Aviation Maintenance Technicians
Aviation maintenance technicians (AMTs) keep aircraft in the air by inspecting, replacing, and fixing nearly every part of an airplane or helicopter.
The term aviation maintenance technician is very broad and applies to nearly anyone who works on aircraft. However, as an aspiring AMT, you'll quickly learn that there are several different types of mechanics out there.
Aviation Maintenance Technician Salary?
How much do AMTs make per year? Aircraft Maintenance Technicians (AMTs) can make a comfortable living repairing and performing scheduled maintenance on aircraft, with top earners at major airlines earning well over $70,000 a year.
Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic Technicians
First of all, airframe mechanics are licensed to perform repair work on the entire aircraft with the exception of the engine(s), propellers, and instruments. Powerplant mechanics are authorized to work on engines and in some cases, propellers.
Although you can earn either an airframe or powerplant certificate, the vast majority of AMTs earn both certificates and are hereafter referred to as A&P (airframe and powerplant) mechanics. Avionics technicians work exclusively on aircraft radios, instruments, navigation, weather, traffic, and ground proximity systems. Learn more about aviation maintenance technician jobs.
According to 2012 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most AMTs make somewhere between $16.92 and $36.86 per hour, with median income at $26.55 per hour or $55,210 a year. The middle 50% earned between $45,670 and $65,750. At the lowest end of the scale, 10% of AMTs earned less than $35,190, while the top 10% earned more than $76,660.
Aviation Maintenance Technician Career Paths
As an A&P mechanic, you are eligible to work in a huge variety of settings. You can work as a freelance mechanic at your local airfield, get a job working for a local airport, work for a corporate aviation department maintaining one or a fleet of aircraft, or end up at a major airline working on passenger jets and turboprops.
After three years of operating as an A&P mechanic (with 24 months of hands-on experience), you're eligible to move up and become an inspection authorization mechanic (IA). IA's are A&Ps with the authority to return aircraft to service after certain types of thorough inspections.
As you might expect, the positions with the highest aircraft maintenance salary are in the major airline and federal government sectors, where A&P mechanics typically work on large jet aircraft. (In the U.S., AMTs usually refer to themselves as A&Ps, which stands for airframe and powerplant mechanics. In Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, the equivalent of an AMT is an aircraft maintenance engineer.)
Aviation Maintenance Technician Key Points
AMTs must be detail-oriented people. Aircraft mechanics perform a variety of complex tasks where mistakes can be costly in terms of money and human life. When the tools are put away, the job is not complete; aircraft mechanics must also be excellent record keepers.
Paperwork for all inspections and work completed must be filed and logged appropriately for each task completed. The larger and more complex the aircraft, the more paperwork. Find out more about aviation maintenance technician training.
A&P Salary Chart
When compared to other professional technicians (such as auto mechanics, electricians, electro-mechanical technicians, and heavy vehicle service technicians), AMTs tend to earn a higher salary. In fact, AMTs' median annual income is typically between $4,000 and $18,000 higher than these technical professions.
Avionics Technician Salary
Avionics Technicians test electronic instruments, assemble components, install instrument panels, interpret flight test data to diagnose malfunctions and problems, and repair or replace malfunctioning components.
According to 2012 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most Avionics Technicians earned somewhere between $18.82 and $35.47 per hour, with median income at $26.61 per hour or $55,350 a year.
The middle 50% earned between $47,210 and $64,890. At the lowest end of the scale, 10% of Avionics Technicians earned less than $39,150, while the top 10% earned more than $73,770.
The positions with the highest avionics technician salary are in the aerospace, major airline, and federal government sectors.
Funding for Aviation Maintenance Technician Training
If you have veteran's benefits, especially the Post 9/11 GI Bill, are one of the best sources of funding available to pay for aviation mechanic training. With the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you can be reimbursed for up to 100% of your aviation mechanic training expenses.
This is a sizeable amount of funding that goes a long way toward making you an aviation mechanic, but there are a few things to consider before taking the leap.
Aviation Maintenance Technician Benefits
Salaries and benefits can vary. Salary is often dependent on the size of the company, work location, past work experience, licenses (e.g., A&P certificate), and type of craft serviced.
In terms of benefits packages, both airline and general aviation employers typically offer paid holidays, vacations, insurance plans, retirement programs, and sick leave.
Aviation maintenance technicians working for the largest companies can expect top-notch benefits packages, including both health and life insurance and, for those working for airlines, travel benefits for themselves and immediate family (e.g., free or reduced-price transportation to route destinations and travel exchange privileges with other airlines).