If you are interested in becoming an aircraft mechanic, then you need to make sure that you understand what the job entails. While you would need to have a considerable amount of experience working with certain engines or parts, it’s often confused with being an auto mechanic.
The two are not the same and even if you have a great deal of experience as a small engine mechanic or other type of engine work, that doesn’t qualify you to become an aircraft mechanic. In fact, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) overseas all certifications and licensing for aircraft mechanics.
When you become an aircraft mechanic, you will be working on all aspects of airplanes, from single engine to larger, commercial jets. You will need to be able to diagnose and repair engine related problems, hydraulic issues that control wing flaps, electrical components, computer issues, and much more. Also, it’s important to note that in order to become an aircraft mechanic, you will need to be at least 18 years, old, speak English, and have at least 18 months of prior experience working with power plants or airframes.
You may also be eligible to become an aircraft mechanic if you graduate from an FAA approved mechanic school. As you can see, the requirements don’t include any other type of mechanic training, and most notably small engine or auto repair is not included in the list.
Aircraft mechanics will work on a variety of aspects of airplanes, including:
- Engines and propellers, where applicable,
- In-flight instruments and panels,
- Hydraulics for wing and rudder operation,
- Wheel housing and operation,
Being a mechanic who works on planes is an important job that can be taxing and demanding, but the rewards can be great.
Training and Certification
In order to become an aircraft mechanic in the United States, you must be certified by the FAA. The best way to earn FAA certification is to attend an FAA approved mechanic school and work within a power plant or on airframe machines for at least one year.
You will need to take a written examination, an oral test, and a practical test. These exams are only provided in English, though the FAA will approve some certifications to non-English speaking applicants, but only to work on aircrafts outside the United States.
Aviation Mechanic Salary
Currently, the average salary for an aircraft mechanic is $56,000 per year, which equals approximately $25 per hour. Some mechanics can earn a lot more than this, depending on where they work, but if you find a job with a major airline, for example, the benefits can be a great boost.
One downside to the aviation industry is that the job outlook is not as strong as with other fields for the next six to ten years. Approximately 9,100 new jobs are expected to be created between 2010 and 2020, which is below the national average for other related fields. However, with the increase demand on flying, more aviation mechanics will be required well into the future.
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median earnings per week than workers with only a high school diploma.*