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Career and Education Opportunities for Aircraft Mechanics in San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for aircraft mechanics. About 11,700 people are currently employed as aircraft mechanics in California. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 13% to 13,200 people employed. This is better than the national trend for aircraft mechanics, which sees this job pool growing by about 6.4% over the next eight years. In general, aircraft mechanics diagnose, adjust, or overhaul aircraft engines and assemblies, such as hydraulic and pneumatic systems.

A person working as an aircraft mechanic can expect to earn about $27 per hour or $57,580 per year on average in California and about $24 hourly or $51,390 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Aircraft mechanics earn more than people working in the category of Aircraft generally in California and more than people in the Aircraft category nationally.

The San Francisco area is home to eighty-six schools of higher education, including three within twenty-five miles of San Francisco where you can get a degree as an aircraft mechanic. Aircraft mechanics usually hold a post-secondary certificate, so it will take a short time to learn to be an aircraft mechanic if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Aircraft Mechanic

In general, aircraft mechanics diagnose, adjust, or overhaul aircraft engines and assemblies, such as hydraulic and pneumatic systems.

Aircraft mechanics read and interpret maintenance manuals and other specifications to establish the feasibility and method of repairing or replacing malfunctioning or damaged parts. They also remove or repair worn, faulty, or damaged parts, using hand tools and testing equipment. Equally important, aircraft mechanics have to maintain and rebuild aircraft structures and parts such as wings and fuselage and seals. They are often called upon to assemble and install electrical, plumbing and structural parts and accessories, using hand or power tools. They are expected to examine and inspect aircraft parts, including landing gear and deicers to identify cracks or other problems. Finally, aircraft mechanics measure parts for wear, using precision instruments.

Every day, aircraft mechanics are expected to be able to read and understand documents and reports. They need to control and manipulate objects at a fine level of detail. It is also important that they evaluate problems as they arise.

It is important for aircraft mechanics to inventory and requisition or order supplies, parts and equipment. They are often called upon to examine airframes for wear or other defects. They also measure the tension of control cables. They are sometimes expected to clean and sand structural surfaces and materials to ready them for bonding. Somewhat less frequently, aircraft mechanics are also expected to decide on repair limits for engine hot section parts.

Aircraft mechanics sometimes are asked to modify aircraft structures or parts, following drawings and technical publications. They also have to be able to maintain repair logs, documenting all preventive and corrective aircraft maintenance and listen to operating engines to uncover and diagnose malfunctions such as sticking or burned valves. And finally, they sometimes have to remove and install in-flight refueling stores and external fuel tanks.

Like many other jobs, aircraft mechanics must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in San Francisco include:

  • Auto Mechanic. Repair automobiles, trucks, and other vehicles. Master mechanics repair virtually any part on the vehicle or specialize in the transmission system.
  • Avionics Technician. Install, inspect, or repair avionics equipment, such as radar, radio, and missile control systems in aircraft or space vehicles.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Aircraft Mechanic Training

Wyotech-Oakland Campus - Oakland, CA

Wyotech-Oakland Campus, 9636 Earhart Rd, North Field, Oakland, CA 94621. Wyotech-Oakland Campus is a small school located in Oakland, California. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 2-year programs and has 101 students. Wyotech-Oakland Campus has a two to four year program in Airframe Mechanics & Aircraft Maintenance Technology/Technician which graduated eighty-five students in 2008.

College of Alameda - Alameda, CA

College of Alameda, 555 Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway, Alameda, CA 94501. College of Alameda is a medium sized college located in Alameda, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,576 students. College of Alameda has 2 areas of study related to Aircraft Mechanic. They are:

  • Airframe Mechanics & Aircraft Maintenance Technology/Technician, one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year which graduated one, two, and zero students respectively in 2008.
  • Aircraft Powerplant Technology/Technician, associate's degree and two to four year which graduated two and zero students respectively in 2008.

City College of San Francisco - San Francisco, CA

City College of San Francisco, 50 Phelan Ave, San Francisco, CA 94112-1898. City College of San Francisco is a large college located in San Francisco, California. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 49,897 students. City College of San Francisco has 2 areas of study related to Aircraft Mechanic. They are:

  • Airframe Mechanics & Aircraft Maintenance Technology/Technician, one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year which graduated nine, zero, and one students respectively in 2008.
  • Aircraft Powerplant Technology/Technician, one to two year, associate's degree, and two to four year which graduated five, zero, and one students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Airmen Certification: Include the following areas:

  • Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application for Flight Engineers, Flight Navigators, Aircraft Dispatchers, and Control Tower Operators
  • 8610-1 (PDF) - Mechanic's Application for Inspection Authorization
  • Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application for Mechanics, Repairman, and Parachute Riggers
  • Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application for Pilots, Flight Instructors and Ground Instructors
  • Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application for Sport Pilot

Medical Certification:

Certified Lubrication Specialist: Certification recognizes those individuals who possess current knowledge of lubrication fundamentals and theory.

For more information, see the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers website.

Certified Aerospace Technician: The SpaceTEC Certified Aerospace Technician Core exam is a three part exam consisting of a 70 question, computer based, written exam, followed by an oral and practical evaluation of an individual's technical knowledge and skills.

For more information, see the SpaceTEC website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: San Francisco, California

San Francisco, California
San Francisco, California photo by Optigan13

San Francisco is located in San Francisco County, California. It has a population of over 808,976, which has grown by 4.2% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in San Francisco, 180, is far greater than the national average. New single-family homes in San Francisco cost $218,300 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, fifty-seven new homes were built in San Francisco, up from fifty-five the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in San Francisco are professional, scientific, and technical services, health care, and educational services. For men, it is professional, scientific, and technical services, accommodation and food services, and construction. The average travel time to work is about 31 minutes. More than 45.0% of San Francisco residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 16.4%, is higher than the state average.

The percentage of San Francisco residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 41.8%, is less than both the national and state average. Gold Mountain Monastery, Golden Gate Community Church of the Nazarene and Golden Gate Lutheran Church are among the churches located in San Francisco. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the United Methodist Church.

San Francisco is home to the Pier 88 and the Prayer Book Cross as well as Helen Wills Playground and Music Concourse. Shopping malls in the area include Yerba Buena Square Shopping Center, Fox Plaza Shopping Center and Galleria At Crocker Center Shopping Center. Visitors to San Francisco can choose from Astoria Hotel, A-1 Inn Motel and Best Western Canterbury Hotel for temporary stays in the area.