engineer, aerospace product and parts manufacturing, support activities, Federal Government, scheduled and non scheduled air transportation

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition, Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Service Technicians, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos179.htm 

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