There are many moving parts that make up the aviation industry. From airport managers and transportation safety administration (TSA) workers to pilots and flight attendants—among many other jobs in-between—keeping passengers safe both on the ground and in the air is a monumental task. But did you ever wonder who’s working behind the scenes to keep the aircraft safe and running efficiently?

We’d like to take you through a day in the life of an aviation maintenance technician (AMT). Imagine working on multi-million-dollar equipment that powers some of our country’s most elite transportation, energy and defense manufacturers. Sounds interesting, right? Read on to learn how Vaughn’s Airframe & Powerplant (A&P) certificate program can be your ticket to a futureproof career.

The role of an AMT

Aviation maintenance technicians are considered to be the backbone of the aviation industry. You may not have thought of this before, but without these highly skilled professionals, no other careers could exist in the aviation industry. Talk about an in-demand career! Simply put, AMTs oversee the operation of various types of aircraft, including jets and helicopters, by maintaining and repairing their systems and components. No two days are ever the same!

What it takes to become an AMT

The role of an AMT―also known as an airframe and powerplant technician―is a demanding career. It is a highly skilled job that requires licensing by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to ensure candidates have mastered a broad range of industry-related knowledge and skills. AMTs perform routine maintenance on aircrafts and look for parts that need to be repaired or replaced that include brakes, wheels, electrical systems and wings. Candidates who pursue a career as an AMT must fulfill a few of the following requirements:

  • Completion of 1,920 hours of class time and hands-on training before taking the licensing exam
  • Being able to work on different engine systems from a variety of manufacturers, along with the ability to apply knowledge learned from manuals for troubleshooting
  • Have skill in mechanical, electrical, pneumatic, hydraulic, composite and sheet metal applications

Skills and responsibilities

For every flight that lands in the United States, there is a crew of AMTs who must inspect the plane and sign off on each protocol to ensure every facet of its mechanics is working properly and efficiently. Here are some of the skills and responsibilities required to do the job:

Qualifications and requirements:

  • Be licensed by the FAA
  • Must be conscientious and thorough
  • Adhere to demanding schedules
  • Work well under pressure


  • Address immediate problems and resolve them before takeoff, or defer problem and ground flight for later repair
  • Use full knowledge of industry standards and apply troubleshooting skills
  • Sign off on all protocols to ensure a plane is safe to fly

Tasks on a typical day:

  • Diagnose mechanical or electrical problems
  • Repair wings, brakes, electrical systems and other aircraft components
  • Replace defective parts using hand or power tools
  • Examine replacement aircraft parts for defects
  • Read maintenance materials to identify repair procedures
  • Test aircraft parts with gauges and other diagnostic equipment
  • Inspect completed work to ensure it meets performance standards
  • Keep records of maintenance and repair work

Opportunity for growth

AMTs who work in their field have the opportunity to move up the ladder within their company. Here is a snapshot of the different types of jobs in this field:

  • AMT―Performs routine maintenance and repairs
  • Lead Technician―Distributes, assigns and monitors work
  • Instructor―Teaches general familiarization classes for the types of aircraft that airlines use, along with instruction on aircraft systems, procedures, safety and compliance
  • Aircraft Maintenance Planner―Handles environmental studies, oversees land use planning and participates in business development activities
  • Maintenance Controller―Works in a central location to help troubleshoot problems on the ground
  • Maintenance Engineer―Modifies aircraft

Job outlook

According to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities for aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians have been projected to grow 11 percent from 2020 to 2030—which is faster as the average for all occupations. And, according to Boeing, the industry will need as many as 626,000 new maintenance technicians over the course of the next 20 years. Did you know that aircraft mechanics and service technicians held approximately 130,100 jobs in 2020? Now, that is an impressive number! As far as salary is concerned, that sum continues to increase as well. In May 2020, the median annual wage for aircraft mechanics and service technicians was $66,440. With this impressive projected job growth and extreme demand, the time couldn’t be better to pursue a career in this field.

How Vaughn can get you there

Vaughn’s Aviation Training Institute (ATI) is a special gem among the College’s stellar degree programs. Led by industry expert and vice president of training, Domenic Proscia, the curriculum is designed to prepare students for high-paying and in-demand careers with the tools, modern technology, knowledge and hands-on experience needed to be successful in a variety of maintenance careers. Graduates go on to work in the utility, transportation and aviation arenas at companies such as the Metropolitan Transit Authority, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Con Edison, the Long Island Rail Road and major airlines such as Atlas Air (cargo), American Airlines and Delta Air Lines, among others. Vaughn’s ATI program includes the Aviation Maintenance (Airframe and Powerplant) certificate and Aviation Maintenance Associate in Occupational Science, both of which are approved by the FAA and will give you the skills you need to become an AMT.

Success Stories

A futureproof career can be only months away. Read the success stories of Vaughn graduates who are working and living their dreams as AMTs.

Mahdi Macbahi ‘13:Vaughn Graduate Finds Success by Blending Passion for Aviation Maintenance with His Love for Teaching”

Angela Wright ’20:Vaughn Student Angela Wright ’20 Pursues Lifelong Passion for Aviation Maintenance”

Discover the many degree programs that can open doors for you in the aviation industry. Which one is right for you? Read all about them in our blog, “Aviation Maintenance Degrees Fuel Career Opportunities.”

Is a high-paying career as a certified airframe and powerplant technician in your future? Vaughn’s ATI program can prepare you for the industry in as little as 16 months. Learn more about this exciting opportunity at our Virtual Information Session on Thursday, February 24 at 6 p.m. Register today!