How to Become an Aerospace Technician in 5 Steps

Research what it takes to become an aerospace technician. Learn about available training and optional certification to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Aviation Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does an Aerospace Technician Do?

Aerospace technicians ensure that air and space flight vehicles, such as airplanes, helicopters, and shuttles, are in fully functional operation and meet all safety regulations and requirements. System maintenance, routine inspections, and computer diagnostics all fall under the scope of an aerospace technician. An extensive background in engineering and physics is a great way to provide a solid foundation for a career as an aerospace technician.

Degree Required Associate's degree, bachelor's degree
Education Field of Study Aerospace specific courses in technology, electronics, and engineering
Key Responsibilities Positioning and tracking of aircraft and spacecraft
Certification Not required but available through the National Center for Aerospace and Transportation Technologies or the SpaceTEC National Resource Center
Job Growth (2014-2024) 4% (for all aerospace engineering and operations technicians)*
Median Salary (2015) $66,180 (for all aerospace engineering and operations technicians)*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is an Aerospace Technician?

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) reports that as an aerospace technician, you would serve as an operations support professional to scientists and aerospace engineers (www.aiaa.org). You would be responsible for maintaining systems and equipment used to ensure safe and efficient air and space vehicle flight. You may also be referred to by other job titles, such as an aerospace engineering technician or aerospace operations technician.

Step 1: Get Trained

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most employers prefer applicants who have at least completed an associate's degree program (www.bls.gov). Associate's and bachelor's degree programs that are consistent with your profession include those titled aerospace technology, aerospace electronics technology, aerospace engineering and other related disciplines. Depending on your degree type and level, you may have targeted classroom instruction and hands-on field/lab experience in digital electronics, aerodynamics, propulsion, flight mechanics, structural analysis and engineering thermodynamics.

Step 2: Acquire Work Experience

As an aerospace technician, you can find employment opportunities in a variety of environments including aerospace product manufacturing firms, airline and air transportation companies, engineering firms, scientific research organizations, government agencies and the military. You would use an array of systems and devices to evaluate, position and track aircraft and spacecraft.

Step 3: Consider Certification

Certification is not required, but it is a type of professional credentialing that may be beneficial for career advancement. Certification is given upon passing an examination, which is administered through trade organizations, such as the National Center for Aerospace and Transportation Technologies and the SpaceTEC National Resource Center at Kennedy Space Flight Center. Exam prerequisites vary and may include a minimum number of years of professional work experience.

Step 4: Join an Organization

Trade associations generally offer benefits, such as professional networking opportunities, advocacy outlets and industry updates. AIAA is the one of many organizations that you can join and receive membership benefits.

Step 5: Stay Current

Staying current on industry technologies and guidelines is important to your daily activities. Continuing education is offered through some employers; however, it is also available through memberships at trade associations.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you prefer to be a bit more hands-on with creation, you might want to take the additional step and look into aerospace engineering, where you will be responsible for the design and creation of airborne vehicles. Keep in mind that an associate's degree will not suffice for this job; you will need at least a bachelor's degree. Other fields with technician jobs include electro-mechanical, industrial engineering, and mechanical engineering, all of which can be entered with an associate's degree.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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