Aircraft are simple in concept, but the machines themselves are frightfully complicated. Aircraft have thousands of different parts. And each one as to function to a high degree of accuracy for the whole vehicle to work. Most people don’t realize it, but it’s actually aircraft mechanics who spend the most time working on aircraft in the military. It’s not the pilots.
So given that aircraft are so complex, it’s not surprising that training to become an aircraft mechanic tough. Because aircraft are high-risk and complex, there isn’t the option of training on the job. You have to go through school. So what are the steps?
Step 1: Choose Your Training Direction
In the US, there are two main ways you can become an aircraft mechanic. One is to go down the civilian route. Here you’ll need to gain Federal Aviation Administration certification. You’ll get to work on civilian aircraft, from private jets to full-scale airliners.
The other option is to go down the military route. The military doesn’t fall under the FAA. So training under the military is somewhat different to training in a civilian program. But crucially your military training doesn’t carry over into civilian life once you leave the military. So if you do leave, you’ll have to retrain under the rubric of the FAA.
Step 2: Know That It’s Not Hard To Get Started
It should also be noted that although aircraft themselves are complicated machines, the training is not. If you’re in high school, or just thinking about changing careers, find a job counselor. They will be able to help you make an informed choice of schools.
Step 3: Research An Aircraft School
Finding the right aircraft mechanic school is not difficult. It’s simply a matter of finding a course near to where you live and getting started. Schools are located in practically every state in the US.
Most courses run for around two years. This involves both practical learning and classroom work. If you opt for a civilian program, you’ll come out at the end of the process with FAA certification.
But, of course, a two-year program isn’t your only option. Some schools offer four-year training which results in both FAA certification and a degree. And some programs even progress to the Masters stage.
Step 4: Enrol
If you decide to go down the military route, you have a few options available. Of course, it’s not just the air force that uses aircraft. The navy and the marines make use of their own aircraft too. So any budding aircraft mechanic must ask themselves which of the forces they’re most interested in joining. Each arm of the military has different missions it needs to run, and so this will affect the work you do.
Civilian work is equally varied. That means you’ll have the option of working on a vast array of different aircraft. You may want to consider a school that specializes in a type of aircraft that most interests you. If you don’t, ask a recruiter at one of the schools what options are available. They’ll be able to tell you about the opportunities you can expect.