Aircraft Maintenance Careers Take Flight in Massachusetts
The traveling public (and the U.S. economy!) depends on skilled, well-trained aircraft maintenance technicians to keep flying safe and reliable. For Massachusetts residents, aircraft maintenance and repair trade schools can prepare you for a career in this exciting field.
Vocational Schools Turn Aircraft Theory into Practice
During an aircraft maintenance program, students typically study:
- Electrical systems
- Fuel and propeller systems
- Airframe assembly
- Ignition and starters
- Composite structures
- Riveting and welding
- Air flow and induction systems
- Hydraulic systems and landing gear operation
- Navigation and communications equipment
- Cooling and exhaust systems and turbines
Earn Your Wings: Airframe and Power Plant Certificates
In addition to undergoing hands-on airplane diagnostic and repair technical training, students may also take classes in electronics, computer science, mechanical drawing, mathematics, and physics. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that certified aircraft mechanic trade schools offer a minimum of 1,900 actual class hours.
Following 18 months of on-the-job experience, graduates can earn an airframe or power plant certificate by taking a standardized exam. Whether you wish to work as an aircraft generalist or specialize in a particular field, a comprehensive vocational school program can help your career to take off on schedule.
The Sky's the Limit: Opportunities for Trade School Graduates
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities will remain excellent through the end of the decade. "Employers," reports the BLS, "seek applicants who are self-motivated, hard working, enthusiastic, and able to diagnose and solve complex mechanical problems." In the next few years, according to BLS projections, the best job opportunities in the aircraft maintenance vocations will be with regional airlines, small commuter services, and general aviation.
The BLS further reports that median hourly earnings across the nation for aircraft maintenance and repair technicians were between $18.12 and $27.18/hour in 2004. According to Salary.com, aircraft maintenance workers in Massachusetts are well compensated for their skills. A non-jet entry-level aircraft technician in the Boston area earns between $41,841 and $55,995. A jet aircraft technician at the same entry level earns between $66,082 and $81,608. If you have seven or more years' experience, Salary.com reports, you may qualify as a maintenance manager where, in the Boston area, managers earn between $90,835 and $107,280. If you need to start from the beginning and earn your basic education requirements, start by looking into programs that offer students a way to earn their online high school diploma. It's never too late!