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How to Become an Aircraft Inspector

If you’re looking to enter the airline business, a position as an aircraft inspector would be a great step to get familiar with the industry. Aircraft inspectors are critical to making sure planes run optimally for flights to go smoothly. To excel at this role, you must have excellent troubleshooting and problem-solving skills, and a deep understanding of repair maintenance and aircraft laws. 

An aircraft inspector spends most of their day conducting various tests on equipment, instruments, and systems. Workers in this position are responsible for finding malfunctions and faults in the aircraft and suggesting the right repair or replacement of the equipment.

This career opportunity comes with great responsibility since aircraft inspectors have the task of making sure aircrafts are safe to fly. It is important for people working in this position to be diligent in their inspections and keep good records of any repairs for investigations. 

Sample job description

[Your company name] is searching for a candidate who is motivated and has an eye for detail. We are in need of an experienced and responsible candidate with great communication, analytical, interpersonal, and listening skills. An inspector is in charge of maintaining a safe and healthy work environment and making sure everyone is complying with the legal regulations. Other duties include doing reports, approving finished products, and entering the data accumulated. This position comes with a great deal of responsibility. You will need to be available to work full-time and any certifications are a plus.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Conduct flight test programs to test instruments, equipment, and systems
  • Inspect all aspects of an aircraft for the safety and security of its passengers and crew
  • Ensure adherence to standards and procedures with federal regulations
  • Suggest the repair or replacement of aircraft equipment 
  • Determine the cause of air accidents 
  • Maintain records regarding inspections, repairs, and investigations 
  • Issue licenses to pilots

Education and experience

This position requires an associate degree, but employers prefer candidates who have a bachelor’s degree and experience repairing aircraft.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Strong written and verbal communication 
  • Excellent troubleshooting, problem-solving, and collaborative skills 
  • Extensive knowledge of machines and tools, including their design, uses, repair, and maintenance 
  • Deep comprehension of laws that govern the handling and maintenance of aircraft
  • Keen attention to detail 

Preferred qualifications

  • Certification applicable to an inspector 
  • 2+ years of experience as an inspector or related field

Typical work environment

Inspectors spend most of their time on worksites, making sure there aren’t any irregularities while examining the overall worksite. When they aren’t on site, they are in an office doing reports, arranging schedules for inspections, and entering data into a database. There can be times when you need to do some physical work like using a ladder, weightlifting, or standing for long periods of time. Most inspectors work full-time and sometimes on the weekends. 

Typical hours

The typical work hours for an aircraft inspector are during normal business hours, 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Friday. Inspectors may also be asked at times to work over the weekend, but this will vary.

Available certifications

Though not every employer will require you to have a certification as an inspector, it can certainly help your chances of getting a job. Here are a few of the most popular ones:

  • The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) – This certification helps improve your overall knowledge as an inspector. For example, some of the courses include teaching you how to perform residential electrical inspections, exterior inspections, and deck inspections.
  • The ASHI Certified Inspector (ACI) – ASHI stands for American Society of Home Inspectors. This certification supports promotion of healthy home practices. It helps with improving and maintaining a strong inspection business.
  • Construction Inspector Certification Program – This certification covers a range of standards when it comes to construction. Courses include mechanical codes, electrical codes, structural inspections, and legal issues in construction inspection.

Career path

This position requires an associate’s degree, but employers prefer candidates who have a bachelor’s degree and experience repairing aircrafts. Aircraft inspectors will typically enroll in graduate programs, allowing them to advance and train towards becoming an aviation mechanic. 

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 47-4011

2020 Employment129,300
Projected Employment in 2030125,600
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 3% decline
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift3,800 decline

According to the website, Mainblades, one trend that will affect aircraft inspectors is the growing use of drones for aircraft inspections. Another trend is the rise of robotics, as robots can inspect components that are otherwise difficult for humans to access.