Home / Career Guides / Aviation Engine Mechanic

Aviation Engine Mechanic Career Guide

What is an aviation engine mechanic?

Aviation engine mechanics are the pros who take care of airplane engines. They fix and maintain them so that planes fly safely and smoothly. Since airplane engines are pretty complex and packed with moving parts, these mechanics play a big role in keeping flights on schedule and making sure everything runs without a hitch.

Duties and responsibilities

Here’s what aviation engine mechanics typically work on:

  • Routine checks: They inspect aircraft engines regularly to find any parts that might be worn out or broken.
  • Fixing and replacing: If they find something wrong, they either fix it or swap out the faulty part with a new one.
  • Using cool tools: They use special tools and equipment to diagnose engine problems and ensure that everything is working properly after they fix them.
  • Keeping records: Everything they do is written down carefully. This helps keep track of the health of the engines and makes future maintenance easier.

Work environment

Most of the time, these mechanics work in hangars or repair stations at airports, and sometimes right on the airstrips. Their workspaces are pretty loud because of all the machinery, so they wear gear like ear protection, safety goggles, and gloves to stay safe.

Typical work hours

Their hours can really vary. Some might work the typical day hours, while others might have shifts that cover all times of the day and night, especially if they work for big airlines. They need to be ready to jump in for emergency fixes, which might mean extra hours now and then.

How to become an aviation engine mechanic

Want to be an aviation engine mechanic? Here’s how you can get started and work your way into this cool job.

Step 1: Finish high school

First up, get your high school diploma. It’s good to have strong skills in math, physics, and computer science because you’ll use them a lot in this job.

Step 2: Go to an aviation maintenance school

Next, you’ll need to learn all the technical stuff. Attend an FAA-approved school where you can get an associate’s degree and learn about engine repair, aircraft systems, and more.

Step 3: Gain real experience

Getting your hands dirty is part of the learning. Some schools have programs where you can practice what you’ve learned. You can also work alongside experienced mechanics to gain more insight.

Step 4: Get FAA certified

To officially work as an aviation engine mechanic, you need an FAA certification, particularly a Powerplant rating. This means passing some tests that cover everything from what you know to how you apply it.

Step 5: Start working

Now you’re ready to find a job. You could work for airlines, private jet companies, or even places that build and fix planes.

Step 6: Keep learning

Airplanes and technology keep getting better, so you should too. Stay updated with courses on new technologies and tools.

Here are some excellent online courses to keep boosting your skills:

Step 7: Consider more certifications

As you grow in your career, think about getting more certifications like the Airframe rating. Some mechanics go for the full Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) certification to open up even more opportunities.

How much do aviation engine mechanics make?

Aviation engine mechanic salaries can differ significantly based on factors like location, experience, education, industry, and the company’s size. Certifications and specializations can also impact their earnings. Some may also receive additional compensation through benefits or bonuses.

Highest paying industries

  • Commercial Airlines: $75,220
  • Government: $74,100
  • Military: $73,250
  • General Aviation: $70,800
  • Aircraft Manufacturing: $70,000

Highest paying states

  • Hawaii: $78,800
  • Nevada: $77,540
  • Connecticut: $77,110
  • Washington: $76,230
  • Alaska: $75,680

Browse aviation engine mechanic salary data by market

Types of aviation engine mechanics

  • Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) mechanic: These are the all-rounders who know how to handle just about any part of an aircraft, including the engines. A&P mechanics do regular maintenance, thorough inspections, and repairs to make sure everything is in safe working order.
  • Turbine engine mechanic: Turbine engines are the powerful hearts of many aircraft, known for their complexity. Mechanics specialized in these engines take care of maintenance, fixing issues, and major overhauls to keep them running smoothly.
  • Piston engine mechanic: Piston engines power smaller planes and need specific skills. These mechanics focus on everything from the engine’s cylinders to its exhaust system, ensuring everything is functioning well.
  • Jet engine mechanic: Jet engines are all about high power and efficiency. Mechanics in this area work on maintaining and repairing these engines to ensure they operate safely and at peak performance.
  • Helicopter engine mechanic: Helicopters are different from planes, and so are their engines. These mechanics specialize in keeping helicopter engines in top shape, which is crucial for safe flights.
  • Military aircraft engine mechanic: These mechanics work specifically on military aircraft, from jets to helicopters. They handle unique engines that require specific maintenance and repair practices due to the demanding conditions of military use.
  • Aviation maintenance technician (AMT): While not limited to engines, AMTs have a broad role that includes working on various parts of an aircraft. Their job is crucial for the overall maintenance, safety checks, and repairs needed to keep aircraft flying safely.

Top skills for aviation engine mechanics

  • Technical savvy: Aviation engine mechanics need to know their way around aircraft engines and systems. Understanding how complex parts work together allows them to find and fix problems and keep everything running safely.
  • Tool mastery: Whether it’s wrenches or sophisticated diagnostic tools, mechanics need to be skilled with a variety of equipment. They often have to take engines apart, replace faulty components, and put them all back together.
  • Sharp eye for details: Engines are complicated, and even small mistakes can be a big deal. Mechanics must be extremely careful and precise in their work to avoid issues that could affect the safety and performance of an aircraft.
  • Problem-solving skills: When things go wrong, aviation engine mechanics need to think fast and come up with solutions. They have to figure out what’s causing a problem and how to fix it, which often means thinking outside the box.
  • Physical fitness: This job can be physically tough. Mechanics might need to lift heavy parts, work in cramped conditions, or even climb around on aircraft. Being fit helps them handle these challenges safely and effectively.

Aviation engine mechanic career path

Gain early experience

After school, you’ll likely start as a junior or apprentice mechanic. This is where you really get your hands dirty, working under experienced mechanics to learn how to diagnose and fix engine problems. You’ll also be getting ready to take your FAA exams to become a certified A&P mechanic.

Move up to senior roles

As you gain experience and prove your skills, you can move up to roles like senior mechanic or lead mechanic. In these positions, you’ll be in charge of overseeing maintenance tasks, helping newer mechanics, and making sure everything meets safety and quality standards.

Step into management

If you keep at it and build a strong track record, you could end up in a supervisory or management role, such as a maintenance supervisor, chief mechanic, or even a maintenance director. These big roles involve managing teams, planning maintenance schedules, and ensuring all work complies with FAA rules.

Keep learning and advancing

The aviation field is always advancing, so continuing education is critical. Learning about new technologies and gaining additional certifications can open doors to specialized jobs or even positions working directly with aircraft manufacturers.

  • Keeping up with technology: As planes get more advanced, so do their engines and systems. Mechanics now need to be good with digital tools and computer systems that help diagnose and manage engine functions. 
  • Eco-friendly advances: There’s also a big push to make flying less harmful to the environment. This means developing engines that run on electricity or hybrid systems. 

Employment projections

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for aviation engine mechanics are expected to grow by 6% through 2031, which is about average. Even with more reliable aircraft, there’s always a need for skilled mechanics to do inspections and maintenance to keep everything up to federal standards.

Aviation engine mechanic career tips

Stay technologically savvy

Aviation tech keeps evolving. To stay relevant, you must keep up with the latest technologies, tools, and techniques. This means continually learning and adapting to stay ahead.

Safety first

In aviation, safety isn’t just important; it’s everything. Always stay on top of safety protocols and regulations to ensure not only your safety but also that of your colleagues and passengers.

Hone your problem-solving skills

As an engine mechanic, you’ll face complex challenges that need smart and fast solutions. Improving your problem-solving skills is vital to diagnosing and fixing issues efficiently.

Become a specialist

Deep diving into a specific type of engine, like jets or pistons, can make you the expert everyone relies on for those systems. Specialization can really boost your career.

Never stop learning

The learning never stops, especially in a field as dynamic as aviation. Here are a few ways to keep your knowledge fresh:

  • Attend workshops and seminars
  • Get additional certifications, especially for specialized engines
  • Read up on the latest in industry journals

Keep fit

Your job will sometimes be physically demanding. Staying in good physical shape will help you handle the heavy lifting and awkward positions much better.

Build your network

Connections can open doors. Joining groups like the Professional Aviation Maintenance Association (PAMA) or the Aircraft Mechanics Fraternal Association (AMFA) can lead to mentorship, new job opportunities, and ongoing professional development.

Stay organized

With so many tasks and parts to manage, being organized isn’t just helpful; it’s necessary. Good organization helps you handle multiple tasks smoothly and reduces mistakes.

Master your tools

Knowing your tools well can make a huge difference in how effectively you work. Familiarity with each tool’s purpose and function will enhance your efficiency and precision on the job.

Where the aviation engine mechanic jobs are

Top companies

  • Boeing
  • Lockheed Martin
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Raytheon Technologies
  • General Electric Aviation

Top states

  • California
  • Texas
  • Florida
  • Washington
  • Alabama

Top job sites

  • zengig
  • LinkedIn
  • Glassdoor
  • Aviation Job Search
  • Aeroindustryjobs.com


What qualifications are needed to become an aviation engine mechanic?

The role typically requires completing a program at a FAA-approved aviation maintenance technician school or gaining experience under a certified mechanic’s supervision. They must also pass the FAA exams for certification. A strong understanding of mathematics, physics, and electronics is advantageous.

What kind of training does an aviation engine mechanic typically undergo?

They usually complete a mix of classroom instruction and hands-on training, where they learn about engine construction, repair techniques, and safety protocols. This education is often followed by on-the-job training under the supervision of experienced mechanics. Some mechanics may also receive specific training from engine manufacturers.

What are the essential skills of an aviation engine mechanic?

Essential skills include being detail-oriented and proficient at problem-solving. Solid skills when using hand and power tools help to diagnose mechanical problems and perform repairs. Good manual dexterity, physical strength, and working under pressure are also necessary.

What does a typical day look like for an aviation engine mechanic?

A typical day may include inspecting engines, diagnosing problems, and performing routine maintenance or repairs. Mechanics might also update logbooks and maintain an inventory of parts. They often work in noisy environments and have irregular hours, including on-call duty or working nights and weekends.

What are the primary responsibilities of an aviation engine mechanic?

Primary responsibilities include conducting regular inspections of aircraft engines, diagnosing issues, and performing maintenance and repairs. Mechanics also maintain work records and ensure all maintenance activities comply with safety regulations. They may be involved in testing engine performance and making adjustments.

What industries employ aviation engine mechanics?

The airline industry primarily employs engine mechanics, including commercial and cargo airlines. Other employers include private aviation companies, the military, aerospace manufacturing companies, and government agencies. Some may work for companies that specialize in aircraft maintenance services.

What is the role of an aviation engine mechanic in ensuring flight safety?

They play a critical role in flight safety by conducting thorough inspections of aircraft engines, identifying potential problems, and performing necessary repairs or maintenance. Their meticulous work helps to ensure that aircraft engines operate reliably and safely.

How does an aviation engine mechanic collaborate with other aviation professionals?

Work is generally performed as part of a larger maintenance team, including avionics technicians, inspectors, and other mechanics. Communication with these professionals is critical for coordinating maintenance activities and addressing issues. They may also interact with pilots to discuss concerns related to engine performance.

What challenges do aviation engine mechanics often encounter?

They face many challenges, including dealing with complex mechanical issues, working under time pressure to avoid flight delays, and staying current with new technology. Their work may include challenging physical conditions, high noise levels, lifting heavy objects, or sitting in awkward positions.

How does an aviation engine mechanic stay updated with new methods and technologies in aviation?

To stay current, they may participate in training offered by aircraft and engine manufacturers, attend industry conferences and seminars, or subscribe to industry publications. They might also be part of professional networks or online communities to share knowledge and learn from peers.