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Odds of Hanging On

"Hanging on" can take many forms. You may be perfectly satisfied working in a small aircraft maintenance shop for years, climbing the ladder as you rack up the experience. Your chances are especially good if you earn a Bachelor's in aviation maintenance or if you obtain your Inspector's Authorization. This credential allows you to perform annual aircraft inspections, and provides you with a solid base for a maintenance management gig. You'll need 3+ years as an A&P mechanic, with at least 24 months spent getting your hands dirty inside airplanes. You also get to take another certification exam.

Many aircraft mechanics navigate a different career path. They may work in a general aviation or privately owned aircraft shop until they manage to migrate into an airline maintenance facility. However, you might be rolling the dice here, as many airlines are offshoring their maintenance work to foreign markets with lower operating expenses.

However, three facts will remain true: (1) Airplanes will continue to fly; (2) Airplanes will continue to require maintenance and repairs; and (3) Veteran aircraft mechanics are beginning to retire, creating management openings for qualified younger workers. In turn, this opens up entry-level positions for new aircraft maintenance workers. Also, flying cars seem to be just around the corner now….

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