Mechanic inspecting engine turbine
02 Apr 2015

How to Become an Aircraft Mechanic

A career as an aircraft mechanic or aircraft maintenance technician (AMT) can be both lucrative and rewarding for the right candidate. And with the looming shortage of skilled technicians in the aviation industry, this may be a wise choice for many.

How much can you earn?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a median annual salary of $55,230 in 2012, or an hourly rate of $26.55.

What will you be doing?

AMTs work on aircraft and avionics equipment. You will be repairing equipment and providing routine and preventative maintenance on a wide range of aircraft and helicopters. You also have the ability to become an inspector, with additional training and certification. Aircraft mechanics certified by the FAA are referred to as Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) mechanics. With this certification, you will be working on Airframes, Powerplants or both. This requires additional schooling and testing. This type of work is performed in a few different environments – airfields, hangars and repair stations. Jobs in this field are available in both the private and government sector.

What are the qualifications?

To become an AMT, you need to be at least 18 years of age and have a good grasp of written and spoken English. You have different options for your educational requirements, ranging from on­the­job training to formal schooling. An eye for detail and the ability to perform ongoing physical labor are important traits for this career field. You should also be comfortable working in a noisy environment.

What are the educational requirements?

The most common path for becoming an AMT is through an educational program in an FAA- approved Aviation Maintenance Technician School. Alternatively, if you have a High School diploma or GED, you may be able to secure a position where you can obtain on­the­job training. Some aviation technicians receive their training through a stint in the military. Educational requirements can range from one to five years of study and 18 to 30 months of experience.