How Much Do Aircraft Mechanics Make? Aircraft Mechanic Salary

in How to Become an Aircraft Mechanic

How much do aircraft mechanics make? Aircraft mechanics’ salaries can range widely due to a number of variables, such as their level of training and education, what certifications they hold, their specialization, geographic location, the industry they work in, and their experience level.

What Does an Aircraft Mechanic Do?

Aircraft mechanics typically perform the following tasks:


  • Diagnose mechanical or electrical problems
  • Repair wings, brakes, electrical systems, and other aircraft components
  • Replace defective parts using hand or power tools
  • Examine replacement aircraft parts for defects
  • Read maintenance manuals to identify repair procedures
  • Test aircraft parts with gauges and other diagnostic equipment
  • Inspect completed work to ensure that it meets performance standards
  • Keep records of maintenance and repair work

Avionics technicians typically do the following:

  • Test electronic instruments using circuit testers, oscilloscopes, and voltmeters
  • Interpret flight test data to diagnose malfunctions and performance problems
  • Assemble components such as electrical controls and junction boxes, and install software
  • Install instrument panels using hand tools, power tools, and soldering irons
  • Repair or replace malfunctioning components
  • Keep records of maintenance and repair work

Geographic Location

An important factor in determining job prospects and advancement opportunities as an aircraft mechanic is the geographic location of potential job seekers.

Living near (or moving to) areas with major airline hubs, such as Chicago or Dallas, will increase the likelihood of obtaining employment due to the larger pool of available entry level work for job seekers.

Living in a rural area, or a mid-sized city with low airport traffic, can be a major limitation in the availability of open jobs and future advancement.

Education

A key factor in access to the industry, starting salary, advancement, and wage growth as an aircraft mechanic is the level of education that a individual has obtained. You can get into the industry through apprenticeships or military training, but starting salaries and advancement opportunities are generally higher for those who attend a Federal Aviation Administration approved aviation maintenance technician school, coupled with receiving certifications for your chosen specialty.

Job Outlook

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment for the industry is expected to grow at a moderate pace over the next ten years (starting in 2016).

Job Outlook for Aircraft Mechanics

Source: BLS.gov 

Job opportunities are expected to be good due to a need to replace aging workers retiring from the occupation.

How Much Do Aircraft Mechanics Make?

It depends on who you ask.

Salary.com shows a higher average salary for those classified as aircraft mechanics than the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This may be due to Salary.com separating out those classified as aircraft mechanic assistants into their own individual category. Salary.com also does not include a separate job category for specialized avionics technicians.

How much do aircraft mechanics make?

Source: salary.com (data available as of 11-5-2017)

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows the median annual salary for aircraft mechanics and service technicians as $60,170 in May of 2016. The lowest 10% earned less than $35,960 and the highest 10% earned more than $87,880. For avionics technicians, they show a median salary of $60,760, the lowest 10% at $39,510, and the highest 10% at $83,260 (source).

The BLS further breaks down the median salary by industry as follows:

Median wages AMT by industry

Median wage by industry - avionics

Based on all of the available data, aircraft mechanics can expect to make a salary well in excess of the national average ($37,040 as of May 2016) and maintain excellent prospects for both job placement and advancement over the next decade. So, if you’re asking “how much do aircraft mechanics make?”, it’s dependent on a lot of factors, but it can be a lucrative and sustainable career path for those that are willing to put in the hard work to get the education and develop the skill sets to succeed.