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Job Description for an Aeronautic Technician
Aeronautic technicians include airframe mechanics, power-plant mechanics, combined airframe and power-plant mechanics (commonly known as A&P mechanics) and avionics technicians. Some aeronautic technicians perform regularly scheduled inspection, repair and testing on aircraft as required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Others investigate problems reported by crewmembers that pertain to a plane's mechanical functions and/or safety concerns. Still, other aeronautic technicians work only on particular types of aircraft, such as jets, propeller planes or helicopters. Aeronautic technicians' tools include precision instruments to measure parts for wear, X-rays to find hidden defects and welding tools to repair sheet metal.
|Education||FAA-approved training programs|
|Licensing||Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) certification|
|Job Skills||Sense of responsibility, detail-oriented, reading and writing comprehension, problem-solving, technical skills, physical strength|
|Median Pay (May 2017)*||$61,260 (for aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians)|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)*||5% (for aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
Most aeronautic technicians are trained through FAA-approved programs, which require students to become familiar with the tools and materials used in the field. Academic programs that lead to careers as aeronautic technicians can range from 18-month training options to 4-year bachelor's degree programs. Typical courses include aircraft applied science, sheet-metal aircraft structures, welding, landing gear, gas-turbine engines, electronics, math and physics.
The FAA requires that all individuals who work on aircraft be certified; those who are not certified must be supervised by a certified mechanic. Although the FAA offers a few different certifications, the majority of employers prefer to hire someone who holds a combined Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) certificate. In order to qualify for the certification exam, which consists of written, oral and practical components, applicants must speak English fluently, be at least 18 years old and have at least 30 months of supervised experience working on aircraft.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that aeronautic technicians must hold the following traits:
- Good sense of responsibility, since these workers must safeguard human life
- Detail-oriented personality
- Reading and writing skills to understand precise directions and draft concise, accurate reports
- Physical strength, agility and no fear of heights
- Problem-solving and technical skills
Employment and Salary Outlook
Aeronautic technicians may experience below-average job growth in the coming years due to an increase in the outsourcing of work in the field. According to the BLS, the employment growth for aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians was projected to be about 5% from 2016-2026. As of May 2017, the median annual pay for these mechanics and technicians was $61,260, as reported by the BLS.