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 in the manufacture, testing and maintenance of air and space vehicles. An associate's degree is most commonly required, and FAA certification is an option to validate your skills. Job growth is this field is slow, but salaries are competitive.

Essential Information

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 (2014-2024)* 4%
Median Salary (2015)* $66,180 annually

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Occupational Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), aerospace engineering and operations technicians are expected to see 4% growth from 2014-2024 (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.

Salary Information

In 2015, aerospace engineering and operations technicians earned a median annual salary of $66,180 annually, according to BLS data. The technicians at the bottom 10% of industry earnings made $39,560 or less per year, while those in the top 10% made $99,090 or more. Aerospace product parts and manufacturing companies were the largest employers of aerospace technicians in May 2015, employing around 4,340 workers, while the scheduled air transportation industry staffed just 400 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.

Education Information

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.

Career Information

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.

Aerospace technicians perform manufacturing and maintenance jobs on aircraft and can work in many industries. An associate's degree is the most common education requirement. Job growth is projected to be slow in this field through 2024, and the median salary was $66,180 in 2015.

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