If you’re considering becoming an aircraft mechanic, one question you might have is if the job involves travel. After all, you do get to work on airplanes and spend a lot of time at airports.
For some people, getting to travel as an aviation maintenance technician sounds great. It provides a cheap or free way to see the world while working and earning money. For others who might have a family and responsibilities at home, the prospect of having to travel for work might be even to eliminate this job from consideration.
Like most things in life, everyone has different needs and preferences. Your ideal lifestyle will determine if travelling for work is a good or bad idea for you.
So, do aircraft mechanics travel for work?
While the opportunity to travel does exist for certain aircraft mechanics, it is typically not a requirement of the job.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the specifics the travel requirements for aviation mechanics.
Being Required to Travel
In most cases, if you work for a major airline you won’t be required to travel. You will work at or near the airport where the airline you work for is located. This provides a central hub for you to work on the maintenance, repair, and inspection of their planes as needed.
Many mechanics report working a typical 40 hours week at their designated work location (although the hours can vary and include all shifts).
There are few examples where the airline would regularly require you to travel and in those cases the job would let you know upfront that it’s expected of you. They don’t just pick a random AMT and force them to travel.
*Related: Do aircraft mechanics get to fly for free?
For Those who WANT to Travel
For some professionals, the chance to travel the domestically or even internationally as a mechanic sounds great. It would give you the ability to travel and see the world while earning great money. For those with few ties to where they live, this can make for an incredible lifestyle.
The good news is that those opportunities do exist.
There are contract positions out there that allow for mechanics to pick up parts, fly to far flung parts of the world for a repair, then return when the job is done. There are many aircraft maintenance technicians who have had the chance to visit all kinds of tropical and exotic locales doing this. The jobs can also be organized where you have time before and after the job to spend some time vacationing or exploring the location you visit.
Travelling for Local Repair Work
There are positions within the aviation industry as an aircraft mechanic where travel is more normal in your day-to-day activities. This usually involves working for a smaller shop where you could be sent out to a small airport to repair a plane where no one else is available.
Typically, this is done at smaller airports that are not too far from your home base so that you can take a quick flight there, make necessary repairs, and fly back home without being gone too long. These types of jobs rarely require overnight travel
Relocating for a Job Abroad
Being an aircraft mechanic is a sought after job all over the world. If you are certified and have some experience here in the United States it will typically not be very hard to land a job in another country.
Many AMT’s report being able to find work in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East without much issues.
For some who want to relocate to one of these areas, it’s an opportunity to move abroad and already have the skills for a great paying career as soon as you get there. For some, they might like the idea of moving to different country for a small amount of time just to have the opportunity to expand their horizons. Who wouldn’t want to spend a year or two somewhere exotic while not having to worry about finding a job?
While the ability to travel may come with your job as an aircraft mechanic, in most cases you won’t be required to travel. This will depend on the exact company you work for and your role there, but in many jobs travelling for work might be an option for those who want to but not a requirement for everyone.
One thing we would recommend is to ask this question to any firm you are currently interviewing with. The sooner you can clarify what their expectations are of you, the sooner you’ll know if the job is a good fit for your lifestyle.
It also helps if your potential employer knows what you’re looking for. Many are willing to make accommodations as long as they know what you need. So, have that conversation sooner rather than later.
Either way, best of luck to you on your career as an AMT if you decide to pursue a career in the field.