Taking Off in an Aircraft Maintenance Technology Career
Aircraft technicians are essential to maintaining the good safety record of America's air fleet. They keep jets, propeller planes, and helicopters running, identify problems, and make repairs. The job requires knowledge of technology, mechanical ability, attention to detail, and physical toughness. On any given day as an aviation technician, you might find yourself out on the tarmac checking the functioning of gauges and landing gear, or in a hangar, hoisting a jet engine out of its housing to make critical repairs.
How to Get Ready for a Career in Aircraft Technology
To prepare for a career in aviation technology, you should plan on completing one of around 170 aircraft technology degree programs certified by the FAA. These aircraft technology programs last one to two years. In aircraft technology classes, aviation technicians learn how to fix and maintain the power plant, which includes the engine, and the airframe, which is the physical structure of the airplane. Topics covered in aircraft technology classes include:
- Fundamentals of aviation
- Airframe electrical systems
- Power plant fuel systems.
Some experts in aircraft technologies got their start in military aircraft technology, but military aircraft technology experience usually is not a replacement for an aircraft technology degree.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that job growth for aircraft maintenance technology and aviation technology should be about as fast as average for the decade ending in 2018. According to the BLS, the median hourly wage in 2008 for those working in aircraft technologies was $24.71.