Aircraft Maintenance Technician : Our Ultimate Guide

Why Aircraft Maintenance Technicians are in high demand

Whether you are a student looking to join the ranks of Aircraft Mechanics or Aircraft Maintenance Technician (AMT) with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or an apprentice pursuing his Part-66 license from the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in Europe, grab an oily rag. 

The aviation sector relies heavily on aircraft maintenance specialists to keep aircraft safe and flying. Aircraft Mechanics are responsible for examining, replacing, and maintaining aircraft systems, avionics, flight controls and engine/fuel systems. New demands for highly skilled experts in the fields of battery technology, composite structures, and hydrogen systems is now greater than ever due to the critical need for sustainable transportation.

Below you will find details on what an aircraft maintenance technician does, the qualifications needed, education, and training avenues. We also look at the various specialties within the industry and the tools and equipment they work with. 

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    Duties of Aircraft Maintenance Technicians (AMT)

    The MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) sector employs mechanics at all levels. Technicians carry out tasks such as

    • Component removal and installation,

    • Servicing

    • Troubleshooting

    • Structural repairs/ rectification

    • Rigging and adjustment/test

    • AD/SB modifications and inspections on both the airframe and the engines.

    A new breed of technician is also required. We need them for the new technology that will help us get to #NetZero. They will be responsible for inspecting, maintaining, and fixing new Electric and Hydrogen powered aircraft electrical systems, flying controls, and avionics. This comprises checking that the wiring, connectors, and electrical system’s parts are in good operating order. To make sure the aircraft is receiving enough power, they must also inspect the battery packs and other power sources.

    Aviation Mechanic Skills, Education and Licenses

    Here are the categories of technician under the FAA Part 147 direct (or apprentice) routes. 

    • General TechnicianAviation Maintenance

    • Airframe Technician Part 1Aviation Maintenance

    • Airframe Technician Part 2Aviation Maintenance

    • Powerplant Technician Part 1Aviation Maintenance

    • Powerplant Technician Part 2Aviation Maintenance

    You can also get both and this is known as an Aircraft & Powerplant (A&P) Certificate. 

    The FAA have a great website that explains how you can get certified. 

    EASA have the same Part 147 training structure and you can find that data at EASA. The licenses are also categorized with the basic being the EASA Part 66 Category A Maintenance License.  

    There are several routes to becoming an Aircraft Mechanic or Aircraft Engineer. Here are the major ones’

    1. Airline Apprenticeship
    2. Maintenance Organization Apprenticeship
    3. Ab-initio technician training program
    4. Military Apprenticeship
    5. Self-Study route (Self-funded course, Exams & Experience)
    6. Academic Route (Degree in a technical acceptable to the Authority)

    Specialist Roles for Aviation Mechanics

    Some specialist roles for aircraft mechanics on new technology aircraft include

    • Avionics technicians

    • Powerplant technicians

    • Airframe technicians

    • Composite technicians

    • Aircraft systems technicians

    • Instrumentation technicians

    Avionics technicians are responsible for maintaining and repairing an aircraft’s electronic systems. Powerplant technicians work on an aircraft’s engines and other powerplant systems like the APU. Airframe technicians maintain and repair the structure of the aircraft. Composite technicians specialize in working with composite materials used in modern aircraft like the B787 and A350.

    Systems technicians are responsible for troubleshooting and maintaining complex integrated systems such as flight control or navigation systems. Instrumentation technicians focus on the maintenance of instruments used to measure various parameters such as speed, altitude, or fuel levels.

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    The Tools and Equipment used by Aviation Technicians

    Aircraft maintenance technicians use a variety of tools and testing techniques to inspect, diagnose, and repair aircraft components. These include

    Hand tools

    such as wrenches, pliers, screwdrivers, and hammers; power tools such as drills and grinders; specialized tools such as torque wrenches and rivet guns;

    Diagnostic equipment

    such as multimeters, oscilloscopes, borescopes, and infrared thermometers.

    Testing techniques

    such as visual inspections, pressure tests, electrical system tests, vibration analysis, oil analysis, ultrasonic inspections, eddy current inspections, x-ray inspections, magnetic particle inspections (MPI), dye penetrant inspections (DPI), and nondestructive testing (NDT).

    Career Outlook- Salaries and Roles

    Because FAA and EASA-approved credentials are acknowledged all around the world, this is a career with long-term growth potential that will enable you to travel.

    Over the next 20 years, the airline sector will experience strong long-term expansion, with annual passenger numbers rising from 713 million to 1.3 billion. This increase in demand will necessitate more aircraft, which will necessitate more aircraft maintenance employees. You will have the chance to travel and experience different cultures because these jobs are spread out all over the world. The strict requirements that FAA-qualified aircraft maintenance technicians must uphold make them highly sought-after. English is also the primary language of aviation. 

    Role 2021 Mean Annual Wage ($) Projected Employees by 2031 Entry Level Education % Increase in Employment by 2031 Employers
    Aerospace Engineer $122,270 166,452 Bachelors Degree 6% OEMs, MROs
    Aircraft Maintenance Technician $ 65,380 153,400 Postsecondary non Degree 6% Airlines, MRO, Airports
    Hanger Manager $ 98,230 10,000 High School Diploma 8% Airports
    Operations Specialist $ 47,880 5,000 High School Diploma 8% Airports
    Aviation Safety Inspector $ 77,560 15,000 High School Diploma 4.5% Airlines, Airports
    Aviation Planner $ 76,730 35,000 Bachelors Degree 2.5% Airlines
    Aviation Systems Engineer $ 122, 270 153,400 Bachelors Degree 6.3% Airlines, MROs
    Aviation Human Resources Specialist $ 126,230 234,000 Bachelors Degree 7.3% Airlines, Airports, MROs
    Aviation Data Analyst $ 96,710 125,000 Bachelors Degree 8% All Employers

    *Salary is Median Range in US 2021 dollars according to the US Bureau of Labor statistics. This has been crossed referenced with five top G7 countries and found to be within 3-5%. For indicative purposes only. 

    Tips for Aspiring Aircraft Maintenance Technicians

    Get certified

    Obtaining an FAA or EASA-approved Aircraft Maintenance Technician (AMT) certification is essential for succeeding in the aircraft maintenance field. This certification will demonstrate to employers that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to work on aircraft safely and effectively.

    Develop technical skills & Knowledge 

    Aircraft mechanics must possess a wide range of technical skills, including electrical, mechanical, hydraulic, and pneumatic systems knowledge. It’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest technologies and advancements in the industry by taking continuing education courses or attending seminars.

    Learn safety protocols

    Safety is paramount in the aviation industry, so it’s important for aspiring aircraft mechanics to understand all safety protocols and procedures related to their job duties. This includes following all FAA regulations as well as any additional safety guidelines set by the employer.


    Building relationships with other professionals in the aviation industry can be beneficial for career advancement opportunities and staying informed about new developments in the field. Attend conferences, join professional organizations, and take advantage of networking opportunities whenever possible.

    Stay organized

    Aircraft mechanics must be able to keep track of multiple tasks at once while ensuring accuracy. Airworthiness being a critical component. 

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