Aviation Maintenance Technician: Job Description and Requirements

Sep 26, 2019

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an aviation maintenance technician. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about prerequisites, training and job responsibilities to find out if this is the career for you.

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Aviation maintenance technicians repair aircrafts to ensure they meet FAA regulations. They must have mechanical aptitude, often work outdoors and can work any shift. These positions require a high school diploma and certification.

Essential Information

Aviation maintenance technicians work under deadlines to inspect and maintain aircraft in accordance with FAA regulations and standards. It's the job of the aviation maintenance technician to ensure that the aircraft is in top working order and to then repair any problems before it leaves the ground. This career requires a specialized education.

Required Education FAA training or military experience
Other Requirements Certification
Projected Growth (2018-2028)* 3% for aircraft mechanics and service technicians*
Median Annual Salary (2018)* $62,920 for aircraft mechanics and service technicians*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Description for Aviation Maintenance Technicians

An aviation maintenance technician is expected to perform in shifts at any hour of the day or night. Overtime and weekend work is common for this job. When planes and helicopters land, they must be thoroughly checked prior to takeoff within a few hours of landing, regardless of the time. These technicians must be able to accomplish detailed tasks and record their work, often in a short amount of time. Aviation maintenance technicians must be able to keep a cool head in stressful conditions.

While many aviation maintenance technicians work in hangars, and a great deal of work is done outdoors. Military planes in the Air Force generally have maintenance work done inside, but a Navy aircraft carrier has no hangars. The technician must be able to work in all types of weather and at high noise levels. Technicians are required to wear protective gear such as noise-canceling headphones while working.

All aviation maintenance technicians must follow FAA guidelines. Some planes are now equipped with monitoring systems that give technicians easy access information; but most aircraft require the technician to climb ladders or crawl into tight spaces to visually inspect parts and make any repairs necessary. Aviation maintenance technicians must demonstrate high mechanical aptitude.

Aviation maintenance technicians work for commercial and private airlines, product and parts manufacturing companies, the military and repair stations. Those technicians with FAA A&P (airframe and powerplant) certification are expected to have greater opportunities for advancement than those with just airframe or powerplant certification. These aviation maintenance technicians may go on to become inspectors, supervisors or instructors.

Education and Training Requirements

Aviation maintenance technicians are required to have a high school diploma or GED certificate prior to enrolling in FAA-approved courses. Military experience in some specialty fields is considered equivalent to coursework by the FAA and prepares candidates for formal testing while providing valuable on the job experience and training. Classes range from 12-24 months.

On-the-job training experience is highly valued in this field. It is not, however, considered a substitute for certification. Most job postings require a minimum of 2-3 years' practical experience coupled with certification. The majority of employers for this field require employees to pass criminal background checks, and most of them also insist on drug screening.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

In May 2018, the BLS reported that aircraft mechanics and service technicians in the 90th percentile or higher earned $97,820 or more per year, whereas the bottom 10th percentile earned $36,760 or less per year. The BLS also states that aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians could expect an employment growth slower than the average from 2018-2028.

Aviation maintenance technicians require a high school diploma and certification. Certification entails completion of FAA-approved coursework and formal testing, although training in the military may count toward training. These positions have a job growth outlook that is slower than average, and the annual average salary is around $63,000.

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