What's in a Name?

One of the most controversial topics I run in to is what we should call ourselves. If I use the term mechanic in an article, I have some say the term is degrading, reminiscent of the Lowell Mather character on Wings. They would say “technician” is a more professional title.

But not everybody agrees with that. To many, “technician” is a demeaning title. To them a technician refers to someone with a very specific skill – a lab technician for example. Technicians go through very specialized training on a very limited scale to do a very specific job. The argument those readers give is that we are mechanics according to the FAA. Well, technically speaking that is correct. It says so right on our certificate. It doesn’t say “Technician, Airframe & Powerplant.”

Then you have those wanting to be called engineers. But are we really engineers? Does two years of school mean we can call ourselves engineers?

In the end, we will get the respect that we earn. If we call ourselves engineers, it won’t mean squat if we show up to work unshaven, with stained blue jeans and an un-tucked t-shirt with holes. It doesn’t matter how much training we have had or how many degrees are hanging on the wall, if we act un-professionally we are practically guaranteeing professional suicide.

Thanks for reading.

Joe Escobar, A&P/IA

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