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How To Become Airplane Mechanic


by Meggie Harshman



Welcome to the exciting world of becoming an airplane mechanic! If you have a passion for aviation and love working with your hands, this career path may be the perfect fit. Airplane mechanics play a crucial role in ensuring the safety and functionality of aircraft, making it an essential and rewarding profession.


In this guide, we will walk you through the steps necessary to become an airplane mechanic. From researching the role to gaining hands-on experience and obtaining the necessary certifications, we will provide you with all the information you need to kickstart your journey in this field.


Being an airplane mechanic is not only about fixing mechanical issues; it requires a deep understanding of aircraft systems, meticulous attention to detail, and the ability to work under pressure. You will be responsible for performing regular inspections, diagnosing and repairing mechanical problems, and keeping aircraft in top-notch condition.


One of the exciting aspects of being an airplane mechanic is the opportunity to work with cutting-edge technology and complex equipment. The aviation industry is constantly evolving, and as a mechanic, you will be at the forefront of these advancements, ensuring that aircraft are compliant with safety regulations and employing the latest maintenance practices.


Another attractive aspect of this career is its stability and job prospects. With the continuous growth of the aviation industry, the demand for qualified airplane mechanics remains high. Whether you choose to work for an airline, an aircraft manufacturing company, or as a freelance contractor, you can expect to have a fulfilling career with plenty of opportunities for advancement.


It’s important to note that becoming an airplane mechanic requires a combination of education, practical experience, and certifications. The process may vary depending on your location and the specific regulations in place, so it’s crucial to research the requirements in your country or region.


Now that we have a general understanding of what it means to be an airplane mechanic, let’s dive into the first step: research and understand the role.


Step 1: Research and Understand the Role

Before embarking on your journey to become an airplane mechanic, it’s essential to research and gain a comprehensive understanding of the role. This will help you make an informed decision about pursuing this career and give you a solid foundation for your future endeavors.


Start by exploring the responsibilities and duties of an airplane mechanic. Familiarize yourself with the various types of aircraft, their components, and systems. Understand the importance of maintenance, inspections, and repairs in ensuring the safety and airworthiness of aircraft.


One way to dive deeper into the role is by connecting with professionals already working in the industry. Reach out to airplane mechanics, either through online forums or local aviation organizations, and ask them about their experiences. They can provide valuable insights into the challenges, rewards, and day-to-day tasks involved in the profession.


Additionally, consider shadowing or volunteering at an aircraft maintenance facility. This hands-on experience will give you a firsthand look at the work environment, tools used, and the level of attention to detail required. It will also allow you to interact with mechanics, observe aircraft inspections, and get a sense of the work’s complexity.


Furthermore, familiarize yourself with the regulatory bodies and certifications involved in the aviation industry. Research organizations such as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States or the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in Europe. Understand the different certifications available and the requirements for obtaining them.


Take the time to assess your skills and aptitudes. Being an airplane mechanic requires technical knowledge, problem-solving abilities, and manual dexterity. Evaluate whether you enjoy working with tools, have a natural curiosity for how things work, and possess the patience and attention to detail necessary for this profession.


Finally, consider the career prospects and job market for airplane mechanics. Research the demand for mechanics in your area, the average salary range, and potential career paths. This information will help you determine if this career aligns with your long-term goals and aspirations.


Gaining a comprehensive understanding of the role and its requirements through research and exploration will set you on the right path to becoming an airplane mechanic. Armed with this knowledge, you can confidently move on to the next step: obtaining the relevant education and training.


Step 2: Obtain Relevant Education and Training

Once you have a clear understanding of the role of an airplane mechanic, it’s time to pursue the necessary education and training. A solid foundation of knowledge in aviation maintenance is essential for a successful career in this field.


The first step is to research and choose the right educational program. Look for institutions that offer accredited aviation maintenance programs. These programs can vary in length, with options ranging from a few months to several years. Consider factors such as the curriculum, faculty expertise, facilities, and reputation of the institution.


There are different levels of education and training you can pursue as an airplane mechanic. The most common options include:

  1. Aviation Maintenance Technician Certification: This certification is offered by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States. It requires a minimum of 1,900 hours of training, which can be obtained through an aviation maintenance program or through a combination of approved academic and work experience.
  2. Aircraft Maintenance Engineer License: This license is recognized internationally and may have different names depending on the country. It requires a combination of theoretical education, practical training, and work experience. The specific requirements vary from country to country, so make sure to research the regulations in your desired location.
  3. Associate Degree in Aviation Maintenance: Some institutions offer associate degree programs in aviation maintenance. These programs provide a more comprehensive education, covering not only the technical aspects but also general education courses.

During your education and training, you will learn about aircraft systems, engine maintenance, electrical systems, avionics, and more. You will gain hands-on experience in aircraft inspections, troubleshooting, and repairs. It’s important to actively engage in the learning process, ask questions, and seek out additional resources to enhance your knowledge.


In addition to formal education, consider joining professional organizations and attending industry workshops and conferences. These opportunities allow you to stay updated on the latest technologies, industry trends, and best practices. They also provide networking opportunities and connections with seasoned professionals in the field.


Keep in mind that while education and training provide a solid foundation, continuous learning is essential in this rapidly evolving field. As new aircraft technologies emerge, staying up to date with the latest advancements and undergoing regular retraining will be crucial.


Once you have completed your education and training, you’ll be ready to move on to the next step: gaining hands-on experience.


Step 3: Gain Hands-On Experience

Obtaining hands-on experience is a crucial step in becoming an airplane mechanic. It allows you to apply your theoretical knowledge in real-world scenarios, develop practical skills, and gain invaluable insights into the day-to-day responsibilities of the profession.


One way to gain hands-on experience is through an apprenticeship or an internship program. Many aviation maintenance facilities offer these opportunities, providing you with the chance to work alongside experienced mechanics and learn from their expertise. During your apprenticeship or internship, you will have the opportunity to assist with inspections, repairs, and maintenance tasks under the guidance of qualified professionals.


Another option is to seek entry-level positions within aircraft maintenance companies or repair stations. These positions may not require extensive experience and can serve as a stepping stone for building your skills and knowledge. Starting as an aircraft mechanic helper or technician, you will have the chance to work under supervision, learn from experienced mechanics, and gradually take on more responsibilities as you gain expertise.


While gaining hands-on experience, it’s essential to pay close attention to detail, follow safety protocols, and develop good work habits and practices. Take the opportunity to become familiar with different types of aircraft and their systems, understand various maintenance procedures, and sharpen your troubleshooting skills.


Additionally, actively seek out opportunities to work on different types of aircraft, such as small airplanes, helicopters, or commercial jets. This exposure will broaden your skill set and make you more versatile as a mechanic.


During your hands-on experience, it’s important to document and track your progress. Keep a record of the tasks you have performed, the procedures you have followed, and the skills you have acquired. This documentation will be valuable when applying for certifications or seeking future employment opportunities.


Remember that hands-on experience is a continuous process. As you progress in your career, aim to take on more challenging tasks and seek out opportunities to specialize in specific areas of aircraft maintenance. This may involve attending advanced training courses, working with specialized equipment, or pursuing additional certifications.


By gaining hands-on experience and continuously improving your skills, you will become a competent and confident airplane mechanic, ready to take on the next step: obtaining certifications and licenses.


Step 4: Obtain Certification/Licenses

Obtaining the necessary certifications and licenses is a crucial step in becoming a qualified and recognized airplane mechanic. These credentials demonstrate your competence and adherence to industry standards, and they are often required by regulatory bodies and employers.


The specific certifications and licenses you need may vary depending on your location and the type of aircraft you plan to work on. However, the most widely recognized certification for airplane mechanics is the Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) license issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States.


To obtain an A&P license, you must meet several requirements set by the FAA. These typically include a minimum amount of practical experience (usually 18-30 months) and passing written and oral tests that assess your knowledge in aircraft maintenance, systems, and regulations.


There are various ways to gain the necessary experience for an A&P license. One option is to work under the supervision of a certified mechanic, accumulating the required hours of practical experience. Another option is to complete an FAA-approved aviation maintenance technician school program, which can count towards the practical experience requirement.


Aside from the A&P license, there may be additional certifications and endorsements you can pursue. Some examples include specialized certifications for avionics, inspection authorization, and repair of specific aircraft components.


It’s important to research the certification requirements in your area and ensure that the programs you enroll in or the apprenticeships you undertake align with those requirements. This will save you time and effort in the long run and prevent any setbacks in your career progression.


Once you have obtained the necessary certifications and licenses, it’s crucial to keep them up to date. Renewal requirements vary by certification and regulatory body, but typically involve demonstrating ongoing professional development, such as attending refresher courses or completing a specified number of hours of maintenance work.


Additionally, consider joining professional organizations and associations related to aircraft maintenance. These organizations often provide resources, networking opportunities, and additional certifications that can further enhance your credibility and marketability as an airplane mechanic.


By obtaining the required certifications and licenses, you will not only enhance your knowledge and skills but also increase your employability and open doors to a wider range of job opportunities in the aviation industry.


Step 5: Build a Professional Network

Building a professional network is a critical step in advancing your career as an airplane mechanic. A strong network can provide you with valuable connections, job opportunities, and access to industry insights and resources. Here are some steps you can take to build and expand your professional network.


1. Attend industry events: Participate in aviation conferences, trade shows, and seminars. These events bring together professionals from various sectors of the industry and offer excellent networking opportunities. Engage with fellow attendees, exchange contact information, and follow up with them after the event.


2. Join professional organizations: Become a member of aviation maintenance organizations and associations. These groups offer networking events, educational resources, and forums to connect with other professionals in the field. Some examples include the Aircraft Maintenance Technicians Association (AMTA) and the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA).


3. Stay active on social media: Utilize platforms like LinkedIn to connect with professionals in the aviation industry. Join relevant groups and forums, share industry-related content, and engage in discussions. Networking on social media can help you establish connections with industry leaders and potential employers.


4. Seek mentorship opportunities: Find experienced airplane mechanics who can mentor and guide you in your career. A mentor can offer insight, advice, and support as you navigate through the industry. Participate in mentorship programs offered by professional organizations or reach out to professionals you admire.


5. Collaborate on projects: Partner with other professionals on projects or initiatives within the industry. Collaborating with like-minded individuals allows you to expand your network while working together towards shared goals. Seek out opportunities to work on teams, attend workshops, or participate in volunteer activities.


6. Maintain professional relationships: Once you establish connections, it’s essential to nurture and maintain those relationships. Stay in touch with your contacts, reach out periodically, and offer support or assistance when possible. Keep them updated on your achievements and career advancements.


Remember, networking is a two-way street. Be proactive in offering help and support to others in your network. By giving back and contributing to the success of others, you establish yourself as a valuable and respected member of the aviation community.


Building a professional network takes time and effort, but the benefits are worth it. Your network can provide you with job leads, mentorship opportunities, industry knowledge, and a support system throughout your career. So, invest time in building relationships and nurturing connections that will help you thrive as an airplane mechanic.


Step 6: Update Skills and Knowledge Regularly

As an airplane mechanic, it’s crucial to stay updated with the latest technologies, industry regulations, and best practices. The aviation industry is dynamic and rapidly evolving, making it essential for professionals to continually update their skills and knowledge to stay competitive and ensure optimal performance. Here are some ways you can ensure that you stay ahead:


1. Attend training and professional development programs: Participate in industry-specific training programs to enhance your expertise in areas such as avionics, composite materials, or specific aircraft models. Stay updated on the latest advances in aircraft systems, engine technologies, and maintenance procedures. Completing training programs will not only broaden your skill set but also demonstrate your commitment to professional growth.


2. Engage in continuous learning: Read industry publications, journals, and research papers to stay informed about emerging trends and advancements in the field of aviation maintenance. Join online forums and discussion groups where professionals share knowledge and experiences. Regularly seek out educational resources and opportunities for self-study to expand your understanding of the industry.


3. Stay informed about regulatory changes: Aviation regulations can change frequently, and it’s crucial to stay up to date with the latest requirements. Keep tabs on updates from regulatory bodies such as the FAA, EASA, or the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in your country. Subscribe to industry newsletters and updates to ensure that you are aware of any changes in safety protocols, maintenance procedures, or certification requirements.


4. Embrace technological advancements: The aviation industry is evolving rapidly, with advancements in robotics, automation, and data analytics impacting aircraft maintenance. Stay informed about technological innovations that can streamline maintenance tasks and improve efficiency. Embrace opportunities to learn and adapt to new technologies to remain competent and adaptable in your role as an airplane mechanic.


5. Seek mentorship and guidance: Engage with experienced professionals in the field who can provide mentorship and guidance. They can offer insights into industry best practices and share their experiences, helping you navigate challenges and make informed decisions throughout your career.


6. Share knowledge and collaborate: Actively participate in knowledge-sharing within your professional networks. Contribute your expertise and insights to discussions, write articles or blog posts, or present at industry events. Not only does this help you solidify your own understanding, but it also positions you as a thought leader and resource for others within the aviation community.


By consistently updating your skills and knowledge, you position yourself as a competent and valuable professional in the field of airplane mechanics. Embrace a lifelong learning mindset and embrace opportunities for growth, staying at the forefront of industry developments.



Congratulations! You have now reached the end of this guide on how to become an airplane mechanic. By following these six steps, you are well on your way to embarking on an exciting and rewarding career in the aviation industry.


Throughout this journey, you have learned the importance of researching and understanding the role of an airplane mechanic, obtaining relevant education and training, gaining hands-on experience, obtaining necessary certifications and licenses, building a professional network, and continuously updating your skills and knowledge.


Being an airplane mechanic is a role that requires dedication, attention to detail, and a passion for aviation. It’s a career where you have the opportunity to work with advanced technology, contribute to the safety of the aviation industry, and be a part of a community of professionals dedicated to excellence.


As you embark on your career as an airplane mechanic, remember to stay curious, proactive, and open to new challenges. Embrace opportunities for continuous learning, seek out mentorship, and establish a vibrant professional network. By remaining adaptable and staying ahead of the curve in terms of technological advancements and industry regulations, you will thrive in this dynamic field.


Lastly, don’t forget to take pride in your achievements along the way. Whether you are troubleshooting a complex mechanical issue, performing routine maintenance, or ensuring the airworthiness of an aircraft, every task contributes to the safe and efficient operation of the aviation industry.


As an airplane mechanic, you play an essential role in keeping aircraft flying and passengers safe. So, embrace this responsibility with passion and enthusiasm, for you are an integral part of the incredible world of aviation.