Aircraft Technician: Pathways, Salary, Skills, Opportunities

Exploring the Aircraft Technician Role

Aircraft technicians inspect, maintain, repair, and overhaul aircraft like airplanes and helicopters. It's a demanding but rewarding career for those with mechanical aptitude and a passion for aviation. Keep reading for an overview of this dynamic profession.

Aircraft Technician: An essential role in aviation maintenance and repair, involving inspecting, maintaining, and repairing aircraft systems and components.

Aircraft Technician Career Path

Many aircraft technicians get started by completing aviation maintenance training, either through the military or an FAA-approved program at a college or technical school. These programs last 18-24 months.

Entry-level aircraft technicians assist with routine inspections and repairs. With experience, they advance to lead technician, inspector, or shop supervisor roles. Senior aircraft techs may specialize in powerplants, avionics, components, or other complex systems.

Education and Skills Required

Aircraft technicians need extensive FAA-approved training covering powerplants, airframes, troubleshooting, inspections, documentation, and safety. Strong mechanical aptitude, critical thinking, and problem-solving abilities are essential. Many employers require the Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) certification.

Aircraft Technician Salary Insights

Per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for aircraft technicians is $66,680. Starting salaries are around $40,000, while senior inspectors and supervisors can earn over $100,000. Major airlines and manufacturers tend to offer the highest compensation.

Recommended Reading

  • Aircraft Basic Science by Glencoe McGraw-Hill - Foundational text covering aircraft systems and mechanics.
  • A&P Technician Airframe Textbook by Jeppesen - Details airframe components, repairs, and inspections. Helpful for the A&P exam.
  • Aviation Maintenance Management by Harry Kinnison - Valuable guide for experienced technicians interested in leadership roles.

Key Topics in Training

Aircraft technician training covers:

  • Aircraft powerplants, airframes, and systems
  • Inspection protocols and documentation
  • Repair and overhaul procedures
  • Safety standards and FAA regulations
  • Troubleshooting and critical thinking
  • Use of tools, manuals, and test equipment
  • Recordkeeping and reporting

How to Become an Aircraft Technician

Typical steps to launching an aircraft technician career include:

  • Complete FAA-approved aviation maintenance training
  • Obtain the Airframe and Powerplant certification
  • Develop mechanical expertise and troubleshooting skills
  • Research open aircraft technician jobs
  • Highlight your training and certifications when applying
  • Interview successfully and gain hands-on experience
  • Consider specializing later in your career

Top Programs and Certifications

Well-regarded aircraft technician programs include:

  • Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Aviation Maintenance Science
  • Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics Aviation Maintenance Technology
  • Delta TechOps Apprenticeship Program

The FAA Airframe and Powerplant certification is essential for most aircraft technician roles.

Job Search Strategies

When applying for aircraft technician jobs, discuss your aviation training, troubleshooting abilities, attention to detail, and passion for airplanes. Prepare for interviews by researching the company and practicing responses. With the right skills and training, you can begin an exciting career keeping aircraft flying safely.