Aviation maintenance in the US is supervised by the Federal aviation Administration, and their certification is crucial for career progression in this industry. The FAA certifies three categories of aviation mechanics, airframe mechanics, power plant mechanics and avionics repair specialists. Most people get their certificates through attending one of around 200 schools certified by the FAA, and courses are often in the form of two or four year degrees in avionics, aviation technology or aviation maintenance management.
Courses provide training with the tools and equipment used on the job, principles of the relevant technologies such as turbine engines, composite materials and aviation electronics, increasingly used in the construction of new aircraft. Courses in mathematics, physics, chemistry, electronics, computer science and mechanical drawing are also helpful; knowledge of these principles can be necessary during the repair of aircraft.
The FAA requires current experience to keep certification current, but refresher courses are often used to supplement this experience. This allows aviation maintenance workers to keep up to date with the newest technologies and techniques used in building new aircraft. Problem solving and diagnostic skills are essential in this career, along with attention to detail and a degree of physical fitness.
Earnings are in the area of $40,000, according to the US Department of Labor statistics, with some people earning as much as $56,000. Prospects are good, as there are fewer people entering the profession, and many maintenance workers are due for retirement in the next few years.