When planes, helicopters, or any type of aircraft are in need of maintenance or repair, it’s an aircraft mechanic or aircraft maintenance technician that gets the craft up and running smoothly.
How to Become an Aircraft Mechanic
Before the student can even enter an aircraft mechanic or avionics technician training program, there are some prerequisites they’ll need to check off:
- Be a minimum of 18 years old.
- Be able to read, write, and speak English.
If you’ve decided to become an aircraft mechanic, then follow these steps:
Step 1. Apply to a Part 147 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved aircraft maintenance program.
- Or, receive a minimum of 18 months on-the-job training.
- Or learn through the military.
Step 2. Pass both the written and practical parts of the FAA exam.
Step 3. There are three different written exams, and you have two years from the time you complete your training to take them: the AMT General test, the AMT Airframe Test, or the AMT Powerplant test. The general test has 60 questions, and the other two exams have 100 questions. You have two hours and must receive a minimum of 70 percent to pass.
Step 4. The practical test has both an oral and practical portion, where you will show how well you know your stuff. There are 43 subject areas, and the exam is given by a FAA Designated Examiner. There is a different test for each certification (General, Airframe, and Powerplant).
Once you pass both portions of your exam, you can apply for a job.
Aircraft Mechanic Job Description
An aircraft mechanic or maintenance technician has typical daily tasks that may include:
- Running diagnostics to determine any issues
- Fix any parts that are in need of fixing
- Inspect for defects
- Test all the parts using specialized equipment
- Make repairs according to the aircraft manual instructions
- Maintain detailed records
- Use high tech precision instruments
Aircraft mechanics are trained to work on many different types of aircraft, from jets to planes to helicopters and beyond. They may also choose to specialize on specific parts such as wings, motors, hydraulic systems, or any other part of the aircraft.
Featured Aircraft Mechanic Trade Schools
We’ve partnered with the following schools to help them find students interested in aircraft mechanic and aviation maintenance training programs.
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Aircraft Mechanic Salary
The median salary for aircraft mechanics was $66,680 in 2020. The bottom 10% earned about $38,970, and the top 10% earned over $103,880. (BLS)