If you are interested in becoming an aircraft mechanic one of the questions you might have is how much they make. After all, as much as you might enjoy working on airplanes you will still need to earn a living and take care of yourself and your family. The last thing you’d want to do is spend the time and money to start a new career only to find out that it doesn’t pay as much as you thought it did.
So, how much do aircraft mechanics really make?
Aircraft mechanics can expect to make between $34,000 and $110,000 depending on their level of experience and certification.
In this article we’ll take a look at how much aircraft mechanics make as well as the factors that affect their pay and how you can make sure you earn as much as possible.
Large Pay Range
As you can see, there is a large range in the pay for this career. This is due to many factors.
Mechanics that are just starting out in the field can expect to be towards the bottom of that range, especially for those in smaller markets or those working on smaller aircraft. There are also a number of other factors that affect how much you can expect to earn as an aircraft mechanic.
In the next section we’ll take a closer looks at these factors and how they impact salaries.
*Related: Requirements to be an aircraft mechanic
Factors that Affect Pay
One of the factors that will affect how much you earn is where you work geographically. Some markets tend to pay more than others based on factors like local cost of living/wages and market demand. If you’re in a big city where salaries are typically higher and there is currently a big demand from airlines at the airport that can’t find help, then you can expect to earn more than average.
If you’re in a smaller market working for a smaller firm in an area where there isn’t as much demand then you might find yourself making a little less than the above example.
The good news here is that even the ones that pay a little less are typically located in places where things like rent are cheaper too. So, you’ll still be able to maintain a similar lifestyle to someone earning a little bit more but is stuck paying big city prices.
The amount of experience you have also plays a role in determining how much you are paid as an aviation maintenance technician.
Like most careers, you can expect to earn more money as you continue to gain experience and seniority. Firms are more likely to pay more for someone who they know knows what they’re doing instead of someone fresh out of school.
If you’re currently just getting started in your career and this concerns you, keep in mind that it is temporary and that you’ll start earning more very soon. This is also not specific to this industry as lower pay for less experience it the norm for most industries.
Types of Aircraft
Another factor that can affect how much you pay is the type of aircraft you have experience working on. Experience with some aircraft is much more specialized and requires skills that few technicians have.
Also, mechanics that work on jets can expect to earn more than those that work on smaller airplanes.
One thing to keep in mind here is that if there is a type of aircraft that seems to demand a higher salary for to work on, you can always go above and beyond to have the chance to work on that aircraft to gain valuable experience.
Once you have this experience you can either be assigned to do those tasks with your current employer (while making more money) or apply for a position elsewhere to use your new skills.
Current Market Conditions
Although the salaries listed above show averages over the last few years when data was collected, due to current market conditions salaries have increased.
We took a look at current salaries being offered as of this writing and we found most positions above that average listed above and many in the low six-figure range. The factors leading to these increased salaries include increased demand for technicians, a shortage of technicians, and an overall increase in wages due to inflation in the United States.
In addition to the competitive pay listed above, aircraft mechanics are also typically offered a comprehensive benefits package. Some of the benefits that are often offered include:
- Health Insurance
- Life Insurance
- Vision/Dental Insurance
- Health Savings Accounts (HSA)
- Paid Vacation
- Paid Holidays
- Plus more!
There are a lot of benefits that can make a huge difference in your life. While many people tend to look only at pay when comparing careers, these benefits should also be taken into consideration since they affect your quality of life. Also, having to pay for these out of pocket would be very expensive.
Here is a much more in-depth look at the benefits of being an aircraft mechanic.
Do Aircraft Mechanics Get a Signing Bonus?
Yes! This career is in high demand and employers are willing to pay an upfront bonus to employees in order to recruit them.
These bonuses are usually in the range of $5,000 to $15,000.
One example is Envoy Air. They are offering brand new mechanics an upfront bonus of $7,500 and experienced mechanics up to $15,000. You can read more about this program on their website.
Can you make $100,000 year as an aircraft mechanic?
Yes! While breaking into the 6-figure category does require you to have above average experience, it is absolutely possible to make over $100,000 annually as an aircraft mechanic. Another option to boost your income into this category is to use your experience as a technician to get promoted. There are many management and leadership roles that an AMT could eventually earn that pay well over the $100,000 mark.
Can I work overseas as an aircraft mechanic?
Yes! There is a need for aviation maintenance technicians all over the world. There is currently a shortage of people with this training and experience so landing a job in most places should be pretty reasonable. Just note that you’ll still have to meet whatever the local regulatory and training requirements are. You likely can’t just show up and start work. That being said, most employers will want to help with any paperwork that needs to be done so you can legally work there.
Being an aviation maintenance technician can be a very lucrative field. Not only does the job come with a wide assortment of benefits, it also has a very competitive salary. The amount you earn will depend on a number of factors including experience, location, and your skill. That being said, it is still a great living especially when compared to other careers.
If you think you might be interested in becoming an aviation maintenance tech, you should further explore the career by talking to someone at one of the technical schools in your area.
Best of luck to you on achieving all of your career goals!