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What Is an Aircraft Technician and How to Become One

Aircraft Technician

What Does an Aircraft Technician Do?

An aircraft technician performs maintenance and repair on various types of aircraft, most commonly commercial planes, fighter jets, and helicopters. Some aircraft maintenance technicians work on blimps and hot air balloons. As an aircraft technician, your job duties include identifying and diagnosing mechanical and electrical issues, manual testing of aviation communication and diagnostic systems, and replacing defective or worn-out parts. You may specialize in a particular type of aircraft or in working on a specific part of an aircraft, such as the frame, wings, engine, electrical systems, or aviation software applications.

How to Become an Aircraft Technician

You must complete educational and licensing qualifications along with on the job training to become an aircraft technician. Your first step is earning a certificate or associate degree from a technical school, community college, or aircraft trade school. Study a program such as aircraft technology, aviation mechanics, aviation science, or aircraft powerplant maintenance technology. Then, if you’re at least 18 years old and have more than 30 months’ experience working on aircraft, you can take the three-part exam to earn your Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) license.

What Is the Job Outlook for Aircraft Technicians?

The job outlook for aircraft technicians is positive. Over the next several years, air traffic is expected to increase as more people use airplanes for travel and shipping and as the military employs helicopters, fighter jets, and other aircraft for the transport of soldiers and technology. Your aircraft maintenance skills are essential for airlines and aircraft companies that need qualified workers in specialized aircraft maintenance and repair shops. Since aircraft go to destinations near and far, you can find aircraft technician jobs in domestic and international locations.

What Is the Difference Between an Aircraft Technician and an Aircraft Maintenance Mechanic?

An aircraft technician completes scheduled maintenance and unexpected repairs on airplanes, helicopters, or other types of aircraft. They also test diagnostic, communication, and electrical systems. The responsibilities of an aircraft maintenance mechanic focus more on quality assurance (QA) aspects of aircraft technology. An aircraft maintenance mechanic conducts inspections of an aircraft to ensure that the mechanical, structural, and electronic systems are all in acceptable condition for use. In this career, you must determine whether parts of an aircraft need repair or replacement and document your findings.

What Is the Difference Between an Aircraft Technician and an Avionics Technician?

As an aircraft technician, you diagnose and repair mechanical and electrical problems on aircraft. Avionics technicians are specialists in the electronic instruments on various aircraft. As an avionics technician, your skills are more technical than mechanical. Your avionics technician job duties include performing manual testing of electronic instruments, using tools like circuit testers, voltmeters, and oscilloscopes, and identifying and fixing bugs in aviation software applications, radio communication systems, and navigational aids. Both careers are essential to safe aircraft usage and transportation.

Aircraft Technician Job Description Sample

With this Aircraft Technician job description sample, you can get a good idea of what employers are looking for when hiring for this position. Remember, every employer is different and each will have unique qualifications when they hire for a Aircraft Technician role.

Job Summary

We are searching for an Aircraft Technician to perform preventative maintenance tasks on our aircraft. In this role, you will conduct inspections to determine the airworthiness of an aircraft and troubleshoot any issues. In addition to troubleshooting issues with the engine and hydraulic systems, you will ensure the equipment and components are functioning properly. To qualify for this position, you must complete an FAA-approved training program or fulfill the practical experience requirement you need to obtain your A&P license. Other important skills are mechanical aptitude and the ability to read technical drawings. All applicants must be willing to take a drug test.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Perform preventative maintenance
  • Troubleshoot issues with various systems, including the engine and hydraulic systems
  • Replace and repair parts or components
  • Conduct inspections to determine airworthiness of aircraft, including equipment and components
  • Complete proper documentation
  • Assist with shift turnovers

Requirements and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or GED certificate
  • Completion of an FAA-approved program or the practical experience requirement (18-30 months on power plants and airframes)
  • FAA A&P license
  • Aviation maintenance experience (2-3 years preferred)
  • Mechanical aptitude
  • Computer literacy
  • Ability to lift up to 50 lbs.
  • Comfortable working outside in various weather conditions