How To Become An Aircraft Mechanic or Avionics Technician

We can thank an Aircraft Mechanic or Avionics Technician every time we take a safe and uneventful flight. They have a tremendous responsibility of keeping aircraft in excellent working condition. 

Leonardo Da Vinci said, “Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” Although Aircraft Mechanics work “on the ground,” they still have the love and dedication of flight… just like a pilot. 

If you are interested in pursuing a career in the field of aviation, you should consider keeping our skies safe by becoming an Aircraft Mechanic or Avionics Technician! Take a look! 

Related Article: 40 Highest Paying Jobs With A Trade School Education

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What do Aircraft Mechanics do?

Aircraft Mechanics diagnose, repair, or replace all types of issues that may go wrong with a piece of aircraft, such as mechanical and electrical issues. They also work on wings, brake systems, use power tools, perform inspections, and keep detailed maintenance records, and much more!  

What do Avionics Technicians do?

Avionics Technicians work closely with instrument panels. They test, repair, and replace them as needed. They use power tools, keep maintenance records, build components, install software when needed, and much more!  

What are job options available in the field of Aircraft Maintenance?

Generally, Aircraft Mechanics do it all… everything from minor maintenance to major repairs. In addition, they work on all types of aircraft, such as helicopters, jets, and airplanes. If you would like to specialize in a specific type of repair, you can. Some choose to focus on electrical systems, bodywork, engines, or hydraulic systems, for example. 

What is the FAA?

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) enforces strict rules and regulations in the field of flight. They dictate how often maintenance on each aircraft needs to be done to keep the skies safe for travelers.

How do I become an Aircraft Mechanic?

Typically, Aircraft Mechanics must be properly trained by an FAA-approved aviation program. You’ll also be required to pass the FAA exam. On-the-job training will also be required. 

Do I need certification to be an Aircraft Mechanic?

Yes, Aircraft Mechanics must be certified by the FAA. Your certification process may depend on your specialization. 

How much do Aircraft Mechanics earn?

According to the BLS, Aircraft Mechanics earned an average of $66,440 per year as of May 2020, with the highest 10% earning upwards of $103,880 annually. 

Avionics Technicians earned $67,840 yearly as of May 2020. The upper 10% earned $100,680 or more annually.

Is there a demand for Aircraft Mechanics?

The BLS states that between 2020 and 2030, Aircraft Mechanics and Avionics Technicians can expect a significant job growth rate of 11%. This is a faster than average job growth rate resulting in approximately 14,400 job openings over the next ten years. 

Can the field of Aircraft Mechanic or Avionics Technician be a dangerous career choice?

Aviation maintenance can be a dangerous field. Illnesses and injuries include strains from heavy lifting and accidents with extensive power tools and equipment. Often, hearing becomes impaired due to loud noises. Working with chemicals and exposure to dangerous fumes also present job-related health risks. Falls from scaffolding are also prevalent.

10 BEST SCHOOLS FOR AN AIRCRAFT MECHANIC OR AVIONICS TECHNICIAN DEGREE

Kansas State University

Kansas State University

(On-campus) AAS or BS in Aviation Maintenance Management

While enrolled in an associate or bachelor’s degree in Aviation Maintenance Management, you’ll get hands-on experience with more than ten aircraft, ranging from helicopters to turbine-powered King Airs. Build your aircraft components, work on these aircraft, and learn troubleshooting and analytical skills. Students who major in aviation maintenance management will receive the technical training they need to succeed. By imparting the skills for the job, the program takes your career into a leadership position and mechanic skills.

Among your duties will be building, troubleshooting, and inspecting wiring harnesses, as well as maintaining a G1000 simulator. Additionally, you’ll have the chance to build, repair, and modify aircraft systems and structures. Your soft skills will be developed, but your hard skills will even be more honed and heightened. 

You can take the A&P exams in the campus testing center after completing your courses. What’s even better is that the institution comes with an FAA-designated mechanic examiner on-site, so you’ll sit for the exam under the supervision of a familiar person.

Up to 60 credits are transferrable to earning your degree at K-State Salina. You may be eligible to apply previously earned credits to your related bachelor’s degree program if you hold an associate degree from one of their partner institutions.

Programs Offered:

  • Professional Aviation
  • Professional Pilot

Enroll in Kansas State University’s Associate or Bachelor’s degree in Aviation Maintenance Management now, and start leveling up your resume!


Lansing Community College

Lansing Community College

(On-campus) AAS in Airframe Maintenance Technology

A mechanic or technician performs scheduled maintenance on aircraft and avionics equipment. The FAA also requires you to perform aircraft inspections. Your roles also include supervision, maintenance, and performing repairs on aircraft parts and systems. That’s basically what you will learn and emphasize when studying for an associate’s degree in Airframe Maintenance Technology.

Before registering for any aviation courses, anyone interested in the Aviation Technology Program must meet with the Program Administration. This crucial step matches your goals with the right program.

There are five training sessions a week, each lasting 5.5 hours. Each day, you’ll learn something new. The Aviation Technology Center in Mason, MI, just south of Lansing, offers classroom and lab training and real-world simulations.

Students become aircraft maintenance and repair experts within 24 months or less. You will gain a practical understanding of large and small planes, reciprocating and turbine engines, traditional aircraft construction, and advanced composite materials through hands-on, real-world training in Basic Aviation, Airframe Maintenance, and Powerplant Maintenance.

This program prepares students for the next stage in their aircraft maintenance journey, earning their FAA license. Rest assured, you’ll learn how to pass all FAA examinations as you know important tips and appropriate training.

Programs offered:

  • Powerplant Maintenance Technology
  • Basic Aviation Technology

With an Associate degree in Airframe Maintenance Technology taken at Lansing Community College, you can earn an Airframe Certificate that’s in high-demand among industry employers worldwide today.


Victor Valley College

Victor Valley College

(On-campus) Certificate in Aviation Maintenance Technology

The aviation classes do not have any prerequisites. Basic knowledge of mathematics, physics, and electronics is recommended but not mandatory for students. Knowledge of mechanics will be an asset as well. You can choose between three certificate programs: general, concentration in powerplant, and concentration in the airframe.

FAA certification is not guaranteed to students who complete the course. This is because FAA certification will be obtained only after passing written, oral, and practical tests.

For Aviation Technology courses, registration is done on WebAdvisor, but students must first submit an online interest form. By then, an Aviation Technology personnel will reach out to you to finally register for your desired program.

Programs offered:

  • Aviation Airframe Technician
  • Aviation Powerplant Technician

Choose your certificate degree in Aviation Maintenance Technology now at VVC, and get ready to participate in the industry’s growing job opportunities and growth.


Orange Coast College

Orange Coast College

(On-campus) Aviation Maintenance Technology Certificate in Avionics

Students enrolled in the avionics program are prepared for entry-level positions as technicians responsible for installing, maintaining, and repairing avionic equipment on any aircraft.

As the aircraft industry develops ever more sophisticated navigational and communication systems integrating microprocessors in all areas of an aircraft,  talents and skills in the industry should keep up with such innovations. There is an apparent need for a new generation of skilled workers equipped with the latest technology to achieve this.

Two semesters of hands-on training in actual aircraft are integrated into this certificate program. Graduates of this program are qualified to work in this exciting and rapidly growing field.

Certificate programs require a minimum of eight units and are intended to prepare graduates to enter a particular field of employment.  For a certificate to be awarded, students must earn grades of “C” in all program-required courses. If the department deems it necessary, three advanced courses are required to be taken at OCC.  Certificates of Achievement will only be awarded when you pass all the requirements and exams.

Programs offered:

  • Airframe and Powerplant
  • Helicopter Theory and Maintenance

With a certificate in Avionics taken at Orange Coast College, you can enhance your current skills and develop new ones required for professional advancement.


Trident Technical College

Trident Technical College

Certificate in Aircraft Assembly Technology

Trident Technical College offers accredited associate degree programs and certificates leading to certification as airframe and powerplant technicians by the FAA. The FAA has certified TTC’s Aircraft Maintenance Technology program.

Practical experience is provided to students. Throughout ACM 135, Sheet Metal and Nonmetallic Structures, the program offers a seven-day advanced composite class. The students use epoxy resin, honeycomb core, and woven cloth made of Kevlar and fiberglass.

One requirement for this program is that applicants must be high school graduates (or GED holders) and have placement levels that meet the program’s requirements.

The core courses of this 26-course program include the following:

  • Basic Aviation Sciences
  • Aircraft Composite Structures
  • Aviation Electrical Systems
  • Aircraft Fluid Lines

This program aims to assist students in becoming qualified to work in the aviation manufacturing field by providing them with the knowledge and skills necessary for employment in the area.

Programs offered:

  • Aircraft Maintenance Powerplant
  • Aircraft Maintenance Technology

With a certificate in Aircraft Assembly Technology offered by Trident Technical College, you can step closer to your dream job in the aviation manufacturing field or aviation maintenance industry.


Chaffey College

Chaffey College

(On-campus) Certificate in Aviation Maintenance

Students seeking a comprehensive understanding of airframe and power plants should pursue the Aviation Maintenance certificate rather than a single-certificate program. Students enrolled in the two-year Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) program must maintain continuous enrollment every semester, depending on Federal regulations. 

Aircraft maintenance technicians are currently in short supply. Airlines and aviation maintenance providers require airframe and powerplant technicians, making this program suitable for earning a job in this industry.

As an FAA-approved program, the Aviation Maintenance Technology program at Chaffey College can provide students with the essential experience necessary to become airframe or powerplant technicians. It meets the requirements for both an FAA Airframe and Powerplant Certificate. 

In addition to providing academic instruction, our faculty will also assist you with job placement. The skills you demonstrate can be applied to general aviation, corporate aviation, commercial aviation, aerospace, drones, uncrewed aerial vehicles, and other emerging technologies in general aviation, corporate aviation, space, and other areas.

Programs offered:

  • Aviation Maintenance Airframe
  • Aviation Maintenance Technology

Chaffey College’s Certificate in Aviation Maintenance will give you a competitive advantage to earn a job position in the aviation industry. If you’re passionate about the technicalities of a plane, this program should be right up your sleeve.


University of Alaska

University of Alaska

(On-campus) AAS in Aviation Maintenance Technology

Designed to prepare graduates for employment as maintenance mechanics in general aviation, corporate aviation, airlines, or aerospace manufacturers, the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Aviation Maintenance Technology program offers a broad array of career options. The curriculum focuses on modern aircraft systems in addition to traditional aircraft maintenance. The degree requires at least 72 credits.

Students who earn an AAS in Aviation Maintenance Technology are prepared for roles beyond basic certification as maintenance technicians. In addition to current aircraft technology and systems, the curriculum emphasizes problem-solving, critical thinking, and legacy aircraft.

This AAS degree is the first two years of the Bachelor of Science (BS) in Applied Technologies Leadership. Should you wish to proceed to this program, you can do so after finishing this Associate degree. 

Upon graduation from this program, graduates can demonstrate proficiency in aviation maintenance on an entry-level basis. You’ll acquire proficiency in airframe or powerplant maintenance fields. You’ll be able to tackle anything related to aircraft engines, systems, structures and become familiar with FAA regulations. Furthermore, you can also develop your soft skills better. 

Programs offered:

  • Aviation Administration
  • Air Traffic Control

Acquire a solid addition to your credentials and education by enrolling in the AAS program in Aviation Maintenance Technology by the University of Alaska.


Reedley College

Reedley College

(On-campus) Certificate in Aircraft Maintenance Technician

The most important responsibility of an Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) is to maintain the safety and efficiency of an aircraft. An AMT is in charge of overhauling, repairing, and maintaining systems. Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) mechanic certification is required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). You can earn your FAA A&P mechanic certificate at Reedley College by training as an Aviation Maintenance Technician. 

You can have access and permission to work on parts of an aircraft’s frame, including the crucial parts of the aircraft. Additionally, you can also work on the aircraft’s hydraulic and electrical systems.

An FAA-approved school like Reedley College is required for any AMT license. The Reedley College Aviation Maintenance Technician program has been in existence for half a century now. Both associate degrees and certificates are available in this learning institution. As a result of their program, graduates can be better equipped to take FAA exams. An additional feature of Reedley College is that all written and oral exams can be taken there on-site.

Programs offered:

  • Flight Science
  • Automotive Technology

The Aviation Maintenance Technology Certificate program at Reedley College can help you reach new heights!


Mt. San Antonio College

Mt. San Antonio College

(On-campus) Certificate in Aircraft Powerplant Maintenance Technology

Students who complete this program become prepared to work as powerplant technicians in the aircraft maintenance industry. Powerplant overhaul is a major focus of the course. An Associate in Science degree or a certificate is awarded upon completion of this program. This field offers excellent employment opportunities. An A & P Certificate is required for several administrative, quality control, and flight personnel careers.

The program is available during the day or at night schedule studies. Only the numbering of courses and the time required to complete the program differs between the two options.

Upon successful completion of this program, students can sit for the FAA general and powerplant examinations. An Airframe and Powerplant Exam, in conjunction with the General Exam, is all that is required for certification as an Aircraft Maintenance Technician. Transferrable courses can be discussed with an advisor by students wishing to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree (transfer program).

Some of the required courses you need to take are the following:

  • Aircraft Powerplant Theory
  • Aircraft Welding
  • Aircraft Materials and Processes
  • Aircraft Powerplant Systems

Programs offered:

  • Airframe and Aircraft Powerplant Maintenance Technology
  • Airframe Maintenance Technology

By enrolling in a Certificate in Aircraft Powerplant Maintenance Technology offered by Mt. San Antonio College, you’ll get one step closer to landing your dream job in the aviation industry.


Portland Community College

Portland Community College

(On-campus) Associate Degree in Aviation Maintenance Technology

Portland Community College offers a unique curriculum, a wide variety of local resources, and federal approval for a program that allows you to graduate in less than two years.

Every two years, their advisory committee consists of industry professionals who reassess curriculum changes to ensure the school is training for employer demands.

All FAA Part 147 AMT schools use the standard AMT program curriculum. During the fall or winter term, new students begin the program with a four-week modular class structure.

In Part 65 of the Federal Aviation Regulations, mechanics and other aviation personnel must meet the qualification, testing, and certification requirements.

Research and homework will take about two hours each day of your study at PCC. The modules are usually four weeks long and contain 90 hours of instruction. The modules are studied sequentially over 23 months. This module provides a variety of experiences that are very similar to those of an industry professional. So rest assured, you can be prepared to be joining the real aircraft industry soon.

The more you advance from module to module, the more knowledge you gain and develop skills. Both your general and exceptional skills will be honed and developed. They also offer practical training for the FAA mechanic’s certificate with the airframe and powerplant ratings.

Programs offered:

  • Aviation Airframe Maintenance Technology
  • Aviation Powerplant Maintenance Technology

Earning an Associate Degree in Aviation Maintenance Technology at PCC will enable you to be hired by industry experts, sectors, agencies, contractors, and private aircraft companies.