How to Become an Aircraft Mechanic

Written by

Ray Grant Walden


August 14, 2014



Aircraft mechanics and Aviation Maintenance Technicians perform routine maintenance and required repairs on airplanes. They work in hangars, in repair stations, or on airfields for airline companies, such as Southwest and  American airlines, or with aircraft manufacturers, such as Boeing. Becoming an Aircraft Mechanic who earns a fair salary requires some training and even certification.  

What does an aircraft mechanic do?

Aircraft mechanics are mechanics that specialize in the maintenance and repair of aircraft. Many focus on preventative maintenance by inspecting the engines, instruments, landing gear, pressurized areas, accessories (breaks, air-conditioning, pumps, valves, etc.), and other parts of the aircraft.

Aviation Maintenance Technicians perform the necessary repairs and replace parts as needed. They keep maintenance records on all aircraft. Mechanics typically carry out inspections according to a schedule that is based on the amount of hours the aircraft has been in flight, the number of days since the last inspection, operation cycles, or a combination of these issues. Some aircraft mechanics focus on repairs and identify and fix the problems described by pilots. All aircraft mechanics work as quickly as safely possible to get the aircraft back in service on a timely basis.

Requirements: What kind of training & skills does an aircraft mechanic need?

Most aircraft mechanics complete training through FAA certified schools. Some schools offer 2 year and 4 year degrees in avionics, aviation maintenance management, and aviation technology. All FAA certified programs offer at least 1,900 class hours in a variety of subjects for students to learn all the essential skills for the job. Aviation Maintenance Technicians must have a strong background in electronics and they must constantly improve their skills and knowledge and stay up to date on technological advances in the field. One of the most respected certifications in the field is the Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) certificate. Prospective Aircraft mechanics can become certified in airframes or powerplants by passing a FAA certification examination. Tohow-to-become-an-aircraft-mechanic keep their certifications current, they must complete 16 hours of training every 24 months. Aircraft mechanics looking for more job responsibility may pursue advanced degrees in aerospace or mechanical engineering.


What are the prospects for a career as an aircraft mechanic? Job outlook

Air travel remains popular across the world, with expected growth of 6.9% in 2016, the best since 2010, and well above the 5.5% trend of the past 20 years, according to IATA. Globally, the number of jobs in the aviation sector and related sectors is projected to reach 65 million. 

Employment for aircraft mechanics is projected to remain relatively flat, increasing 1% through 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. An increasing population, passenger traffic and the expanding economy will drive job growth.
As with many other professions, the prospects vary depending on location, employer, and experience. The aircraft mechanic job outlook and prospects are expected to be favorable, especially for experienced mechanics, who have completed a formal training program. For those seeking employment with the major airlines, competition is likely to remain stiff and any job openings will arise mainly from the need to replace Aviation Maintenance Technicians that retire or leave the field for other reasons.

Aircraft Mechanic Salary: How much do aircraft mechanics make?

As of 2014, the median aircraft mechanic salary was between $65,484 and $85,079 with a median 2014 reported salary of $56,980 (BLS). The highest 10% earned an annual aircraft mechanic salary of more than $93,628.

If you are considering how to become an aircraft mechanic, a career as an aircraft mechanic is a great choice for people with an interest in aircraft function and operation. Aviation Maintenance Technicians must have a high level of mechanical ability and be self-motivated, enthusiastic, hard working, and be able to identify and resolve complex mechanical issues. Those interested in becoming an aircraft mechanic may also be interested in other related careers, such as becoming a Powerplant Mechanic, an Air Traffic Controller or an A&P mechanic.


Becoming an Aircraft Mechanic Requires Skills & Training, Start Today

Are you serious about becoming an Aircraft Mechanic? Then you need to get the required skills and training to do it! To start your new career, first you must decide what school you want to enroll in, so you need to gather info about potential schools. Use the College Mouse Degree Search tool to find the right course and college for you, and get started towards your new dream job today! If you want more personalized assistance, call (888) 389-7996 TOLL FREE to speak with a college advisor, who will help you find the best college for you. After you sign up for your course, make sure you fill out and submit the FAFSA so you can take advantage of any financial aid currently available to you!


Aircraft Mechanic Certification

Aircraft and related equipment must be maintained and repaired properly to ensure the safety of passengers, workers, and other individuals. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires all aircraft mechanics to earn certification, at either the airframe or powerplant level. For those hoping to gain a competitive edge and successfully pass the aircraft mechanic certification exam, many test takers recommend reading the Aviation Mechanic Career Examination Passbooks . This helpful aviation mechanic certification exam study guide provides helpful information and many sample exam questions (answers included) to help prepare aircraft mechanics on important material included on most certification exams.

While licensing eligibility requirements can differ from state to state, the completion of an FAA-certificated program or at least 18 months of work experience are generally required before certification. Aviation Maintenance Technicians applying for certification must receive passing scores on written, oral, and practical examinations assessing their ability to perform necessary tasks. A designated FAA Mechanic Examiner must administer the oral and practical portions, while written components cover multiple technical subjects. Offical aircraft mechanic certification facilities are available worldwide. To receive certification, all tests must be passed within a 24-month period.

FFA Licensing and A&P Certification Info By State:


Written by:  Ray Grant Walden

Ray Grant Walden attended American University College and now lives in Houston. He has enjoyed a very exciting career and has experience in a wide variety of professions, including college counseling.

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