Where are the Aircraft Mechanic Jobs Now and How to Land One?

You have a love for airplanes. You have studied,  obtained an A&P license from an FAA approved aircraft mechanic school, and acquired industry experience.   Sometimes, a sizable student loan has been incurred in your studies. You need a job to get the loan paid off, and get on with your life.  So, where is the work?

Based on input from the job forum at http://www.indeed.com/forum/job/Aircraft-Mechanic.html , here is a results-generating two step approach to finding an aircraft mechanic job :

  1. Go to jsfirm.com, then register and post your resume for free; big companies go there and search
  2. look at www.aircraftmechanic.org,  its a free site; there are many good paying jobs that are hiring NOW

As an example,  I went to jsfirm on Nov. 1, and found the following aircraft mechanic job listings:

aircraft mechanic jobs - jsfirm job listing for aircraft mechanics

jsfirm job listing - example

Here are some comments on the current job market from the Aircraft Mechanic forum at indeed.com.

“You don’t necessarily have to go to work for an airline to work on an airplane. There are plenty of FAA certified Repair Stations [doing maintenance, repair and overhaul - or MRO] out there. They pay well and are very stable right now. Like ’13 year veteran’ said about working for an airline; “Benefits are going down. And most are outsourcing jobs to save just a couple pennys on the dollar.”

“20 years ago, a new job was a phone call away, these days, its 4 states away, and half the pay, and minimal benefits. So if you have a stable job, keep it at all costs, the cycle will turn again in a few years, but for you new guys, think UPS and FED X, Job Security out the yang, and great pay and bennies. ” Aviation is a passion field. I wouldnt recommend it if your heart isn’t into it. Flying is what to stay away from. I spent thousands of dollars to get my pilots license in school and ended up working at UPS with a couple pilots who were furloughed.  I would recommend staying away from the giants and get with a repair shop.  Military experience is gold in the industry. If you are young I would recommend doing the 6 years and get all the free/paid training you can on the governments dime. Not to mention they have programs that pay for your A&P testing and schooling. Just a tough cycle for mechanics, with all the mergers and such, makes one feel on unsteady ground.”

Other good websites for job seekers are:

Top Cities for Aircraft Mechanic Jobs

  1.     Oklahoma City, OK
  2.     Savannah, GA
  3.     Indianapolis, IN
  4.     San Antonio, TX
  5.     Everett, WA (Boeing!)

Obviously, you have a statistically higher chance of finding employment in these cities.

Some insightful comments from experienced job applicants

“The problem with moving to a city with lots of aviation companies is that, those cities also have lots of laid off aircraft mechanics.  So the competition is fierce. The trend is aircraft maintenance is moving overseas currently to cheap labor countries.  An aircraft can be any place in the world in 24 hours.”  …you don’t need to volunteer…there are entry level jobs…but they are few and far between at times and pay low wages..esp with the economy the way it is…you will most likely have to relocate…but your best option is to get it in the military…also try looking on JSFIRM…this is an aviation job board…and they have tons of openings all over the place…some overseas positions…which depending on your age…maybe desirable…don’t get discouraged …a lot of the jobs require exp…but as I said…there are a few that want entry level or apprentice type candidates…in order to increase your chances of placement i would also look at getting some Manufacturer training..Eurocopter (EC135)…Bell (212/412)…or Sikorsky (S61, S76, S92) are probably ur best bet..EC and Bell have training info on their websites (their courses are in Forth Worth)..Sikorsky uses FlightSafety International as their trainers…if you get some training..employers may overlook some exp requirements”

Times are definitely tough right now; Delta hires more and more “mechanics helpers” all the time. Corporations will always look for ways to cut costs. With airlines, aircraft maintenance is usually the biggest drain on the budget, so naturally, that’s where they look to make the most cuts. Honestly, how intelligent and forward looking is that idea ?!?! What troubles me about working in transportation is auto mechanics out there are making more money than aviation mechanics (in some cases). You might say “what’s the big deal with that”, well, if we screw up as aviation mechanics hundreds of people will lose their lives as a result, the car pulls off the road, no big deal (unless Toyota,LOL). I think there is a big push right now, with very few exceptions (IE. UPS,Southwest,maybe Jet Blue),to lower the living wage of the A & P’s in the field today . Not to sound discouraging, but I wouldn’t recommend the field to anyone at this point. It was a good job years ago, but those days appear to be gone. I mean I know union A & P mechanics (Teamsters) who are making less than $19 per hour and have very few benefits (IE. AirTran); That’s just pathetic ! I’ve been at it myself for about 34 years now between military and civilian aircraft. My last job was with ABX Air, I was laid off after 21 years when the DHL takeover destroyed the company; But it was not just me, thousands lost their jobs. So where do all these people go ??? They flood the aviation job market driving the wages DOWN. I mean, ABX is just a small example, there are lots of companies either laying off or have hiring freezes in effect. Like I say, times are tough, those of us looking will more than likely have to settle for a lower paying gig right now, but life goes on……”

Here is a bit of advice from myaandplicense.com:

“Above all else, remain positive and always be willing to meet new people and strike up a conversation. This is a small group of professionals so it helps to meet people. Do not listen to the crotchety old airline mechanics that tell you there is no work and no hope. For some reason, I have never met a airline mechanic that enjoyed life, everyone of them is pissed off at the world. It may take a long time before some one finally see yours potential. In the mean time, find work in somewhat related fields. Being willing to travel helps in this industry as previously mentioned. Continue to keep up with the industry after graduating A&P by signing up for free aircraft maintenance industry magazines. learn more at my blog www.myaandplicense.com/”

My conclusions about the A&P job market

In some recent posts on jet engine technology and maintenance and upcoming airframe changes in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, companies like Rolls-Royce, GE and Boeing are pushing decades-long maintenance contracts with the airline carriers, in which these manufacturers take over complete control of the maintenance process from cradle to grave. This trend will probably accelerate in the future. What does this mean for the a&p licensee used to a traditional career with an airline carrier? Is this a drag on the employment market for a&p licensees or a stimulus? Only time will tell. I would recommend listening to veterans of the market for aircraft mechanic jobs and learn from their experiences.

by Steve Adams


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