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Career profile Aircraft Technician

Also known as AP Technician (Airframe and Powerplant Technician), Aircraft Line Assembler, Assembler, Assembly Riveter, Helicopter Technician, Sheet Metal Assembler and Riveter (SMAR), Sheet Metal Mechanic, Structures Mechanic, Structures Technician

Aircraft Technician

Also known as AP Technician (Airframe and Powerplant Technician), Aircraft Line Assembler, Assembler

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Enterprising
Pay Range
$33,200 - $83,530 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Quality Control Analysis
  • Active Listening
  • Critical Thinking
Knowledge Areas
  • Mathematics
  • Education and Training
  • Mechanical
Core tasks
  • Assemble parts, fittings, or subassemblies on aircraft, using layout tools, hand tools, power tools, or fasteners, such as bolts, screws, rivets, or clamps.
  • Set, align, adjust, or synchronize aircraft armament or rigging or control system components to established tolerances or requirements, using sighting devices and hand tools.
  • Read blueprints, illustrations, or specifications to determine layouts, sequences of operations, or identities or relationships of parts.
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What does an Aircraft Technician do?

Aircraft Technicians assemble, fit, fasten, and install parts of airplanes, space vehicles, or missiles, such as tails, wings, fuselage, bulkheads, stabilizers, landing gear, rigging and control equipment, or heating and ventilating systems.

What kind of tasks does an Aircraft Technician perform regularly?

Aircraft Technicians are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Assemble parts, fittings, or subassemblies on aircraft, using layout tools, hand tools, power tools, or fasteners, such as bolts, screws, rivets, or clamps.
  • Read blueprints, illustrations, or specifications to determine layouts, sequences of operations, or identities or relationships of parts.
  • Attach brackets, hinges, or clips to secure or support components or subassemblies, using bolts, screws, rivets, chemical bonding, or welding.
  • Inspect or test installed units, parts, systems, or assemblies for fit, alignment, performance, defects, or compliance with standards, using measuring instruments or test equipment.
  • Adjust, repair, rework, or replace parts or assemblies to ensure proper operation.
  • Cut, trim, file, bend, or smooth parts to ensure proper fit and clearance.
  • Layout and mark reference points and locations for installation of parts or components, using jigs, templates, or measuring and marking instruments.
  • Fabricate parts needed for assembly or installation, using shop machinery or equipment.
  • Clean, oil, or coat system components, as necessary, before assembly or attachment.
  • Assemble prefabricated parts to form subassemblies.

The above responsibilities are specific to Aircraft Technicians. More generally, Aircraft Technicians are involved in several broader types of activities:

Controlling Machines and Processes
Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Documenting/Recording Information
Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

What is an Aircraft Technician salary?

The median salary for an Aircraft Technician is $53,160, and the average salary is $55,510. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Aircraft Technician salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Aircraft Technicians earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Aircraft Technicians earn less than $33,200 per year, 25% earn less than $40,100, 75% earn less than $70,890, and 90% earn less than $83,530.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Aircraft Technicians is expected to change by -16.1%, and there should be roughly 3,200 open positions for Aircraft Technicians every year.

Median annual salary
$53,160
Typical salary range
$33,200 - $83,530
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
-16.1%

What personality traits are common among Aircraft Technicians?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as an Aircraft Technician are usually higher in their Realistic interests.

Aircraft Technicians typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as an Aircraft Technician tend to value Support, Relationships, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Aircraft Technicians very strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Aircraft Technicians moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Lastly, Aircraft Technicians moderately value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Aircraft Technicians must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, dependability, and integrity.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Aircraft Technicians, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

What education and training do Aircraft Technicians need?

Working as an Aircraft Technician usually requires a high school diploma.

Aircraft Technicians need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Aircraft Technicians

  • 16.4% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 46.1% completed high school or secondary school
  • 23.0% completed some college coursework
  • 7.6% earned a Associate's degree
  • 5.9% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 0.8% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.2% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Aircraft Technicians

Aircraft Technicians may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as mathematics, education and training, or mechanical knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Aircraft Technicians might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Mechanical
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Production and Processing
Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Design
Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.

Important Abilities needed by Aircraft Technicians

Aircraft Technicians must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Aircraft Technicians need abilities such as problem sensitivity, near vision, and finger dexterity in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Aircraft Technicians, ranked by their relative importance.

Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Finger Dexterity
The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
Information Ordering
The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Visualization
The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.

Critical Skills needed by Aircraft Technicians

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Aircraft Technicians frequently use skills like quality control analysis, active listening, and critical thinking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Aircraft Technicians, ranked by their relative importance.

Quality Control Analysis
Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Monitoring
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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