How to Become an Aviation Safety Inspector

Read on to learn the steps involved in becoming an aviation safety inspector. Learn about the education requirements, application process, and salary expectations of this career. Schools offering Driver Training degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Aviation Safety Inspector Overview

The safety of aircraft and aircraft systems depends on aviation safety inspectors, who work for the Federal Aviation Administration and are tasked with writing, managing, and enforcing aviation regulations. Examples include inspecting aircraft maintenance and performance, ensuring the competence of staff who work with aviation equipment, and monitoring the safety of facilities that handle aircraft. If you're considering a career in this field, read the table below for a general overview on the recruitment and application process.

Education Required High school diploma
Skills Critical thinking, quality control analysis, operation monitoring
Training Airline pilot, flight instructor, or FAA Mechanic certificates required for some positions
Average Annual Income (2019) $92,963*
Career Outlook (2016-2026) 6% growth (for all transportation inspectors)**

Sources: *PayScale.com **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Do I Begin the Application Process?

Because aviation safety inspectors can work in several different areas of aviation regulation enforcement (such as operations, avionics, or carrier maintenance), the application process and requirements vary by area and position level. The first step is to determine exactly what field you would like to pursue. Once you have made this choice, you can research online to find potential openings and application instructions.

What Are the Education Requirements?

College degrees are not required for most entry-level aviation safety inspector positions. Job postings focus on the applicant's training with aircraft maintenance or other experience related to the specialty they will be joining as inspectors. For example, for general operations, candidates must have a valid flight instructor or airline pilot certificate (a requirement that can be waived with a specific amount of flight hours logged or other applicable substitutes). In air carrier maintenance, candidates must have an FAA Mechanic certificate among several other training requirements. Be sure to check the job posting for the specialty you wish to join to review all applicable requirements.

Are There Any Other Requirements?

All aviation safety inspector roles require applicants to be U.S. citizens. In addition, all applicants should have a valid driver's license and be fluent in English. Applicants must also consent to clearing random drug tests.

What Are the Responsibilities of an Aviation Safety Inspector?

The responsibilities of aviation safety inspectors vary depending on their specialties. In general aviation operations, aviation safety instructors are charged with evaluating the qualifications, training programs, and certifications of aviation staff, as well as the safety regulations and procedures of airports and other aviation facilities. General aviation avionics safety inspectors work directly with monitoring airplane maintenance procedures, as well as the training programs for mechanics assigned to facilities. Air carrier maintenance safety inspectors are tasked with the development and enforcement of airplane maintenance regulations, which specify rules and standards that are used to approve the safety of individual aircraft before flight.

What Is the Career Outlook and Average Salary?

In 2019, PayScale.com estimated the average annual salary for aviation safety inspectors at $92,963. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have a specific statistic for aviation safety inspectors, but they do place them under the category of transportation inspectors. The BLS estimates a 6% growth in job opportunities for this category between 2016 and 2026.

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