The aviation industry is very focused on safety. Keeping passengers, pilots, and their crews safe is one of the most important things they do every day. If you are considering working towards becoming an airplane mechanic, you might be curious if you’ll have to pass a drug test before beginning work. After all, this is a very common question that prospective technicians have.
So, are aircraft mechanics required to pass a drug test?
Yes, aviation maintenance technicians (AMT’s) are required by the FAA to pass a drug screen.
In this article we will look at some of the specifics of the FAA drug testing policy for the Aviation Maintenance Technicians (AMT) career.
Like most other jobs in the aviation industry, working as an aircraft mechanic (i.e. Aviation Maintenance Technician) requires you pass a drug screen. As mentioned above, the aviation industry is very focused on safety. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) does not want to risk the safety of passengers or crew by having someone that works on the aircraft be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Due to the sensitive nature of maintaining, inspecting, and repairing aircraft, everyone involved in the process is required to be drug tested. This even includes any mechanic that signs off on the log book of work done by other mechanics.
Related: What are the requirements to become an aircraft maintenance technician?
What Substances are Aviation Maintenance Technicians Tested For?
The FAA uses the Department of Transportation (DOT) testing guidelines. This means that you will be tested for the following substances:
Testing positive for any of the above substances will result in a failed drug test.
What if you Fail the Drug Test?
If you are currently applying for one of these positions, failing a drug test will end the hiring process and you will not be hired. If you already received and accepted an offer, it will be rescinded. Again, this is something that airlines, the FAA, and service providers take very seriously.
Refusing the Test
If you refuse to take the test it will be treated the same as a failed test. You will not be hired for the position and your job offer (if you had one) will be rescinded.
Additional Testing Once Hired
Once you pass the test and are hired, you will still be subject to future random drug testing. This is an ongoing process to make sure that everyone working on aircraft are not creating an unsafe environment for anyone who will have to fly in that aircraft. The FAA also has additional rules regarding the minimum percentage of employees that must be tested and what that process looks like. For a more detailed look on additional drug testing once hired, take a look at this more detailed breakdown.
Another situation that could lead to you being asked to take a drug test is if there is any reasonable suspicion that you might be using drugs. This includes a colleague or manager thinking you’re under the influence at work or any situation that would cause concern for your employer.
It’s important to note that once you are working as an aircraft mechanic you will be subject to these drug tests for your entire career. The best advice is to make sure that you aren’t taking any substances that would cause you to fail the test. This will prevent a lot of problems for you in your career.
Legal Marijuana Use
Many people considering working in the aviation industry has questions about marijuana use. Over the last few years, more and more areas have made the use of marijuana legal. You might be wondering how this affects your role as an aviation maintenance technician.
State and local laws regarding marijuana usage do not apply to drug tests administered by the FAA. Also, FAA rules are specific to the aviation industry and apply regardless of local laws.
Marijuana use being legal is very different than you being allowed to use it while working in a role the FAA considered to be safety sensitive. You will not be work as an aircraft mechanic if you test positive for marijuana regardless of the legal standing in your state.
As you can see, safety is of the utmost important in this position along with any position that can affect aviation safety. Everyone who works on or in the aviation industry must pass a drug test. This includes pilots, flight attendants, and aircraft mechanics. Since you’ll be performing repairs, maintenance, and inspections on aircraft then you are subject to the drug testing policies outlined above.
This can be a very rewarding and lucrative career, so make sure that if you are beginning the process of applying for jobs you are not putting yourself in a position to mess up your career by failing a drug test.
Best of luck to you in all of your career goals!
- How long does it take to become an aircraft mechanic?
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