Aircraft engineering careers are rewarding and highly sought-after. Working in aircraft engineering enables personal development and the chance to travel the world whilst working on planes that will help thousands of people take their own journeys. To become an aircraft engineer or aircraft technician takes years of work but can lead to a highly satisfying lifelong career.
What Does an Aircraft Engineer Do?
Aircraft engineers are responsible for the maintenance of planes and the systems onboard. This means running diagnostics, making repairs, troubleshooting problems and making upgrades. To start, you’ll likely be part of a team, being given a specific part of the plane to work on. The average salary for an aircraft engineer in the UK is £38,570, and this figure rises as you progress through your aircraft engineer career. From there you may go on to design planes or to implement new Aviation practices, but you’ll always use the core skills of engineering in everything you do.
How to Become an Aircraft Engineer
1. Study STEM Subjects at School
If you know you want to start an engineering career while you’re still in school, you should aim to study mathematics, physics, chemistry and design. It isn’t always necessary to study all four, but a solid grounding of how physics works and how to build machines will help you on the path to becoming an aircraft engineer.
2. Get an Engineering Apprenticeship
Engineering apprenticeships are a great way of learning practical skills on the job and will still leave time for further education if that’s something you want to pursue. Certain employers will even pay for your education costs while you’re with them, so apprenticeships offer both flexibility and security. An apprenticeship can last between one or two years and will set you up for the rest of your career.
Here are 5 reasons to do an apprenticeship.
3. Get an Engineering Degree
In order to build your engineering career, you’ll likely need a degree or a master’s degree. An engineering degree will trach you about physics, aeronautics, structural analysis and mechanics. This will help you understand how to build and operate a plane and the forces at work keeping it in the air. This highly specialised education will help you when it comes to getting a job as an engineer, but don’t neglect practical training too.
4. Get an Aircraft License
If you want to be an aircraft engineer, no matter whether you’ve done an apprenticeship or a degree, you’ll have to get a license to work on planes. Different countries operate under different aircraft licenses, and whilst all carry their own weight, you’ll need the specific aircraft engineering license of the country you want to work in.
B1 and B2 licenses will help you with engineering work in Europe, as they’re tied to The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The B1 license refers to mechanical work: aircraft structure, power, mechanical and electrical systems. B2 licenses refers to avionics: communications and radar systems. You can get a B1 license or B2 license through taking the EASA examinations and by developing five years’ maintenance experience on an appropriate category of aircraft.
5. Use A Specialist Recruitment Agency
The fastest way to get a good job as an aircraft engineer is to use a specialist recruitment agency. A recruitment company that works in Aviation will have contracts with some of the biggest airlines in the world and will help you make those vital connections.
Demand is growing for aircraft engineers as the global Aviation market continues to expand, and aircraft engineering careers offer many opportunities for growth, development and personal satisfaction.