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Be an Aircraft Repairman: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Research the requirements to become an aircraft repairman. Learn about the job description and duties, and see the step-by-step process to start a career in aircraft maintenance. View article »

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  • 0:01 Aircraft Repairman Career Info
  • 1:00 Earn a Degree
  • 1:37 Gain Experience
  • 1:57 Earn Certification

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Video Transcript

Aircraft Repairman Career Info

Degree Level Associate's degree; bachelor's degree
Degree Field Aviation technology, avionics, or aviation maintenance management
Licensure/Certification Certification is required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
Experience Individuals who have not completed a FAA-approved program must have related experience to earn certification
Key Skills Detail-oriented; agility and troubleshooting skills; familiarity with analytical, query and facilities management software; strong manual dexterity and ability to use equipment such as metal cutters, nail sets, and screwdrivers
Salary $58,390 (2015 median salary)

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Payscale.com, O*NET Online

Aircraft repairmen, also known as aircraft mechanics, work to ensure that planes are operating properly. They run maintenance tests and make repairs to specialized equipment.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate of injuries and illnesses for aircraft repairmen is higher than the average occupation due to heavy lifting, working in uncomfortable positions and dealing with chemicals. Stress is also high because of important deadlines and imperative accordance with safety guidelines. Aircraft repairmen should typically be detail-oriented and familiar with analytical, query and facilities management software. They should also have agility, troubleshooting skills, strong manual dexterity and the ability to use equipment and tools.

These professionals earned a median annual salary of $58,390 in 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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Earn a Degree

Some FAA-approved aviation maintenance schools award degrees in aviation technology and related fields. Aspiring aircraft repairmen may earn a two- or four-year degree and take courses such as aviation electricity, physics, aircraft structures and engine troubleshooting. Candidates who have earned a bachelor's degree are increasingly preferred by employers.

In these programs, more emphasis is being placed on the technology used in new airplanes. Aircraft repairmen need a strong foundation in electronics and composite materials to keep up with technical advances.

Gain Experience

Individuals who haven't graduated from an aviation maintenance technician school must meet the experience requirements needed to become certified. Aspiring aircraft repairmen can meet these requirements by working at an FAA repair station for a specified amount of time or joining the military and getting training in aircraft maintenance.

Earn Certification

In order to perform aircraft maintenance, individuals must be certified or work under the supervision of a certified mechanic. Most employers prefer to hire candidates who have a combined Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) certificate, though the FAA offers separate airframe mechanics and engine mechanics certifications. Along with earning a degree from an FAA-approved aviation maintenance technician school or meeting the necessary experience requirements, candidates must pass written, oral and practical tests to gain certification. In order to maintain the certification, aircraft repairmen need to have a minimum number of work hours and take continuing education courses. Earning and maintaining certifications may enhance career advancement and produce future job opportunities for aircraft repairmen.

To quickly recap, aircraft repairmen might find better career opportunities if they complete an associate's or bachelor's degree in aviation technology or a related field. However, those who do not complete such a program are required to complete supervised training to gain certification.

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