Wed. Jun 19th, 2024

Aviation Maintenance Career Path

Keeping planes flying safely requires the diligent work of aviation maintenance technicians. As an integral part of the aviation industry, maintenance techs fix, inspect and overhaul aircraft through various stages of their career.

INTRODUCTION

Behind every takeoff and landing is a team of maintenance technicians ensuring aircraft systems are operating properly and safety issues are addressed. They fix mechanical, hydraulic and electrical problems on planes; perform scheduled maintenance checks; and troubleshoot complex technical issues. Their work is critical for aircraft airworthiness and passenger safety.

CAREER PROGRESSION

Aviation maintenance careers typically start as an apprentice or helper, assisting more experienced technicians. With additional training and certifications, workers can advance to roles like airplane mechanic, systems technician or inspector. The most senior positions include maintenance supervisors overseeing larger teams and chief maintenance officers at airlines and major airports.

EDUCATION AND TRAINING

A high school diploma and technical training are required to become an aircraft mechanic. Most entry-level workers obtain an Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) certificate through a federal program that takes 1-2 years. Retraining and recurrent courses are needed to maintain certifications. For management roles, an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in aviation maintenance or a related field is typically desired.

REQUIREMENTS

In addition to technical training, aviation maintenance technicians need good troubleshooting, mechanical and electrical skills. Physical stamina for prolonged standing, heavy lifting, climbing and working in cramped spaces is essential. The ability to work with minimal supervision and follow detailed procedures and regulations is also important.

OUTLOOK

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 9% increase in aviation maintenance jobs from 2020 to 2030, driven by air travel demand and the aging fleet of commercial and private aircraft. Many job openings are expected due to the need toreplace workers who retire. However, strong competition exists for these positions due to attractive pay and benefits. Gaining certifications in multiple aircraft systems and advancing to supervisory roles can improve one’s career prospects within aviation maintenance.

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