How much do aircraft mechanics make?

The top cruising speed on an average commercial airliner is about 600 miles per hour. That also happens to be about how fast some aircraft mechanics will say their field changes.

The truth is that technology is constantly advancing, and aviation technology is no different. Professionals in this field are regularly honing their skills and learning more about today’s technology to keep up with the demand.

Given that the field involves state-of-the-art technology, strict safety regulations, and rapid change, aviation maintenance is often associated with high pay. Should it be? How much do aircraft mechanics make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median wage for aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians in 2020 was almost $67,000, with top mechanics earning an over $100,000 and the lowest 10% earning about $38,000.

While these are the specific numbers you might have been searching for, there are several factors that can impact what you make as an aviation mechanic.

Five factors that influence how much you make as an aircraft mechanic

To ensure you are as successful as you can be as an aviation mechanic, consider these five factors—and how they can influence how much you make as an aircraft mechanic:


  • Your experience level. When you first start your career as an aviation mechanic, of course, this is going to be a bigger weakness than a strength. But once you’ve been in the industry for a couple  of years, you'll start honing your skills and building your resume. And that can help lead to more advanced roles (and, likewise, bigger and better salaries).


  • How well you know technology. With aviation technologies evolving practically every day, your knowledge of them can position you to earn higher pay. Hiring managers are increasingly searching for technicians who also know avionics, making it possible for them to work on electronic components in new aircraft just as easily as they can install and repair them in older planes.


  • Getting your A&P license. Like many industries, earning certain credentials can also boost your salary potential. Aviation mechanics can earn an A&P license, or Airframe (bodywork) & Powerplant (engine work) ratings. This demonstrates to employers that they’ve received the proper training and met certain standards set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).


  • Who you work for. In the aviation field, the major airlines are a popular place to seek work, but they're not the only ones looking for skilled technicians. Couriers and express delivery companies, such as FedEx and UPS, constantly have planes in the air. And government, manufacturing, and other industries also rely on aircraft mechanics to keep their operations running smoothly.


  • The work you perform. What are your specific aviation skills? If you become familiar with high-tech electrical issues or systems troubleshooting, those skill sets may be more highly valued—and that can lead to higher wages. By developing specializations in engines, electrical systems, or inspections, you can seek more advanced roles (and higher salaries).

A high-flying career

Technical know-how and practical skills are keys to a successful career in the field of aviation. But to make the best salary possible, you're going to need to plan carefully.

Aircraft maintenance is becoming a highly competitive field, especially given the high pay. It has regularly been ranked among the top careers to consider in the United States.

And now that you know the factors that will most impact your pay, your career journey has been cleared for a smooth takeoff. Look no further than our robust database of partner schools for the right aircraft and avionics program near you!