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How much do aircraft mechanics make per year?

How much do aircraft mechanics make per year? 

When considering a career in aviation, or anything else for that matter, the first question that comes to mind is usually how much do I get paid! As you are exchanging your services for money and working incredibly hard to obits important to know as much as you can about the profession before making an important career choice.  Below we will discuss the earning potentials for entry-level A&P mechanics as well as those that have been in the field for some time 

Average A&P Mechanic Salary 

According to salary.com, commercial A&P mechanics earn an average of $87,930 per year. Usually, a well-established A&P aircraft mechanic can make anywhere from $76,618 to $99,117 per year.   

Remember, working commercial aviation jets is not your only route as an A&P mechanic!  You can also work as a general aviation mechanic.  General aviation sectors include businesses such as flight schools, smaller aviation establishments, tour companies, and workshops. As a general aviation mechanic, you can expect to earn around $50,000 a year.  

Commercial mechanics may make more money, and include a range of perks like healthcare and discounted travel, with the added job security and long-term career and progression aspects.  However, one should not disregard a career whether long term or short term in general aviation.  General aviation mechanics have the ability to work in less stressful and high-pressured environments, whilst being able to really have the time to master a trade.  They will have the potential to not have to live in the big cities, due to the need of being nearby major airports, which for some would not only include cheaper housing accommodation but also a better standard of life in more rural areas.  Commercial aviation mechanics tend to work very unsociable hours, and may not have the same feeling of ‘belonging’ to smaller businesses.  Many mechanics prefer this lifestyle over that of a commercial aviation mechanic.  You should take into consideration all these things and do thorough research on your needs as an employee.  And remember, the work-life balance is a vital aspect to your own mental and physical health.  

It is difficult to pinpoint potential earnings as there are so many factors which determine how much money you could make.  Wages differ from company to company, contract length, location, and your length of service.  If you are not fixated on just working airplanes, you can have the option of working helicopters.  Helicopters in nature are more complicated to maintain and often have higher safety standards and compliant measures, and some General aviation companies will pay more.  Remember, in order to work on helicopters, you must ensure the AMT program you attend includes helicopter maintenance as part of the curriculum. 

Starting Salary 

Like most careers, you must start somewhere.  Newly qualified mechanics will not make as much as someone in the business for many years. 7 At the beginning of your career, you won’t be making as much as you will later on. The average starting salary of an A&P mechanic is $40,000-$60,000 a year, depending on where you work and of course who you work for. You’ll start to make more money as you get more experience and eventually could be making around $99,000 a year. Wherever you work, you’ll start as an entry-level A&P mechanic.  With more experience gained you can move up until eventually you have made it to a lead A&P mechanic, both with more money and more responsibilities.  

Types of A&P Mechanic Jobs 

There are almost endless amounts of A&P mechanic jobs available for both new and more experienced mechanics. As a mechanic, you’ll most likely work for an airline, flight school, or general aviation operation.  But do not just restrict yourself to these! There are many other aviation options as well. Some mechanics don’t end up working in the aviation industry at all and instead transfer to another specific industry.  Would you have guessed the amusement park industry? An A&P mechanic’s skillset are highly transferable and allows the mechanic to work on rides and infrastructure, so the amusement park industry have a keen eye on recruiting A&P mechanics. 

Below are just some of the most common A&P careers that will most likely have the most jobs for mechanics and are usually the most common industries mechanics choose: 

  • Commercial airlines 
  • Flight schools 
  • Freight carriers 
  • Military/government  
  • Private companies 
  • Aircraft manufacturers 
  • Local airports 
  • Private aircraft owners 
  • Air Force bases  
  • Tour companies  
  • Air medical  
  • Amusement parks 

Difference Between Airplane and Helicopter Maintenance 

As mentioned before, you may be able to earn more money working on helicopters than on airplanes. Why? Simply put, helicopters are more complicated machines and tend to need more maintenance than airplanes. They also require a much higher attention to detail and afford less room for mistakes.  

Most AMT schools offer training primarily in airplane maintenance and may have a few extra courses dedicated to rotor. If your goal is to become a helicopter maintenance technician, then finding an AMT school that focuses on rotor maintenance is important. The more practice you have working on helicopters, the more prepared you’ll be for the industry.  

If you share both a love and a passion for aviation and wish to be frontline working on aircraft then you should look no further than a career as an A&P mechanic.  It’s a fast pace career with plenty of ups and downs, and you meet a huge range of people globally, in an industry that is always rewarding.  Coming into this industry future proofs your career against AI and evolving technology, aircraft will always require strict maintenance and service schedules, meaning as technology develops further your job is not at risk of being done by a computer, rather the job itself becomes even more in depth and exciting.   Even if you are just looking for a solid career in aviation, but want something more practical and hands on, you should look no further.  An A&P mechanic combines both an in-depth understanding of aircraft, with the ability to be hands on with tools having a feel for the physical components and the satisfaction of your maintenance taking hundreds of passengers up in the air.  Remember, this isn’t just a career for aviation geeks, if you simply want a hands-on career and have a love for fixing things, a career with aviation should be strongly considered, with so many opportunities and room for progression worldwide, you needn’t look any further! 

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