Aerospace Technician: Occupational Outlook
Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an aerospace technician. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about schooling, job duties and certification to find out if this is the career for you.
Aerospace technicians work with aircrafts and spacecrafts, often in parts or manufacturing. Some of their duties may include testing aircraft systems, performing installations and repairs, checking the quality of aircraft systems and calibrating aircraft computer systems. An engineering technology associate's degree is usually needed to work as an aerospace technician, although there are some diploma and certificate programs available. Cooperative education is often used to provide practical training working with aircraft systems. Individuals may optionally seek Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification to further verify their skills.
|Required Education||Associate's degree in engineering technology|
|Certification||Optional FAA certification|
|Projected Job Growth (2012-2022)*||0%|
|Median Salary (2013)*||$62,680 annually|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), aerospace engineering and operations technicians are expected to see little or no job growth from 2012-2022 (www.bls.gov). However, the BLS does note that a considerable amount of retirements are expected in the field over the same decade, so some opportunities should be available.
In 2013, aerospace engineering and operations technicians earned a median annual salary of $62,680 annually, according to BLS data. The technicians at the bottom 10% of industry earnings made $39,010 or less per year, while those in the top 10% made $89,570 or more. Aerospace product parts and manufacturing companies were the largest employers of aerospace technicians in May 2013, employing around 4,250 workers, while the scheduled air transportation industry staffed just 350 technicians at that time. The BLS reported that individuals with education and experience will have more options in the job market than those that do not share those qualifications.
The education requirements of engineering technicians are not as rigorous as the requirements to become an engineer. The preferred degree program for potential technicians is an associate degree program in engineering or aerospace technology, which can be completed in two years. These programs usually emphasize hands-on learning in a laboratory or real-world setting. According to the BLS, many junior and community colleges, as well as vocational schools or technical institutes, offer such programs throughout the U.S.
Aerospace technicians work on air and spacecraft. They may work in every facet of production including construction, testing and maintenance; however, they typically specialize in one of those areas. For example, using special equipment and computers, an aerospace technician may regularly calibrate control systems, fix damaged landing gear or perform routine preventative maintenance.