What Career Opportunities Are Available for Aircraft Technicians?

If you decide to work as an aircraft technician you will more than likely find that you have a variety of career options available to you, as well as a good overall job outlook.

Aircraft mechanics are often referred to as airframe or avionics aviation maintenance technicians. They try to focus on preventive maintenance although they also complete repairs as well. As a result, aircraft technicians have to carry out all required maintenance. This can include replacing older parts and ensuring that everything is in working order by examining the landing gear, instruments, air-conditioning systems, engines, brakes, pressurized sections, and valves.

An aircraft technician might work on units that range from helicopters to jets to propeller-driven airplanes. Sometimes, they work with specialized areas such as the engine, hydraulics, or the electrical system of the plane. A power plant mechanic will usually find work in repairing and servicing engines while an airframe mechanic might work on everything except the power plant and propellers.

For the most part, the aircraft technicians that work on civilian planes are A&P mechanics. These are also known as combination airframe-and-power plant mechanics. Those that work with civilian planes often receive certifications from the FAA and supervise those that do not have certifications. Therefore, receiving a certification as an “airframe mechanic” or “avionics repair specialist” can not only help you reach higher in the hierarchy of your company but can also open career possibilities for you.

With the right amount of experience, certifications, and training it is possible to take on supervisory roles such as lead inspector, lead mechanic, inspector, or crew chief. Some airlines provide examinations to their employees which allow them to advance to executive positions within the company.

The FAA also hires inspectors that have a lot of experience and training so this might be an option as well. Working for the FAA has many incentives such as good benefits and a high level of pay.

It is expected that within the next couple of years the job outlook for aircraft technicians will improve and stay strong. Some employees will retire and leave behind new openings while other airlines will form and expand, creating new positions for technicians.

The best career opportunities will exist for the larger airlines. However, aircraft technicians might also find jobs with regional airlines, small commuter airlines, and FAA repair stations. It will be highly desirable to work for the larger airlines since they offer very good travel benefits and salaries, although the smaller regional airlines might actually have more openings as they continue to expand.

There are some large corporations that have aircraft technicians on staff, but these are mostly found in big cities. Likewise, there are some government agencies that also have aircraft technicians but while these positions can be lucrative, they are not easily found for the most part. The best job opportunities will still be with individual airlines or with small aircraft fields.

If you are able to relocate to other areas, including smaller towns, you will probably find that your job outlook is much better. Those with flexibility and mobility will have the best chance of finding good positions in the field.

The best job opportunities will be for those who are cross-trained and can work with complicated aircraft systems. It will also be in your best interest to get as much training as possible since the competition for the best jobs will be very stiff. The more certifications that you can receive and the more formal education that you can seek, the more attractive you will look to potential employers.