Aircraft assemblers must posses mathematical, welding, and blueprint reading skills. They require only a high school diploma and usually receive on-the-job training. The job outlook for these positions will decline during the next decade.
The aircraft and aerospace industries continue to employ talented assemblers who understand the precision work needed to complete an aircraft's construction. An aircraft assembler must be knowledgeable of the mathematical and engineering principles, along with the mechanical methods needed to assemble a viable aircraft. Most aircraft assemblers have high school diplomas and receive on-the-job training.
|Required Education||High school diploma; on-the-job training|
|Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)*||-22%|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$53,340|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Job Description of an Aircraft Assembler
Aircraft assemblers use manufacturer's engineering blueprints as a guide to assemble different types of aircraft. Mostly, they work with the metal shell which comprises the aircraft's fuselage and wings, but they may also work with the many mechanisms that are needed to complete construction. Prospective aircraft assemblers must have an understanding of mathematics and aviation engineering principles, but also be adept at welding technology and other tools used in metal working. A high school diploma plus technical training and experience is often needed in order to secure a position in this industry.
Employment for this profession is found at both large and small aircraft manufacturing plants. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for aircraft structure, surfaces, rigging and systems assemblers is expected to decrease rapidly from 2018-2028 (www.bls.gov). As of May 2018, the mean wage for aircraft assemblers was $55,530 per year.
Education Requirements of an Aircraft Assembler
The first step to becoming an aircraft assembler is to earn a high school diploma. In high school, students can take elective courses such as engineering, where students can learn about manufacturing principles and applications like understanding blueprints. Many high schools offer trade electives, where students can increase their understanding of working with different materials. There is also the opportunity to learn about the correct usage of many different power and hand tools.
Aircraft assembler employers may require applicants to have experience with welding, reading blueprints and working with sheet metal. Many small colleges and technical schools offer certificate programs in welding. Courses prepare students to become proficient in basic metal arc welding, oxyacetylene welding, brazing, gas metal welding, fabrication and shielded metal welding. Other pertinent courses include industrial math, blueprint reading and maintaining a safe workplace. Some schools also offer instruction on leadership skills, human relations and improving the chances for employment after graduation.
New aircraft assembly employees usually undergo a training program, to learn a manufacturer's specifications and work practices. Because aviation technology is always changing, companies continue to educate their employees. Talented individuals can also move upward to be a quality or safety inspector, or as a supervisor or manager.
Aircraft assemblers can train at a vocational high school, take vocational classes during high school, or take courses at a community college. New employees usually receive training from their employer and can expect continuing training as technology changes. The median annual salary for these positions is about $53,000.