If you are considering becoming an aircraft mechanic, you might be wondering if the career is worth pursuing. You might have questions about the pay, how hard it is to get hired, and if you’d like the job.
Deciding if you should be an Aviation Maintenance Technician will come down to looking at the Pros and Cons of the career and deciding if it’s a good fit for you.
In this article we will go over many of the pros and cons of the job so you can compare it to your preferences and goals to see if this is a great career for you. There is no right answer since any of these aspects of the job can be amazing for one person and terrible for another.
My suggestion would be to take note of the following items and think about how happy and motivated you would be to go to work every day if this is what your job duties included.
In the following sections we will take a look at some of the key aspects of being an aircraft mechanic and break down how they can be a plus or a minus for you depending on what you are looking for in a career.
Fast Paced & Varied Work Environment
Being an aircraft mechanic can be an exciting and fast paced environment. This is not the kind of job where you’ll find yourself sitting at a desk 40 hours per week. You’ll be busy working on aircraft and constantly busy. There are various tasks to be performed including routine maintenance on aircraft, repair work, inspections, and more.
If you enjoy a job that keeps you on your feet, then this is definitely something you’ll love about this job. You won’t be stuck in a cubicle and you’ll rarely be bored. If you enjoy having an exciting job that keeps you on your feet then being an aviation maintenance technician might be perfect for you.
Some people do prefer a more relaxed work environment that’s more structured. Being in such a fast paced and busy environment can be a negative if you’re the type of person who would rather be at your desk following a process or routine.
Advanced Technical Skills
Being an AMT requires you to have significant technical skills when it comes to maintaining, inspecting, and repairing aircraft. This involves learning to use a variety of tools, software programs, and have vast knowledge of the systems that make an aircraft function.
This is a huge pro if you’re the type of person that likes to learn about how things work and then get to fix them. Many successful aviation technicians are the type of people that love to tinker and learn how things work on their own. If you have this type of natural curiosity about mechanical objects, you might have the perfect personality for this career.
Not everyone is interested in learning how things work and then have the patience to fix them. If you don’t like to get your hands dirty fixing things, this aspect of the job would definitely be a Con for you. It also happens to be a very large part of the job so you should really keep this in mind as you make your decision on pursuing this career.
Detail Oriented Work
Being a aircraft mechanic requires you to be a very detail oriented professional.
You’ll be working with a large array of complex systems and machinery. You’ll have to keep detailed records, read extremely details manuals, and perform duties that require precise knowledge. This is not the type of work job where you can “wing it” and still be successful.
For most people in the industry, this attention to detail is a pro. This reason for this is that it really allows you to focus on doing a good job and and doing things right instead of just churning out a large volume of work. Aircraft maintenance technicians are very proud of their work and are responsible for thousands of people taking a flight and landing safely.
Knowing that your attention to detail and hard work made this happen is a very rewarding part of the job.
The downside of a career that is this detail oriented is that some people do not enjoy that type of work.
If you find yourself bored by reading detailed manuals, keeping detailed notes, and generally prefer to just get stuff done quickly, this might not be the best job for you.
Communication Skills (Written & Verbal)
Being an aircraft mechanic also requires above average communication skills. You’ll be working with many other professionals and will have to not only discuss work with them but document your work in writing for others to see.
There can be a decent amount of paperwork in this field since all work done on aircraft has to be documented and inspected.
This is a pro for the job if you find yourself to be a good communicator. Being a good listener, able to effectively communicate to others, and read/write will make the job easier for you and give you an advantage when it comes to promotions. If this sounds like something you’re good at, this career is an even better fit for you.
To many people, one of the reasons they go into the trades is to focus on doing great work with their hands and not have to worry about paperwork and explaining things. If you prefer to just work and avoid communication with peers, this aspect of the job might be a negative for you.
Pro: Salary and Benefits
One of biggest Pros of this career is being able to earn a great salary. The average aviation maintenance technician salary is over $91,000 annually. When you first finish school/training, you can expect to start with a slightly lower salary closer to $73,000. Like in most careers, as you gain experience your salary will increase.
The most experiences technicians earn well over $100,000 annually. This gives you something to work towards as you gain experience and develop in your career.
One other thing to keep in mind is that these salaries are for technicians, but there is also the opportunity to grow in your career and become a member of management. There are other roles at airlines and maintenance companies that specifically manage and oversee technicians. With some additional experience and training you can work towards one of these promotions and make even more money.
Being an aircraft mechanic also pays off when it comes to benefits. Since you’ll most likely be working for an airline or company that provides maintenance/repair services to airline and aircraft owners, you can expect to qualify for above average benefits. Here are just some of the benefits that most aviation maintenance professioanls qualify for:
- Health insurance
- Dental insurance
- Life insurance
- 401K/retirement benefits
- Short term and long term disability
- Paid vacation time
- Paid sick time
- Paid holidays
- and more!
As you can see, the total compensation for being in this industry is well above the average job and even above most other jobs that require you to attend trade school. In fact, the average job that requires a 4 year college degree will pay less than being an experience aircraft technician.
Pro: Job Growth and Career Outlook
The future job growth and career outlook for aviation maintenance technicians (AMT) is definitely a Pro of the career. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics this career is growing at a faster than average speed compared to other careers.
There is a shortage of technicians here in the United States and that trend is expected to continue as more and more young people continue to pursue more white collar jobs.
This is a huge benefit to those who become AMT’s. It will make getting a job significantly easier than most fields. Your skills/training will are also highly transferable as you can do this job anywhere in the country or even in the world. This makes it easier to find a new job if you decide to reloate.
*Related: Requirements to be an aircraft mechanic
Pro: Education and Training Requirements
Becoming an AMT requires you to either work in the industry while you learn or attend a technical college (in some cases both). Once you have this experience and education, you’ll have to pass written, practical, and oral exams with the FAA in order to become licensed.
There are several benefits of a career with this type of training.
First off, it allows the flexibility for you to decide how you would like to get your career started. For some people, spending the required 30+ months learning while they work as an apprentice is great options since it doesn’t require you to put everything on hold and attend school in order to work towards being a technician.
For others, having the option to attend school for as little as 14 months and come away with the education to start a high paying career is an opportunity too good to pass up. Either way, this career offers options that many others do not.
Another benefit to this career is that it doesn’t require a bachelor’s degree. Attending college full time for 4 or 5 years take a lot of time, is very expensive, and can really get in the way of people getting the career they want. Becoming an aircraft mechanic allows for you to avoid this since there are much quicker options to getting into the field.
Pro: Rewarding Career
One last thing worth mentioning as a Pro of this career is that it is very rewarding. AMT’s have a huge positive impact on the world. People are able to safely fly from destination to destination around the world thanks to the hard work AMT’s do. Vacations, business travel, and cargo are all dependent on having the ability to fly safely.
Without aircraft mechanics, that would not be possible.
Is becoming an aviation maintenance technician worth it? If you read the above descriptions and find the job sounds like something you’d enjoy, then it probably is worth it.
It’s a career that has great pay, great benefits, growth potential, and is very rewarding for the right person. The time and effort you would invest into becoming an AMT would be a great investment.
If this sounds like something you’d be interested in learning more about, you should contact a school that offers a program to become an AMT so you can learn more and see if it’s the right fit for you.