Aviation Inspector: Salary and Career Facts

Explore the career requirements for aviation inspectors. Get the facts about job duties, licensure, certification and salary to determine if this is the right career for you. Schools offering Aviation Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is an Aviation Inspector?

As an aviation inspector, you'll evaluate pilots, facilities and flight equipment, ensuring all aspects of an airline company are up to current standards and regulations. You must be very knowledgable about how to spot potential problems and malfunctioning equipment in order to avoid life-threatening accidents. It is important for aviation inspectors to stay up to date with current rules and regulations, set by the FAA, and be able to use the regulations to schedule maintenance checks and keep detailed logs about how often they occur. The table below outlines the general requirements for a career as an aviation inspector.

Education Required High school diploma or GED, post-secondary certificate most common
Key Responsibilities Monitor the implementation of new safety procedures and aircraft regulations, check a plane's or airline's performance history, examine the possibilities of airline downsizing, ensure pilot certification and re-certification testing
Licensure/Certification Licensure and certification required
Job Growth (2014-2024) 1% (for aviation mechanics)*
Median Salary (2017) $88,738**

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, **Payscale.com

What Does an Aviation Inspector Do?

To become an aviation inspector, you'll need to acquire a high level of expertise in aircraft and airline operations. You'll apply this specialized industry knowledge to monitor the implementation of new safety procedures and aircraft regulations. You'll also help administer and implement new methods to improve these regulations and standards where they fall short of normal or optimal safety concerns. Although you won't evaluate the design of an aircraft, you will need to check a plane's or airline's performance history, air carrier dynamics and look for risk indicators, such as aircraft age, maintenance schedules, complaints and incident statistics.

You'll also look at the airline staff to examine the possibilities of airline downsizing, changes in management and high employee turnover. In addition, you'll be responsible for ensuring pilot certification and re-certification testing and tracking a pilot's competency. You'll evaluate various pilot training programs to recommend improvements for new safety procedures. You might also perform a number of advisory and development duties for projects and policies.

Will I Need a License?

You must usually possess a pilot's license through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to become an aviation inspector. Licensure ensures that you have the ability and knowledge of various aircraft, as well as hands-on understanding of the procedures necessary to operate it. You need to have expert knowledge of FAA's business processes for Air Transportation Oversight System and some familiarity with the code of Federal Aviation Regulations to be able to maintain proper standards and procedures. Since you'll mediate between various departments and personnel, you must be able to communicate in a clear and concise manner, including creating clear, written safety report updates.

Individual inspection positions carry specific licensure qualifications that you'll need to meet, depending on the type of inspection you'll be performing. For general aviation and safety operations, you'll need transport and commercial pilot licenses, as well as an instructor certificate. As a maintenance safety inspector, you'll need an FAA mechanic license, and you might require certain proficiency ratings.

What Do I Need to Become FAA Certified?

To earn your pilot's license, you can't have more than two flying accidents in the past five years in which you were at fault. To gain the necessary experience flying aircraft, you'll need to undergo a medical assessment and pass flying and written examinations. The FAA requires you to earn a state teaching license in addition to a pilot's license to earn an instructor certification. A maintenance license requires you to work in the field, complete formal training and be sponsored by your employer. Most licenses require you to pass an examination administered or approved by the FAA.

What Are My Salary and Career Prospects?

Inspectors are type of aviation mechanics, but they are specialists, and like all specialists, it will take a few years for you to gain enough hands-on experience and technical knowledge to earn the trust and confidence of your employer. According to PayScale.com, the middle 80% of all salaried aviation safety inspectors earned between $47,344 and $131,090 as of January 2017.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

You may also be interested in job in automotive technology as an automotive mechanic. This job may require some post-secondary training, as well as a high school diploma. You would have to be very knowledgable in automotive technology in order to properly diagnose various car problems and be able to properly fix them. You may also want to consider a job as an aerospace engineering and operations technician. This job requires an associate's degree and involves designing various aerospace technologies using specialized computer programs and then bringing them to life for testing and to see if they work properly.

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:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

Popular Schools