How to Become an Aircraft Mechanic in 2024

Victor O.Clev

Aeronautics is neither an industry nor a science, but a miracle, they say. Ever wondered if pilots have heroes too? Will you love to fix airplanes and help pilots enjoy their work? Then, you can learn how to become an aircraft mechanic.

The aircraft mechanics are trained to perform a variety of tasks on aircraft in order to maintain, repair, and inspect aircraft such as propeller-driven airplanes, jets, and helicopters.

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They ensure planes are operational and adhere to the Federal Aviation Administration’s guidelines for safe flying.

Here in this article, we will give you all the details you will need to become an aircraft mechanic, like the cost of aircraft mechanic schools, aviation mechanic requirements, and how much you may make as an aircraft mechanic.

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Who is an aircraft mechanic?

An aircraft mechanic conducts inspections of an aircraft to ensure that the mechanical, structural, and electronic systems are all in good condition for use.

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In this career, you must determine whether parts of an aircraft need repair or replacement. These individuals hold certificates (airframe and powerplant) from the Federal Aviation Administration.

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Today’s airplanes are highly complex machines that require reliable parts and service to fly safely. Aircraft mechanics ensure that an airplane is in peak operating condition and complete inspections.

Most aircraft mechanics who work on civilian aircraft have some sort of official certification.

Mechanics that have this certification are authorized to work on any part of the aircraft except electronic flight instruments, which is the job of avionics technicians.

What does an aircraft mechanic do?

An aircraft mechanic typically does the following:

  • Examine aircraft frames and parts for defects
  • Diagnoses mechanical or electrical problems
  • Measures parts for wear using precision instruments
  • Reads maintenance manuals to identify methods of repair
  • Repairs wings, brakes, electrical systems, and other aircraft components
  • Replace defective parts using hand tools
  • Inspects completed work to ensure that it meets performance standards
  • Keeps records of maintenance and repair work
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Some aircraft mechanics work on many different types of aircraft, such as jets, propeller-driven airplanes, and helicopters.

Others have different areas of specialization in one section of a particular type of aircraft, such as the engine, hydraulics, or electrical system of a jet.

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What are the career paths for airplane mechanics?

In a world where so much influence and pressure is placed on college degrees, it’s worth taking time to assess your options and remember that not all good jobs require you to go to university.

Becoming an airplane mechanic is an occupation that does not necessarily require a college education and offers a very good salary.

Prospective aircraft mechanics can attend aircraft mechanic school or must have undergone standard training to be able to work in the field.

Prospective Students can choose to be an airframe or power plant mechanic, or both. An A&P mechanic can also work on avionics with the appropriate training and can move up to become an inspector authorization (IA).

If you’re considering a career as an airplane mechanic, you will need to be able to read, write, speak, and understand English, and you must be at least 18 years old.

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Furthermore, with extra educational qualifications, an airplane maintenance engineer can teach in aviation schools and help raise the next generation of airplane mechanics.

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Aircraft mechanics may work for the Navy, Army, or Air Force military base as their airplane maintenance engineers.

What are the types of aircraft mechanics?

There are four main types of career paths as an aircraft mechanic. They all share certain similarities while also being unique. They are:

  • Avionics Technician: Carry out tests on aircraft and ensure that they are in good shape and fit to use. Also work on safety systems to keep people safe when flying, such as altitude, autopilot, and weather systems. It can be trained to work on other parts of aircraft, making this a versatile career option.
  • Airframe mechanics: trained to both work on and understand all aircraft parts except for engines, propellers, and avionic instruments. This means their work includes, but is not limited to, working on the planes frame, skin, doors, windows, and wings
  • Powerplant Mechanics: Work on the parts airframe mechanics don’t—service engines and powerplants. Some were also trained to work on propellers.
  • A&P Mechanics: Trained in both Airframe and Powerplant Mechanics. The most common path to take is to hire mechanics who can handle both types of work.

What is the difference between an aircraft technician and an aircraft maintenance mechanic?

An aircraft technician completes scheduled maintenance and unexpected repairs on airplanes, helicopters, or other types of aircraft. They also test diagnostic, communication, and electrical systems.

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While an aircraft maintenance mechanic focuses more on quality assurance (QA) aspects of aircraft technology.

An aircraft maintenance mechanic conducts inspections of an aircraft to ensure that the mechanical, structural, and electronic systems are all in acceptable condition for use.

How to Become an Aircraft Mechanic

So, how do you go about becoming an airplane mechanic? Well, like all good jobs, it doesn’t happen overnight, but the sooner you get started, the sooner you become fully qualified.

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Getting fully qualified is going to take anywhere between 18 months and 5 years. If you are really considering a career as an aircraft mechanic, you must be able to read and write, and you need to be at least 18 years old.

Notwithstanding, below are the three essential steps to becoming an Aircraft Mechanic

1. Attend and Graduate from one of the FAA-Approved aircraft Mechanic Training School

Usually, most of these schools offer the full package, including airframe and power plant certification and avionics training.

Graduates from FAA schools often begin on a higher salary than those who entered the role in other ways.

2. Complete on-the-job Training

Actually, you may opt for 18 months of training under the supervision of a qualified mechanic for either the Airframe or Powerplant Certificate.

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However, to get A&p certifications, the AMT training will last for 30 months under the supervision of a qualified mechanic

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3. Get military training.

This is, basically, another effective and interesting way to become an airplane mechanic. In fact, for some people, earning a paycheck while serving their country is a fulfilling way of life.

Basically, military experience is highly valued in the civilian world, and the training is paid. So, you may choose to become an AMT by enrolling in this military training.

As stated above, the formal education route isn’t for everybody, and just because you don’t undergo it doesn’t mean there are no other paths into this career, as there are other routes available.

What are the aircraft mechanic requirements?

Well, depending on your location, the requirements to become an aircraft mechanic may vary, but usually there are slight changes. What is obtainable worldwide is basically the standard; others are to suit your locality’s laws and rules.

I’m a US Citizen What requirements must I meet to get a mechanic’s certificate?

For instance, in the US, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, you must be:

  • At least 18 years old
  • And be able to read, write, speak, and understand English
  • And get 18 months of practical experience with either power plants or airframes, or 30 months of practical experience working on both at the same time.
  • Pass three types of tests: a written examination, an oral test, and a practical test
  • For more information on this, see the Federal Aviation Administration.
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In addition, you would have to meet the educational requirements by attending aviation schools and undergoing basic aircraft mechanic training.

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However, here are some basic skills for you to acquire in order to become an airplane mechanic in 2024

  • Reading Skills
  • Active listening
  • Speaking skills
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Active learning
  • Monitoring
  • Learning strategies
  • Writing skills
  • Science
  • Physical strength, agility, and manual dexterity
  • No acrophobia.

I’m not a US citizen, and I live outside the United States. How do I get a mechanic’s certificate?

You must meet all the requirements listed above for United States citizens. You must also meet the following requirements:

  • Demonstrate that you need a mechanic certificate to maintain U.S.-registered civil aircraft and that you are neither a U.S. citizen nor a resident alien.
  • Show the examiner your passport.
  • Provide a detailed statement from your employer saying what specific types of maintenance you performed on each aircraft and how long you performed them.
  • Provide a letter from the foreign airworthiness authority of the country in which you got your experience, or from an advisor of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), validating your maintenance experience.
  • Make sure all the documents you provide are signed and dated originals.
  • Pay the fee for the document review.
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How much do airplane mechanics make?

Interestingly, aviation is one of the highest-paying sectors in any nation’s economy. So, all the odds that may influence salary are in favor of aircraft mechanics.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics posits that airplane technicians earn about $26.20 an hour on average.

Salary: The average aircraft mechanic’s salary was $54,500 per year in 2011, according to BLS.

Salaries range from $34,630 for those in the lowest-paid 10 percent to more than $74,200 per year for those in the highest-paid 10 percent.

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Salaries can vary based on the regional area and the type of employer. Among all industries that hire aircraft mechanics, the courier and express delivery service industry had the highest wages, averaging $76,440 per year.

So, the stakes are high for aircraft maintenance engineers. Furthermore, Payscale posits that a mid-career aircraft and powerplant with 5–9 years of experience earns an average total compensation of $24.56 following a data analysis of 584 salaries taken into account.

Therefore, years of experience, employers, and qualifications affect the total earnings of an airplane mechanic.

However, a major way to increase pay is to improve relevance. This article will show you how to become an airplane mechanic and top the corporate ladder in no distant time.

How much does an aircraft mechanic school cost?

Actually, the cost of an aircraft mechanic school depends on the program‘s tuition fees. So, some students pay between $10,000 and $30,000 to go through a 2-year program that awards certificates.

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Also, going to college for a four-year degree program in courses related to aviation technology and maintenance may cost more.

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However, it is important to note that an A and P license is given to only people who gain the necessary hands-on experience and pass all of the tests.

Is an airframe license different from a powerplant license?

No, airframe licenses and powerplant licenses are not the same. Even though some airplane mechanics have just one license and others have none at all, it is important to be a certified mechanic.

However, an ‘A’ license, which may be written as an ‘Airframe License’, certifies an airline mechanic to work on structural components, while a ‘P license or Powerplant license” certifies a flight mechanic to work on propulsion components and other component systems.

Do I Need an EASA License to Work as an Aircraft Mechanic?

Well, you will need an EASA license to work as an aircraft mechanic if you intend to work in Europe. Basically, EASA stands for the “European Aviation Safety Agency,” which is an agency that is responsible for regulating this type of license.

Even though some companies in Europe recognize an A&P license, others don’t. So, to be on the safe side, please get this certification and license if you plan to work in Europe.

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Aircraft Mechanic Training Schools

One of the ways to become an aeronautical mechanic is to attend and complete the coursework to earn a certificate or an associate degree in aviation technologies.

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However, be certain that the AMT training school you wish to attend is FAA-approved. Additionally, you must check the basic requirements for your locality before enrolling in a program.

Everett Community College

Everette is a community college located at 9711 31st Place West, BLDg C-80. Paine Field Everett

  • Phone No.: (425) 388-9093
  • Tuition Fees: $29,120

Everett Community College has educated more than 19,000 students every year. Actually, this public community college offers more than 90 different majors and programs, of which certificates and an associate degree in aviation technology are some of them.

In fact, this Airplane Maintenance Technician school offers programs that award certificates and associate degrees in aviation maintenance technology or airframe and powerplant upon completion of coursework.

Additionally, its AMT training school has been approved by FAA since 50 years ago, and the school’s curriculum is delivered in 8-quarters of 2,247 hours of study. Interestingly, these hours of study cover 40 subject areas.

The school posits that “our AMT school teaches students to maintain both reciprocating and turbine engines, repairing systems and components.

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2. Salt Lake Community College, Utah

Salt Lake is located at 551 North 2200 West Salt Lake City, Uta. 84116. This is a public community college in Salt Lake County, and it is the largest two-year college with the most diverse student body.

  • Tuition Fees: $12,500
  • Phone No.: (801) 957-8061.
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It houses over 60,000 students on 10 campuses as well as through online classes comfortably. Basically, it has a student-to-faculty ratio of 20:1.

Mostly, it focuses on providing associate degrees that can help students get into a four-year university program.

Consequently, it offers a full-time associate degree certificate program in aviation technology and maintenance.

This course will last over a period of six semesters. Also, this program is available during the fall or spring semesters, both as day and evening classes.

Furthermore, Salt Lake’s Aviation Maintenance Program is one of the FAA-approved programs in the US. The program covers courses like:

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  • Aircraft Regulation
  • Aircraft Electrical Hardware
  • Powerplant systems
  • Airframe systems I, II, and III.
  • Airframe inspection
  • Powerplant System: Reciprocating Engines
  • Powerplant System IV: powerplant inspection

3. Gateway Community College Phoenix

Gateway Community College is located at 5101 McRee Ave., St. Louis, MO 63110.

  • Tuition Fees: in-state: $2,046; out-sout-state: $3000
  • Phone No.: (314) 776-3300

This is a public community college, and its motto is education that works, so you learn more and live better. Actually, it has been in existence since 1968 and offers an associate degree in aviation and aeronautics, which covers areas like;

  • Aircraft Maintenance technology
  • Airframe maintenance
  • Flight Technology
  •  Airway Science and Technology, flight emphasis
  • Powerplant maintenance

4. Portland Community College

Portland Community College is located at 17705 NW Springville Road, Portland. This is a public community, the largest in the state, that serves 1.9 million residents in the five-county areas of Multnomah, Washington, Yamhill, Clackamas, and Columbia.

  • Tuition Fees: $16,000
  • Phone No. (971) 722-72914
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It enrolls over 83, 000 students annually, so you may apply to this university as their acceptance rate is quite encouraging.

However, this community college has been in existence since 1961 and offers programs that award a certificate or associate degree upon completion of coursework.

Consequently, the program offers a curriculum that covers the following areas:

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  • Introduction to Airframes and Power Plant
  • Aircraft Electricity
  • Aviation CFRs and related subjects
  • Materials and processes
  • Assembly and Rigging
  • Reciprocating Engine theory and maintenance
  • Propellers and engine installation
  • Turbine engine overhaul
  • AMT practicum/powerplant
  • Instruments, communication, and navigation systems

What are the objectives for an aircraft mechanic resume?

First, you need to find out what the employer requires from the aircraft mechanic they are looking to hire by studying the job description they published.

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When you know the requirements for the airplane mechanic job, you can then create an objective for your resume that tells the employer you have what is needed to succeed on the job.

These objectives will guide you in creating your own when writing a resume for the position.

  • I am searching for an aircraft mechanic position commensurate with 10 years of experience servicing private commercial aircraft for a major freight carrier.
  • A self-motivated candidate with excellent teamwork skills seeks an aircraft mechanic position that builds upon six years of prior training and service with the United States Air Force.
  • I am looking for a commercial aircraft mechanic job to transfer existing skills from servicing private corporate aircraft into an environment that provides an opportunity for further professional development and growth.
  • An experienced, detail-oriented aircraft mechanic and supervisor seeks a position that blends both skillsets to produce high-quality maintenance and service that represents excellence and impeccable dedication to on-the-job safety.
  • Seeking a position that utilizes USAF aircraft mechanic training to provide world-class maintenance service to a commercial fleet seeking to set the standard for worldwide air travel.

Conclusion

Aeronautics is a miracle, and becoming an aircraft mechanic can provide a fulfilling career. These professionals maintain, repair, and inspect aircraft like propeller-driven planes, jets, and helicopters, ensuring they adhere to the Federal Aviation Administration’s safe flying guidelines. Details on school costs, requirements, and potential earnings are provided.

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