How to Become an Aircraft Mechanic

What To Do Now? Aircraft Mechanic Education

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Everyone wants to think they're flying on a safe and maintained aircraft, and it's due to aircraft mechanics that travelers can breathe easy. With proficiency in prevention, maintenance, and repair, airline mechanics are technicians that keep airline equipment in top shape. If you are good with your hands, enjoy equipment, and are technically minded, you might like to explore career reeducation, whether through traditional classes or online aircraft mechanic education courses, to improve your skills for this field.

Career Skills for the Aircraft Mechanic

Working primarily in preventative maintenance, aircraft mechanics inspect and repair landing gear, instruments, engines, brakes, accessories, and more. Generally speaking, there are three types of aircraft mechanics: airframe mechanics, power plant mechanics, and avionics technicians. Airframe mechanics are typically trained to work on any part of an airplane except instruments, propellers, and power plants. Power plant mechanics are traditionally trained to work on engines. However, combination airframe-and-power plant mechanics are equipped to work on every part of a plane, except the instruments. The avionics systems--used for navigation, weather radar, and communications--are usually maintained and repaired by avionics technicians who are trained to work with these complex systems.

If you are considering career reeducation for one of these aircraft mechanic positions, then you should be able to work with your hands, follow instructions, and be detail-oriented. Other career skills include the ability to diagnose problems, write clear reports, and complete work in a timely fashion.

Career Advice: Education to Retrain and Improve Your Skills

Today, there are 147 schools accredited by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to train aircraft mechanics. Career reeducation typically takes between 18 to 24 months or a minimum of 1,900 class hours. Online aircraft mechanic education courses can be a great way to start your career as you get a background in mathematics, chemistry, electronics, computer science, and more.

However, today's aircraft mechanics trade schools are also starting to put additional emphasis on technological developments to prepare students to work in tomorrow's economy--such as graphite, aviation electronics, composite materials, and more.

Career Outlook for Aircraft Mechanics

  • Two Dynamic Careers. Aircraft mechanics specialize in preventative maintenance--such as valves, brakes, air-conditioning systems, and pumps--while avionics mechanics are experts in flight-related systems--such as aircraft navigation and radio communications
  • Multiple education Options. There are about 147 schools certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) with programs in aircraft maintenance
  • Little or No Change in Job Outlook Employment of aircraft mechanic professionals is expected to be steady with 2% growth between 2012-22. The filed is expected to add 3,500 more employees.
  • How to Get There. Employers generally look for candidates who earn a 2-year or 4-year degrees in avionics, aviation technology, or aviation maintenance management
  • Certification Is Key. Mechanics and technicians must pass an airframe or powerframe exam for certification and take at least 16 hours of continuing education every 24 months to remain certified with the Federal Aviation Administration
  • Job Prospects. Mechanics who hold an A&P certificate and have knowledge about the most cutting edge technologies and composite materials are expected to have best job opportunities.
  • Trends Affecting the Industry Low maintenance aircraft and outsourcing of maintenance work to specialized maintenance and repair shops is expected to limit the demand in this field.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Service Technicians