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Aircraft Mechanics and Service Technicians
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Description: what do they do?
Diagnose, adjust, repair, or overhaul aircraft engines and assemblies, such as hydraulic and pneumatic systems. Includes helicopter and aircraft engine specialists.
Also known as:
Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic (A and P Mechanic), Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT), Aviation Mechanic, Aircraft Maintenance Supervisor, Helicopter Mechanic, Aircraft Restorer, Aircraft Maintenance Technician (Aircraft Maintenance Tech), Aircraft Technician, Aircraft Maintenance Director, Aircraft Mechanic

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from an O*NET database. Learn more on the Help page.

Career video
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    Transcript: Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians maintain airplanes and their components to keep flight travel safe and on schedule. Airframe and power plant mechanics repair and maintain most parts of an aircraft, including the engines, landing gear, and brakes. They use special equipment to check for cracks and corrosion in the plane’s exterior, then repair and recheck to ensure soundness. Avionic technicians take care of the plane’s electronic instruments and systems, such as testing navigation and weather radar to keep flights safely en route, or fine-tuning radio communications to keep pilots in touch with the experts on the ground. This is one of the highest paid technical professions, and it’s easy to see why. These workers analyze complex problems and develop safe, workable solutions quickly to get aircraft back up in the air, often in a matter of hours. Exposure to noise and vibration is part of every shift. Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians work in hangars, repair stations, or on airfields. Most work full time on rotating 8-hour shifts; overtime and weekend work is common. Typically, workers have a high school education and obtain training at technical schools certified by the Federal Aviation Administration, although some learn on the job or enter the field after military experience. Certification by the FAA increases job opportunities and wages, and is required for some positions. This is a job where safety can never take a back seat to schedule.
View transcript
Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are likely in the future.


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings" above. This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET’s Bright Outlook occupations. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll only see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
Florida
13,320
2016 Employment
15,540
2026 Employment
17%
Percent change
1,310
Annual projected job openings
United States
136,900
2018 Employment
141,200
2028 Employment
3%
Percent change
11,800
Annual projected job openings

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2016 (for states) or 2018 (for the United States), the number expected to be employed in 2026 (for states) or 2028 (for the United States), and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions of unemployment rates and labor productivity growth rates.  While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central and each state's Labor Market Information office, 2016-26.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, 2018-28.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Aircraft Mechanics and Service Technicians in Florida
This graph displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
This chart displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
LocationFloridaUnited States
10%$32,750$36,760
25%$43,870$49,900
Median$60,740$62,920
75%$81,290$80,410
90%$97,890$97,820


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    Also note that in this update, 21 detailed occupations found within the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) were replaced with 10 new aggregations of those occupations; read more about these OES changes.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, 2018 data. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

Education and experience: to get started
People starting in this career usually have:
  • Postsecondary certificate
  • No work experience
  • No on-the-job training

Programs that can prepare you:

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, Education and training assignments by detailed occupation, 2018.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, Educational attainment for workers 25 years and older by detailed occupation, 2016–17.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find apprenticeship sponsors" you'll find information that can help you locate apprenticeship opportunities in your state:

    • If there are businesses that have sponsored apprenticeships in this field in the past, you'll find their name and contact information.
    • If there are related occupations that might have apprenticeship opportunities, you'll find links to that information.
    • You'll also see contact information for state and federal agencies that oversee apprenticeship programs.

    What is the source of this information?

    Apprenticeship information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeships, and from CareerOneStop. Learn more at Apprenticeship Finder Help.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Inspect mechanical components of vehicles to identify problems.
  • Inspect completed work to ensure proper functioning.
  • Interpret blueprints, specifications, or diagrams to inform installation, development or operation activities.
  • Read technical information needed to perform maintenance or repairs.
  • Maintain repair or maintenance records.
  • Inspect structural components of vehicles to identify problems.
  • Operate cranes, hoists, or other moving or lifting equipment.
  • Test fluids to identify contamination or other problems.
  • Repair worn, damaged, or defective mechanical parts.
  • Replace worn, damaged, or defective mechanical parts.
  • Disassemble equipment to inspect for deficiencies.
  • Read work orders or descriptions of problems to determine repairs or modifications needed.
  • Test mechanical equipment to ensure proper functioning.
  • Apply protective coverings to objects or surfaces near work areas.
  • Inspect mechanical equipment to locate damage, defects, or wear.
  • Move large objects using heavy equipment.
  • Assemble electrical components, subsystems, or systems.
  • Install electrical components, equipment, or systems.
  • Install piping for installation or maintenance activities.
  • Lay out work according to specifications.
  • Fabricate parts or components.
  • Reassemble equipment after repair.
  • Clean equipment, parts, or tools to repair or maintain them in good working order.
  • Service vehicles to maintain functionality.
  • Lubricate equipment to allow proper functioning.
  • Cut materials according to specifications or needs.
  • Observe equipment in operation to detect potential problems.
  • Troubleshoot equipment or systems operation problems.
  • Drill holes in parts, equipment, or materials.
  • Install machine or equipment replacement parts.
  • Align equipment or machinery.
  • Remove parts or components from equipment.
  • Maintain inventories of materials, equipment, or products.
  • Order materials, supplies, or equipment.
  • Communicate with coworkers to coordinate installations or repairs.
  • Paint surfaces or equipment.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • Mechanical - Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Skills
People in this career often have these skills:
  • Equipment Maintenance - Planning and doing the basic maintenance on equipment.
  • Repairing - Repairing machines or systems using the right tools.
  • Operation Monitoring - Watching gauges, dials, or display screens to make sure a machine is working.
  • Troubleshooting - Figuring out what is causing equipment, machines, wiring, or computer programs to not work.
  • Quality Control Analysis - Testing how well a product or service works.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
  • Critical Thinking - Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
  • Reading Comprehension - Reading work-related information.
  • Monitoring - Keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements.
  • Speaking - Talking to others.
  • Operation and Control - Using equipment or systems.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list the work-related skills most commonly required for jobs in the career.

    This list can help you understand how well your current skills fit this career. It can also help you plan your education or professional development.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Skills descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Finger Dexterity - Putting together small parts with your fingers.
  • Control Precision - Quickly changing the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat.
  • Problem Sensitivity - Noticing when problems happen.
  • Information Ordering - Ordering or arranging things.
  • Written Comprehension - Reading and understanding what is written.
  • Near Vision - Seeing details up close.
  • Manual Dexterity - Holding or moving items with your hands.
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - Keeping your arm or hand steady.
  • Multilimb Coordination - Using your arms and/or legs together while sitting, standing, or lying down.
  • Deductive Reasoning - Using rules to solve problems.
  • Inductive Reasoning - Making general rules or coming up with answers from lots of detailed information.
  • Oral Expression - Communicating by speaking.
  • Written Expression - Communicating by writing.
  • Oral Comprehension - Listening and understanding what people say.
  • Flexibility of Closure - Seeing hidden patterns.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Conventional - Occupations related to Conventional interests frequently involve following set procedures and routines. They include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
  • Investigative - Occupations with Investigative interests frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They often involve research and figuring out problems mentally.
  • Realistic - Occupations with Realistic interests frequently involve practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical tasks
  • Examine and inspect aircraft components, including landing gear, hydraulic systems, and deicers to locate cracks, breaks, leaks, or other problems.
  • Conduct routine and special inspections as required by regulations.
  • Inspect completed work to certify that maintenance meets standards and that aircraft are ready for operation.
  • Read and interpret maintenance manuals, service bulletins, and other specifications to determine the feasibility and method of repairing or replacing malfunctioning or damaged components.
  • Maintain repair logs, documenting all preventive and corrective aircraft maintenance.
  • Inspect airframes for wear or other defects.
  • Modify aircraft structures, space vehicles, systems, or components, following drawings, schematics, charts, engineering orders, and technical publications.
  • Measure parts for wear, using precision instruments.
  • Examine engines through specially designed openings while working from ladders or scaffolds, or use hoists or lifts to remove the entire engine from an aircraft.
  • Check for corrosion, distortion, and invisible cracks in the fuselage, wings, and tail, using x-ray and magnetic inspection equipment.
  • Obtain fuel and oil samples and check them for contamination.
  • Maintain, repair, and rebuild aircraft structures, functional components, and parts, such as wings and fuselage, rigging, hydraulic units, oxygen systems, fuel systems, electrical systems, gaskets, or seals.
  • Replace or repair worn, defective, or damaged components, using hand tools, gauges, and testing equipment.
  • Disassemble engines and inspect parts, such as turbine blades or cylinders, for corrosion, wear, warping, cracks, and leaks, using precision measuring instruments, x-rays, and magnetic inspection equipment.
  • Read and interpret pilots' descriptions of problems to diagnose causes.
  • Test operation of engines and other systems, using test equipment, such as ignition analyzers, compression checkers, distributor timers, or ammeters.
  • Spread plastic film over areas to be repaired to prevent damage to surrounding areas.
  • Measure the tension of control cables.
  • Remove or install aircraft engines, using hoists or forklift trucks.
  • Assemble and install electrical, plumbing, mechanical, hydraulic, and structural components and accessories, using hand or power tools.
  • Locate and mark dimensions and reference lines on defective or replacement parts, using templates, scribes, compasses, and steel rules.
  • Fabricate defective sections or parts, using metal fabricating machines, saws, brakes, shears, and grinders.
  • Reassemble engines following repair or inspection and reinstall engines in aircraft.
  • Clean, refuel, and change oil in line service aircraft.
  • Service and maintain aircraft and related apparatus by performing activities such as flushing crankcases, cleaning screens, and or moving parts.
  • Trim and shape replacement body sections to specified sizes and fits and secure sections in place, using adhesives, hand tools, and power tools.
  • Listen to operating engines to detect and diagnose malfunctions, such as sticking or burned valves.
  • Accompany aircraft on flights to make in-flight adjustments and corrections.
  • Remove or cut out defective parts or drill holes to gain access to internal defects or damage, using drills and punches.
  • Install and align repaired or replacement parts for subsequent riveting or welding, using clamps and wrenches.
  • Inventory and requisition or order supplies, parts, materials, and equipment.
  • Clean engines, sediment bulk and screens, and carburetors, adjusting carburetor float levels.
  • Clean, strip, prime, and sand structural surfaces and materials to prepare them for bonding.
  • Communicate with other workers to coordinate fitting and alignment of heavy parts, or to facilitate processing of repair parts.
  • Remove, inspect, repair, and install in-flight refueling stores and external fuel tanks.
  • Prepare and paint aircraft surfaces.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.

    What does this information tell me?

    These are additional online resources related to this career. You may find different or more detailed information at these sources.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information is collected and maintained by CareerOneStop.