If you are considering becoming an aircraft mechanic, you may be curious if you’ll be allowed to have body art like piercings in that role. Having piercings has exploded in popularity over the last few years. It isn’t an uncommon practice for both men and women to have piercings and they can include spots like your face, nose, ears, and lips.
If you enjoy expressing yourself with piercings, you likely want to know if this will impact your career as an A&P mechanic sooner rather than later. So, let’s answer this question once and for all
Can aircraft mechanics have piercings?
Yes, aircraft mechanics are allowed to have piercings and other body art.
Let’s take a look at some of the details as well as some potential exceptions to this policy.
Why Do Employers Allow Piercings?
There are several reasons why most employers don’t mind if their aviation maintenance technicians have visible piercings.
No customer interactions
The main reason is that this is typically not a customer facing position. Most of the time the people that are working hard to inspect, maintain, and repair airplanes are doing so at a facility where they won’t encounter airline passengers or any one else. This is a “behind the scenes” job that while absolutely vital to the aviation industry, typically happens without anyone noticing.
While airlines have very strict policies regarding appearance for those that do interact with the public (like pilots, gate agents, and flight attendants) mechanics are not included in these policies since it’s assumed they won’t see any customers.
Does not affect job
Another reason that employers allow piercings is that they recognize that things like piercings (along with tattoos and hair dye) don’t negatively impact anyone’s job performance. Once upon a time employers were much more strict about policies like this. These days, more and more employers just want to make sure the job is getting done correctly. Being able to perform high quality work is much more important than how you express yourself.
Competitive job market
Another reason that employers are willing to look past issues like this is that it is becoming increasingly difficult to hire aviation mechanics due to a shortage in the marketplace.
Airlines and repair facilities know that if they refuse to hired qualified candidates over something this trivial they will struggle to recruit and retain talent. In fact, if word gets out that one airlines is unnecessarily difficult when it comes to issues like this one, more technicians will just leave to work for the employers that allow it.
Are There Exceptions?
Like most things, there are always situations where this will not be allowed. Here are a few scenarios where body art like piercings might be an issue for your employer.
Much of this article is focused on employers here in the United States. Once you leave the U.S. you might find there are still many places in the world that are much more conservative as it relates to things like dress codes, tattoos, piercings, make-up, and other things that fall under your appearance.
While being a mechanic in these other countries still doesn’t mean you’ll regularly interact with customers or passengers, you might still find that they have much more stringent standards for issues like this.
Company Specific Policies
While this article was researched by reaching out to people currently working in the industry, there is no way to guarantee that every repair station, airline, and other employer has the same policy.
While rare, you can still find a few employers that would take issue with having a facial piercing.
The best course of action to make sure this isn’t an issue where you plan to work is to make sure you confirm what their policy is before you start working there.
It’s always a good idea to show up to the interview in person and take a look around. Ask yourself if it looks like everyone else meets a very specific “look” that would make you feel like you don’t belong. Also, it’s not a bad idea to flat out ask if they have any policies on dress, body art, or other areas of your appearance that they might have an issue with down the road.
It’s always better to be upfront so you don’t have any unpleasant surprises to deal with down the road.
The military still has different policies on piercings depending on your gender, branch of service, rank, position and more. There are many variable that could affect what you are allowed to do.
Since this can be a very nuanced topic with many difference answers depending on your situation, we strongly recommend that you speak with someone in your branch of service to confirm what their policy is.
Having a piercing does not affect your ability to perform your duties as an aircraft maintenance professional. Most airlines, aircraft repair firms, and other employers will not have explicit rules regarding any face or body piercings you might have as long as it does not affect your job.
This is great news for anyone who enjoys expressing themselves with body art like piercings but would also like to work as an aviation mechanic.
At the end of the day, as long as you can help keep our airplanes operating safely, it shouldn’t matter what you look like.