Aviation is a complex industry, but at its heart, it is quite simple. Pilots break things on the airplane, and aircraft mechanics fix it. Airlines, the military, corporate flight departments, and all other flights would come to a screeching halt without trained and skilled airplane mechanics.
Aircraft mechanics are the backbone of the aviation industry. Their work is critical to keep the operation running. As such, the average aircraft mechanic salary is high. Aviation companies are willing to pay a premium for skilled and experienced airplane mechanics.
If their airplane is not flying, that means they are not making money! The demand for mechanics is growing steadily as the aviation industry grows. That means higher airplane mechanic salaries and more work opportunities.
Are you interested in becoming an airplane mechanic? You probably should be. The job is exciting! Plus, an airplane mechanic's salary is tough to beat. Wondering how much do aircraft mechanics make a year and how to follow this career path? Keep reading to find out!
What is an Aircraft Mechanic?
Mechanics that work on aircraft require training and a license from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). Airplanes can’t just pull over on the side of the road if something goes wrong, so the government requires extra training and rigorous inspections for airplanes.
There are several types of aircraft mechanics. The primary kind is A&P mechanics. A&P stands for Airframe & Powerplant. That means a mechanic who has been trained and licensed to work on all aspects of the aircraft.
There are also aviation technicians who work primarily on the complex instruments inside the cockpit and behind the scenes that keep airplanes running safely.
There are specific mechanics that only are licensed and trained to work on powerplants. On the flip side, some mechanics are only licensed and trained to work on the airframe.
Since an A&P mechanic is someone who is licensed and trained to work on the whole airplane, they are great candidates for employers due to their vast skillset.
How Much Do Aircraft Mechanics Make a Year?
The average base salary for an airplane mechanic is $41,440, according to Glassdoor.com.
Of course, this amount will vary based on the experience and location of the mechanic. Like most jobs, you gotta work your way up to make more and take on more responsibility.
However, the highest-paid aircraft mechanics make over $70,000 per year plus full benefits. Mechanics that are willing to work hard, put in overtime, or travel can typically earn even more.
The best way to make more money as an aircraft mechanic is to have a four-year degree and take on a management or supervisor role. The stakes are high running and supervising a maintenance operation. Airplanes are expensive and maintenance is a necessary cost. Companies will pay big bucks to a mechanic who is responsible and gets their work done well and on-time.
Experienced mechanics can make up to $50 an hour. Plus, due to the nature of the job, there are often chances for overtime and travel.
Why is the Aircraft Mechanic Salary So High?
The training to become a licensed airplane mechanic is tough. Modern airplanes are complicated. They look more like futuristic spaceships on the inside. Unlike the past, when everyone was smoking, covered in grease, and turning wrenches, maintenance today is much more computer-driven. Many repairs require lots of troubleshooting and computer diagnostics. Procedures must be carefully followed to ensure safe maintenance operations.
The FAA requires lots of oversight and many inspections. Licensed inspectors also make a high salary. To become an inspector, an aircraft mechanic must be experienced and receive more training. This will make you highly competitive and desired by airlines that have hundreds of airplanes that need inspections and servicing.
How Do You Become an Airplane Mechanic?
There are two primary ways to become an aircraft mechanic. Both are great ways to build experience and earn the necessary license.
Option 1: The Military
There are more than 13,000 aircrafts in the U.S. military. It takes a lot of mechanics to keep one airplane ready to fly at a moment’s notice. The military provides outstanding training.
After retiring or discharging from the military, mechanics can find many jobs using their leadership and technical skills. Former military mechanics can land a high aircraft mechanic salary and are coveted by most employers.
Option 2: Civilian Schools
There are programs across the country for those interested in aircraft mechanics. Aviation technical schools teach everything required for an A&P license. They can make anyone an aircraft mechanic in just two years. There are lots of jobs available and they also can help place their graduates into nearby work.
There are also scholarships available and other programs to help interested students become aircraft mechanics. As airlines grow, the need for mechanics will continue increasing.
Both options are a great path to land a rewarding job. Mechanics will always be necessary, and you may be surprised how many schools are nearby you.
Are There Aircraft Mechanic Jobs Available?
The aviation industry is primarily made up of old guys right now. However, many current mechanics are baby boomers and will be retiring over the next decade. Nearly 30% of the mechanics are at or near their retirement age.
In the next decade, there will be lots of upward movement for mechanics. New opportunities and jobs will be available. As the shortage increases, the wages also must rise to meet demand.
The boomers are retiring quickly. A survey shows that aviation technicians will reach a peak level in 2027. The 2020s and 2030s will be a period of growth for the aviation industry, but without mechanics, it won’t be possible.
Looking Ahead: The Future of Aircraft Mechanic’s Salary
It is a challenging and an exciting career path. Aircraft mechanics’ salaries should continue to rise in the next decade. Boomers are retiring, leaving a hole that needs to be filled by skilled mechanics.
There are training schools and programs that allow anyone to earn their license quickly and start making great money within a couple of years. The airlines continue to grow and will require more and more skilled mechanics to help them.
They can’t afford to keep the airplanes on the ground. So, the pay will continue rising and more jobs will be available. This will keep increasing the airplane mechanic salary rate. Plus, pilots are always going to keep breaking things!
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