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How to Become an Aircraft Maintenance Technician

A career as an aircraft maintenance technician (AMT) can be both lucrative and challenging. According to Indeed, the average salary for aviation technicians is about $55,230 or about $26 per hour. Combine that with excellent benefits and strong demand in the job sector and a career as an AMT just may be the thing to look further into.
Becoming an aviation technician requires meeting specific FAA-approved requirements as well as gaining the appropriate training. Testing is also a required aspect of becoming an aircraft maintenance technician. In today’s post, we’ll briefly summarize these requirements and share tips on getting the information you need to move forward.

AMT vs. Aircraft Mechanic

First a few distinctions. What’s the difference between and AMT and aircraft mechanic? Both have similar requirements for certification, but the main difference lies in the salary amounts. Aircraft mechanics make a bit less per year at a minimum $49,000. Also an aircraft mechanic may be required to be a bit less knowledgeable about the specific operational features of an airplane, and technicians may provide more specialized skills.

Required Knowledge for Becoming an AMT

Know-how is the central most important aspect of becoming an AMT, and the best way to gain the knowledge that’s required is through special certification courses taught at community colleges and aviation technician schools across the country.
There are about 170 schools of this kind in the U.S. A quick look at the membership of the Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC), which advocates on behalf of 150 of these schools, gives a good idea about the types of schools available.
Coursework can take anywhere from 15 months to 2 years to complete depending the school and curriculum chosen. Students will learn how to repair and completely overhaul an aircraft as well as specific techniques for aircraft maintenance, including cleaning and polishing an aircraft, and making sure it’s always up to date with inspections and safety regulations.

Achieving FAA Certification

Aviation mechanics and technicians need education, training and certification in order to achieve the highest levels of success in the field. Certification comes through the FAA with specific requirements, including maintenance experience and examinations.
Aviation mechanic and technician schools and community colleges can offer the coursework approved by the FAA as well as the examinations needed to test skills and obtain certification. The main certification required to become an aircraft mechanic or maintenance technician is called the Airframe and Powerplant, or A&P, certification. Applicants can choose to go for the Airframe Certification the Powerplant Certification or both.
Beyond the A&P certification, aviation mechanics and technicians may apply for a number of specific certifications and specializations to gain even more skills and authority within the field. These include specializations for Avionics Technicians, Designated Airworthiness Technicians, Inspection Authorized Mechanics and more.

What Aircraft Maintenance Technicians Do

Aircraft maintenance technicians and mechanics must perform a wide array of duties needed for private and federal aircraft organizations. One of their main jobs is to perform routine maintenance which involves selecting the best products and parts for the aircraft and keeping them in great shape.
Familiarity with the best air craft metal polish is often of high priority for AMTs. This is because knowing which metal polishes work best on an aircraft can help maintain it and keep it looking at its best in any weather conditions and even after many trips. AMTs also need to know the best methods and tools for buffing an aircraft and keeping it clean on a daily basis.
Beyond concerns about maintaining the outside appearance an an aircraft, AMT’s are also required to have skills in aircraft electronics and mechanics. These skills are often characterized as airframe skills, and AMT’s may be certified in this area through accredited programs across the country.
AMTs must also be skilled in powerplant operations. This involves working with the engine and the propellers of an aircraft. It is possible to receive an AMT license from the FAA with a powerplant rating, an airframe rating or both.
Additionally, AMTs may also be authorized to perform inspections on aircraft. This requires a special inspections rating on the AMT license and and enables an AMT to ensure an aircraft meets all regulations and requirements under FAA rules and regulations for safety and maintenance.

How To Begin the Process

In order to become eligible for the AMT license, applicants must have previous experience working with planes and jets. This may come from military experience or it may come from previous employment. Evidence of the prior work experience will need to presented at a local FAA office in order for an applicant to proceed with the application process.
Next, applicants must complete oral and written exams to qualify for an AMT license. As mentioned, these test focus on aspects of aircraft maintenance and mechanics, including general knowledge, airframe knowledge and power plant knowledge.
Once the oral and written exams have been passed, the applicant can obtain the certificate or license from the FAA that authorizes working on an aircraft.

Becoming an Aircraft Maintenance Technician

Becoming an aircraft maintenance technician offers a lucrative career and exciting job opportunities. In order to become a certified AMT, applicants need solid experience working on an aircraft and must also take courses with an accredited school or program to pass FAA regulated written and oral exams. With an AMT license, workers can expect to find work for airline companies, under government contracts or with private hangars.
Becoming an AMT is an exciting career with lots to offer. For more information, visit the FAA website.

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