Career Facts Aviation Maintenance Technician
What do they do?
An aviation maintenance technician, commonly referred to as an airframe and powerplant (A&P) mechanic, inspects, troubleshoots and repairs aircraft structures, engines and systems. Maintenance technicians are able to return aircraft to service after inspecting or repairing the airframe (small and large) and engines (both piston and turbine powered). LCC has an international reputation for providing the most highly trained aviation professionals in the world.
Where are they employed?
Aviation maintenance technicians are employed throughout the world maintaining aircraft for major airlines, commuter airlines, air freight operators, air taxi operators, corporate flight departments, private aircraft owners and many other specialized aviation services.
What is the average salary?
In 1996, the average salary of aircraft mechanics was about $35,000, yet salaries ranged from $23,000 and $48,000 a year. In Michigan the average salary was about $32,000 and ranged from $22,000 to $40,000. Mechanics who worked on jets generally earned more than those working on other aircraft. Airline mechanics and their immediate families receive reduced fare transportation on their own and most other airlines.
Earnings of airline mechanics are generally higher than mechanics working for other employers. Average hourly pay for beginning aircraft mechanics was estimated to range from $18.00 at the smaller turbo-prop airlines, to $22.00 at the major airlines in 1996. Earnings of experienced mechanics were estimated to ranged from $25.00 to $32.00 an hour.
What are the educational requirements?
Applicants must have a high school diploma or GED. Students must complete four semesters and two summer sessions of aviation maintenance education courses. Successful completion of the FAA's written, oral and practical tests is required prior to licensing. Acceptable motor skills and academic ability will provide functional competency to support certification. Due to a limited number of seats, students aspiring to a career in maintenance Technologies must contact the Aviation Program at (517) 483-1406 for advising.
Who would enjoy it?
Aircraft mechanics must do careful and thorough work that requires a high degree of mechanical aptitude. Employers seek applicants who are easy-going, self-motivated, hard-working, enthusiastic, whom have the ability to diagnose and solve complex mechanical problems. Agility is important for the reaching and climbing which is necessary to perform maintenance on large aircraft. Since they may work on the top of wings and fuselages on large jet planes, aircraft mechanics must not be afraid to work in high places.
How many jobs are available?
Opportunities for jobs in this field are expected to grow about as fast as average throughout the year 2006. As aircraft mechanics gain experience, they will have the opportunity for increasing advancement. Opportunities are best for those who have an aircraft inspector's authorization. A mechanic may advance to lead mechanic (or crew chief), inspector, lead inspector, and shop supervisor. In the airlines, where promotion is often determined by examination, supervisors may advance to executive positions. Those with broad experience in maintenance and overhaul have become inspectors with the Federal Aviation Administration. With additional business and management training, some open their own aircraft maintenance facilities. Mechanics learn many different technical skills in their training courses that can be applied to other jobs. Some transfer to other skilled repairer occupations or electronics technician jobs.
How much schooling, training, or skill development?
Although a few people become mechanics through on-the-job training, most learn their job in trade schools certified by the FAA. About one-third of these schools award two and four-year degrees in avionics, aviation Technologies, or aviation maintenance management, while the rest administer a certification of completion and/or a license to practice in this field.
Mechanics who also have an inspector's authorization can certify work completed by other mechanics and perform required inspections. Uncertified mechanics are supervised by those with certificates. The FAA requires at least 18 months of work experience for an airframe, powerplant, or avionics repairer's certificate. For a combined A & P certificate, at least 30 months of experience working with both engines and airframes are required. Completion of a program at an FAA certificated mechanic school can substitute for the work experience requirement. Applicants for all certificates also must pass written and oral tests, and demonstrate that they can do the work authorized by the certificate. To obtain an inspector's authorization, a mechanic must have held an A & P certificate for at least 3 years. Most airlines require that mechanics have a high school diploma and an A & P certificate.
FAA standards established by law require that certified mechanic schools offer students a minimum of 1,900 actual class hours. Courses in these trade schools generally last from 2 years to 30 months, and provide training with the tools and equipment used on the job. Aircraft trade schools are placing more emphasis on newer technologies which are increasingly being used in the construction of new aircraft.
Transportation Maintenance Technologies
West Campus, Room M103
Phone: (517) 267-6406
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