Career Definition for an Aviation Technologist
Aviation technologists primarily perform two types of work: constructing new aircraft and repairing damaged parts in older planes. Those who do repair airplanes are often called aviation maintenance technicians. Aviation technologists are not limited to specific parts of aircraft, but in fact work on all parts of many different types of aircraft, including helicopters and blimps. Aviation technologists may be required to test electrical instruments in the cockpits, interpret data in order to determine problems with flight equipment or install key components into aircraft using a wide variety of tools and machines. Aviation technologists who work on the repair and maintenance of aircraft must be able to measure parts for wear and replace them accordingly, diagnose mechanical components and keep accurate records for repaired aircraft.
|Education||Certificate in aviation maintenance|
|Job Skills||Communication, technical, detail oriented, dexterity|
|Median Salary (2017)||$61,020 (all aircraft mechanics and service technicians)|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)||5% (all aircraft mechanics and service technicians)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Many schools offer programs that train aviation technologists to build and repair aircraft; some programs even require experience piloting aircraft. Many schools offer programs that prepare students to become aviation maintenance technicians, and some are members of the Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC). Programs typically may be completed in 18-24 months. Following graduation, individuals must be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration before working as aviation technologists. More advanced awards in this field include an associate's degree in aviation technology or aviation flight technology, a bachelor's degree in aviation technology and a master's degree in aviation technology. Students in aviation technology programs can expect to take classes in mechanics, physics and engineering; some programs also require that students obtain a pilot's license for graduation so that they are able to test the aircraft on which they have worked.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that aviation technologists must possess the following traits:
- Passion and aptitude for mechanics
- Knowledge of computers and complicated software programs
- Communication skills and the ability to explain mechanical issues to those who might not be familiar with industry vernacular
- Detail-oriented personalities
- Manual dexterity, physical strength and agility
Employment and Salary Outlook
The BLS reported that the field of aircraft mechanics and service technicians was expected to grow 5% from 2016-2026. The median annual salary for these workers was $61,020 as of May 2017.