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How to Become an Aviation Engine Mechanic

If you’re an engine mechanic ready to expand your horizons, becoming an aviation engine mechanic may be a great career choice for you. An aviation engine mechanic performs routine inspections of an aircraft’s engine to ensure every system is running smoothly. This position requires workers to have exceptional problem-solving and troubleshooting abilities, along with strong mathematical skills.

An aviation engine mechanic is primarily responsible for diagnosing potential mechanical, electrical, or hydraulics problems within an aircraft’s engine. Completing these diagnostic tests requires specialized technical knowledge and practical skills in engine maintenance. Aviation engine mechanics carry great responsibility as they follow strict safety protocols while maintaining and repairing aircrafts. Luckily, this career path offers various opportunities for growth in your role. Some aviation engine mechanics may take on bigger leadership roles such as engine maintenance superintendent or flight chief as they progress in their career.

Sample job description

Without skillful aviation engine mechanics, we wouldn’t be able to keep our clients’ aircrafts running properly. One of the most crucial roles an aviation engine mechanic plays includes running diagnostic tests on engines, determining potential issues, installing upgraded parts, and performing necessary repairs. Obtaining the proper credentials and training to understand the different components of different aircraft engines and how to fix potential problems within the engines is required. Your responsibilities may also include recommending engine upgrades to certain customers. [Your Company Name] is on the lookout for an experienced aviation engine mechanic who will take our business to new heights by exceeding our customers’ expectations. If you pay close attention to detail and love working with engines day and night, we would love to have you apply!  

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Inspect aircraft engine components for wear, warping, cracks, and leaks
  • Analyze and understand aircraft blueprints, specifications, and maintenance manuals to troubleshoot engine issues
  • Conduct routine, scheduled aircraft engine maintenance and inspections
  • Ensure all repairs and engine functions are up to FAA specifications
  • Order supplies, equipment, materials, and parts for repairs and general maintenance
  • Keep detailed records of inspections, maintenance, repairs, and parts inventory

Education and experience

This position requires a high school diploma or equivalent or an Airframe and Powerplant License certificate from a program approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Some companies may require Aviation Engine Mechanic candidates to have an associate degree.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Analytical, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills
  • Teamwork and interpersonal communication skills
  • Mechanical aptitude and ability to understand wiring diagrams and schematics
  • Strong hand-eye coordination and proficiency in using tools
  • Sufficient physical strength and dexterity to climb on aircrafts and manipulate engine parts
  • High-level organization skills

Preferred qualifications

  • You have an A&P license
  • You have at least 3 years of experience in aircraft turbine engine maintenance
  • You have the ability to read and interpret engineering documents and repair manuals
  • Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering or related field

Typical work environment

Aviation engine mechanics are found working in hangars, repair stations, or on airfields. While most aviation engine mechanics work indoors, the place is usually not environmentally controlled and can get fairly noisy with different engines running throughout the area. Working as an aviation engine mechanic can get overwhelming and busy at times. Most employees are working 40-hour weeks with little overtime opportunities. 

Typical hours

Aviation engine mechanics usually work 8-hour rotating shifts. That means overnight, weekend, and holiday shifts are common in this field.

Available certifications

Attending a technical school with Federal Aviation Administration accreditation is the first step to becoming an aviation engine mechanic. Check out their following certifications:

  • Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) – This certification is offered by several technical schools to help prepare aviation engine mechanics for their future job. The AMT requires participants to take several classes, including Airframe Structures, Maintenance Practice, and Aircraft Systems. These will allow students to become familiar with various aircrafts and engines, which is critical for them to know in order to diagnose future engine problems.
  • Aviation Mechanics Airframe Certificate (AVAC) – The Aviation Mechanics Airframe certification teaches students about aircraft structures and hydraulic, electrical, and landing gear symptoms. The AVAC also includes several labs that will allow participants to properly inspect, troubleshoot, and repair aircraft. Earning this certification is the next best step in your career path as a successful aviation engine mechanic. 

Career path

This position requires a high school diploma or its equivalent and an Airframe and Powerplant License certificate from a program approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Some companies may require aviation engine mechanic candidates to have an associate’s degree. Successful aviation engine mechanics can advance into leadership roles such as lead mechanic, lead inspector, or shop supervisor.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 49-3011

2020 Employment130,100
Projected Employment in 2030145,400
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 12% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift15,300 increase

According to a 2020 article on Yahoo! Money, one current trend in the aviation industry is a demand for turbofan engines. They currently hold a significant share of the aircraft engines market, and that trend should continue over the next five years as orders for new commercial aircraft increase. Aviation engine mechanics who are experts in these types of engines will likely be more marketable to employers than those with less experience maintaining them.

Another trend affecting aviation engine mechanics is the growth of the Asia-Pacific market. China’s commercial aircraft fleet should become larger than the United States’ fleet by 2024. That will likely mean a higher demand for aviation engine mechanics in China and other Asian markets in the next few years.