How to Be an Aircraft Mechanic
By Eric Hammer
While pilots, customer service people and in flight service
staff (i.e. stewards and stewardesses) tend to be noticed more
often, the single most important people at any airline, with
the possible exception of the pilot are the aircraft mechanics.
That's because, as an airplane mechanic, you are responsible,
along with the flight crew for making sure that the aircraft
will stay in the air. Here's why it's such a vital job:
Of all the machines that any ordinary person makes use of
on a regular basis, none are more complicated than airplanes
(space ships are more complicated, so is the CERN Super Collider
and possibly some nuclear reactors, however those are used by
people with special training and skills as opposed to ordinary
people). This means that these people are relying on you, the
aircraft mechanic to keep them safe by checking the planes between
uses and making sure they are in good flight condition.
The job is not considered glamorous, mostly because you are
working behind the scenes; however, as noted above, it is a vital
How Much Can You Make?
Aircraft mechanics make an upper middle class living, with
the average salary being just over $75,000 per year according
to Salary.Com. Of course, starting airplane mechanics make less
and those who have been on the job for years will make significantly
Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities
For all that an aircraft mechanic is a well paid and very
important job, it's actually not very glamorous. You will not
be noticed by anyone, especially if you do your job correctly
and as such, this is a job for those who don't mind being in
the background. Keep in mind that you may be asked to work outdoors
at times, though most often, you'll be working inside of an airplane
You will also need to take your job very seriously as this
is the kind of work where a mistake can quite literally kill
hundreds of people. The work can be somewhat tedious as well
since you are in essence working on aircraft engines all day
long and will often look somewhat grimy since you need to get
inside the guts of the plane.
Other jobs which are similar to this include jet refuelers
and of course pilots and other airline support staff.
Qualifications / Requirements
There are two ways to get certified by the Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) as an aircraft mechanic. The first is to
get on the job training amounting to about 30 months of training.
Alternatively, you can go to an FAA approved aircraft mechanic
school. The vast majority of aircraft mechanics earn their licenses
by attending such schools as it's hard to get a company to hire
you for on the job training.
Start by attending an appropriate school. You can find a list
on the FAA site (see helpful resources below). The program will
take about 2-3 years of study after which you can apply to various
airlines for jobs as an aircraft mechanic.
Check out these helpful resources to learn more about becoming
an aircraft mechanic:
Basic Requirements to Become an Aircraft Mechanic - This
is a good, basic introduction to the concept of being an aircraft
mechanic with the bare bones of the job laid out for you.