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What Does an Aircraft Mechanic Do?

If you’re fascinated by planes, here’s a job that will help you understand what makes flying possible. Aircraft mechanics or aircraft maintenance technicians keep aircraft flying safely by performing scheduled maintenance and repairs. They follow detailed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines. They identify problems, replace parts and do maintenance on various aircraft parts.

Many mechanics — also called airframe and powerplant (A&P) mechanics — are generalists. These certified mechanics repair many types of aircraft, from commercial airliners to private business jets to single- or multi-engine propeller-driven planes. Others are specialists who focus on a specific type of aircraft or a specific part. For example, avionics technicians repair and maintain a plane’s electronic instruments.

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Median Salary $
64,000
Jobs Available
12,110+
An aircraft inspects a jet engine in an airplane hangar
Avionics technicians help keep flight travel safe and on schedule. (Credit: Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock)
Duties + Responsibilities
  • Diagnose problems with mechanical and electrical systems 
  • Repair systems and specific parts, like brakes
  • Replace defective parts
  • Inspect all aircraft components, including de-icing systems, hydraulic systems and landing gear
  • Follow FAA and other safety rules
  • Read maintenance manuals
  • Order supplies and equipment for repairs and maintenance
  • Keep detailed records 
Education + Training

Mechanics must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent. Students who want to be aircraft mechanics must attend an FAA-approved aviation maintenance technician school. These skills can also be learned on the job or through military training in aviation maintenance, which is recognized by the FAA.

Aircraft mechanics must have 30 months of experience to qualify for A&P certification, which is required to work independently. (Airframe or A covers non-engine related mechanical, structural and skin-related components of aircraft maintenance; powerplant or P covers engine work.) About 18 months are needed to get either A or P certification. Many mechanics get both certifications. This requires passing written, oral and practical exams.

On-the-job training must be through an FAA Certified Repair Station under the direct supervision of a certified mechanic.

Avionics technicians typically earn an associate degree.

You May Be a Good Fit for This Position If You
  • Are detail-oriented
  • Have good hand-eye coordination
  • Have excellent troubleshooting skills
  • Are physically strong enough to lift heavy equipment
  • Have good dexterity and excel in the use of power tools
  • Have good balance to work on ladders or scaffolding

Aircraft Mechanic training in your area

Coordinates

Powerplant Technology, A.A.S.

Snead State Community College
Boaz (0.0 Miles)

Aviation Systems Technology, A.A.S.

Wayne Community College
Goldsboro (0.0 Miles)

Aviation Maintenance Technology Airframe, A.A.S.

Midland College
Midland (0.0 Miles)

Aviation Maintenance Technology Certificate of Achievement

Reedley College
Reedley (0.0 Miles)

Piper Aircraft Apprenticeship Program

Indian River State College
Fort Pierce (0.0 Miles)

Powerplant Maintenance Technician Certificate

Big Bend Community College
Moses Lake (0.0 Miles)

Aviation Maintenance Technical Certificate

Arkansas Northeastern College
Blytheville (0.0 Miles)

Aviation Maintenance Technology- Powerplant Certificate

Tarrant County College District
Fort Worth (0.0 Miles)

Aviation Maintenance Technology Powerplant Certificate of Achievement

San Diego Miramar College
San Diego (0.0 Miles)

Airframe Maintenance Technician Certificate

West Los Angeles College
Culver City (0.0 Miles)

Aviation Maintenance Technology - Airframe Concentration, A.S. CT

Vincennes University
Vincennes (0.0 Miles)

Aiframe Technology Certificate

Snead State Community College
Boaz (0.0 Miles)

Find Aircraft Mechanic Jobs in Your Area

Coordinates

15G Aircraft Structural Repairer

Army National Guard
Jacksonville ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 4 days 20 hours ago

15D Aircraft Powertrain Repairer

Army National Guard
Boone ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 4 days 20 hours ago

15G Aircraft Structural Repairer

Army National Guard
Kankakee ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 4 days 20 hours ago

15T UH-60 Utility Helicopter Repairer

Army National Guard
North Little Rock ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 4 days 20 hours ago

15T UH-60 Utility Helicopter Repairer

Army National Guard
Aurora ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 4 days 20 hours ago

Aircraft Mechanic II (H-60)

Tyonek Native Corporation
San Diego ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 4 days 20 hours ago

Aircraft Maintenance Controller - Gogo Commercial Aviation

Intelsat Corporation
Chicago ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 1 day 20 hours ago

Sheet Metal Mechanic (Depot)

DynCorp International
Elizabeth City ( 0.0 ) Miles
Posted 2 days 20 hours ago