What is an Aviation Maintenance Technician: A Career Description

An aviation maintenance technician (AMT) career might suit you. However, here is what you need to know on job description, duties, education requirements, licensing requirements, salary & employment outlook:

What is an Aviation Maintenance Technician?

An aviation maintenance technician repairs and maintains all types of aircraft, such as planes and helicopters.

Duties

The duties of an AMT vary based on what company they work for. They can do anything from general maintenance to specialization in a specific area, like the airframe or powerplant. AMTs are required to diagnose issues, both mechanical and electrical, replace worn out or damaged parts and regularly inspect an aircraft on a maintenance schedule.

Educational Requirements

Aircraft maintenance schools offer programs you can complete in 18-24 months with hands-on training. The program’s curriculum should be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). An AMT has to study a “general” set of subjects for at least 1900 hours for subjects relating to General, Airframe and Powerplant.

“General” curriculum studies examples: Electricity, weight and balance, technical drawings, pneumatics, corrosion control, maintenance manuals and federal regulations, especially regarding repair and modification procedures.

Airframe studies examples: Inspection, fasteners, structures (like wood, composite, and sheet metal), welding, assembly, rigging, finishes, atmosphere controls and hydraulics.

Powerplant studies examples: Inspection, engine theories and repair, instruments, electrical, ignition, and fire protection.

Obtaining a FAA Airframe and Powerplant Certification

General rules to be eligible for a mechanic certificate in the U.S.:

  • Be 18 years or older
  • Able to fluently read, speak, and understand English
  • Meet educational or experience requirements
  • Pass a set of oral and practical required tests within 24 months

Salary and Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were 137,300 aviation maintenance jobs in 2014. BLS projects job outlook for holders of both Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) certificate to be greater than only holding certification for one of the two. The annual mean wage pay for aviation maintenance technicians (mechanics) was $61,190 as of May 2016.

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