Maintenance As A Career?
With the 2004 AMT salary survey we asked readers if you would recommend aircraft maintenance as a career to a friend or relative, and why or why not. Looking at the totals, 350 said no, 284 said yes, and 23 said maybe with the provision that the person have a love of aviation. Here are some of the responses.
Yes, I would recommend it
"Yes. It's challenging, rewarding, both personally and professionally, based largely on individual integrity."
"I would because of the exposure to cutting edge technologies and advancements in aircraft design and systems engineering."
"Has been the way of life for 52 years. Excellent field for anyone that wants to work and be responsible for what you do."
"This type of work can be very rewarding to somebody who is "into airplanes." But you have to love the work. If you want a job where your hands stay clean, the hours are regular, the pay is good, and the job is secure, go into another line of work. If you can't get enough of being around airplanes, we have a position for you."
"The sense of accomplishment you experience when you solve a problem with the aircraft is extraordinary."
"Aircraft maintenance is a very thankless profession and you will never get rich doing it. But, it gets in your blood. I can't picture myself doing anything else, I've tried!"
"A lot of people say it's not a secure thing, But is anything secure anymore? If you look in the industry there are a lot of opportunities not just working on planes but related fields in aviation."
"Yes, given the individual has a genuine "love" for aircraft and the aerospace industry. I would also consider the individual's flexibility to adapt to sometimes stressful and uncertain conditions, of which this industry does not lack. To quote a line from a movie, "' If it were easy, everyone would do it, that's what makes it great!"
No, I would not
"No! It is not worth midnight shift, rotating days, working most of your holidays, being away from the family on most weekends, not knowing how long your job will last in one location, the lack of straightforwardness from management, the pressure to get questionable quality out the door to meet "their numbers," and the lack of FAA oversight at or in the A&P schools."
"Unfortunately, the pay doesn't compensate for the responsibility. Maintenance is still a necessary evil as indicated by some budgets. There are better paying jobs that require less education with less responsibility. I do what I do because I love my job. I don't think there is enough pay in aviation maintenance to attract and keep the best and the brightest. Mechanics are still to a large degree thought of as greasy, not the brightest guy, with a rag in his back packet. Who wants to be looked upon that way?"
"I'm very sorry to say that I would not recommend a career in aircraft maintenance to any young person. The money and job security in this industry, at this time do not begin to equal the responsibilities of my job or the knowledge that I need to do my job. Working in aviation for 25 years and still wondering whether I will have a job or have to move next month has gotten very old."
"No, it is becoming too much trouble to put up with. An auto mechanic can make more and does not have to worry about the FAA, TSA, NTSB, and any other agency that has a hand in aviation. It has been a good living for me but not one I could recommend any more."
"Hell no. Reasons: FAA, pilots, cheap owners, lawyers, lousy repair stations, crummy parts suppliers, gouging insurance companies, and finally, stupid elected officials that run airports."
"I would not recommend this field for a career. I believe that our pay will stagnate and or fall and as time passes more of our work will be exported overseas. I think this is a dead-end career for young people in this country."