What to Expect in Your First Year as an A&P Mechanic

What to Expect in Your First Year as an A&P Mechanic

Prevent burn-out and frustration by knowing what to expect in your first year as an airframe and powerplant (A&P) mechanic. As an entry-level A&P mechanic, you will be using your experience to make sure aircrafts perform as expected. Aircraft mechanics is an exciting field to get started in with enormous growth potential. The competitive nature of the field and high-demand for highly trained workers allows graduates easy access to jobs once they receive a license. However, the job experience and conditions encountered for entry-level professionals differs based on employer.

As an A&P mechanic, you can expect your job duties to relate to maintaining and repairing aircraft. Routine inspections, diagnostics, overhauling, and performing modifications, checking the engine, and compiling reports are duties often undertaken by A&P mechanics. Jobs in the industry involve working for regional and commuter airlines, government and military, overhaul facilities, aircraft manufacturers, or certified Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) repair stations. Those in their first year can expect to work in more general aviation areas as they develop on the job experience.

Regardless of whom you work for, be prepared to work under less than ideal conditions. A&P mechanics is a demanding field, graduates often work weekends, nights, and holidays of eight hour shifts - though overtime is common. Schedules split into three shifts of eight hours, so trained mechanics are always on hand, with job conditions requiring indoor and outdoor task. Workers should be able to handle working under difficult weather conditions, as working through rain and snow are often part of the job requirements.

The demanding job conditions do not end there. The nature of the job often demands physical exertion such as squatting, lifting more than 50 pounds and climbing ladders. First year A&P mechanics may encounter various aches and pains, but prior safety training prepares them for the physical demands of the job and workers increase their agility as their experience grows. Exposure to loud noises is also common from being around power tools and the aircraft itself.

The job environment for first-year workers will teach them how to handle themselves under stressful conditions. Aircrafts are million dollar machines; companies expect employees to repair the equipment in record times, but without sacrificing passenger safety or cutting corners. Learning time management, communicating with supervisors, dealing with tough schedules and being able to interact with the entire aviation team will develop in your first year on the job.

Though an entry-level position, the training required for getting an in airframe and powerplant license provides first year workers with a decent income. Depending on previous training and company working for entry-level mechanics pay ranges from $12 - $15 an hour for full time workers. Full benefits often included are medical and dental, 401k, travel benefits for workers and their families, relocation assistance, and free uniforms.

After your first year on the job as an aviation mechanic, you should be well prepared to deal with the rapid changes in the industry. Though being an airframe and power plant mechanic may not be for everyone, it is an exciting and fast-paced career, and for those with a passion for mechanics offers a financially and personally rewarding career track.