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Career and Education Opportunities for Aircraft Mechanics in Elgin, Illinois

Aircraft mechanic career and educational opportunities abound in Elgin, Illinois. There are currently 2,890 working aircraft mechanics in Illinois; this should grow 7% to 3,090 working aircraft mechanics in the state by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for aircraft mechanics are expected to grow by about 6.4%. Aircraft mechanics generally 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 hourly or $56,230 yearly on average in Illinois and about $24 hourly or $51,390 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Earnings for aircraft mechanics are better than earnings in the general category of Aircraft in Illinois and better than general Aircraft category earnings nationally.

There are sixty-one schools of higher education in the Elgin area, including two within twenty-five miles of Elgin where you can get a degree to start your career as an aircraft mechanic. The most common level of education for aircraft mechanics is a post-secondary certificate. 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 Elgin 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.
  • Farm Equipment Mechanic. Diagnose, adjust, or overhaul farm machinery and vehicles, such as tractors, harvesters, and irrigation systems.
  • Industrial Machinery Mechanic. Repair, install, or maintain industrial production and processing machinery or refinery and pipeline distribution systems.
  • Mechanical Door Repairer. Install, service, or repair opening and closing mechanisms of automatic doors and hydraulic door closers. Includes garage door mechanics.
  • Millwright. Install, dismantle, or move machinery and heavy equipment according to layout plans, blueprints, or other drawings.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Aircraft Mechanic Training

Kishwaukee College - Malta, IL

Kishwaukee College, 21193 Malta Rd, Malta, IL 60150-9699. Kishwaukee College is a small college located in Malta, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,134 students. Kishwaukee College has an associate's degree program in Agricultural Mechanics & Equipment/Machine Technology which graduated nine students in 2008.

Lewis University - Romeoville, IL

Lewis University, One University Parkway, Romeoville, IL 60446-2200. Lewis University is a medium sized university located in Romeoville, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 5,536 students and an admission rate of 71%. Lewis University has one to two year, associate's degree, and bachelor's degree programs in Airframe Mechanics & Aircraft Maintenance Technology/Technician.

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: Elgin, Illinois

Elgin, Illinois
Elgin, Illinois photo by James Jordan

Elgin is located in Kane County, Illinois. It has a population of over 106,330, which has grown by 12.5% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Elgin, 104, is above the national average. New single-family homes in Elgin cost $156,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred thirty-two new homes were constructed in Elgin, down from seven hundred fifty-six the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Elgin are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, metal and metal products, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average travel time to work is about 26 minutes. More than 20.5% of Elgin residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Elgin is 12.4%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Elgin residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 56.0%, is more than both the national and state average. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Seventh Day Adventist Church and Saint Thomas More Roman Catholic Church are some of the churches located in Elgin. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Elgin is home to the Fox Bluff Corporate Center and the Elgin Fire Station Number 2 as well as Wing Park and College Park. Shopping malls in the area include Wing Park Manor Shopping Center, Tyler Creek Plaza Shopping Center and Town and Country Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Elgin can choose from Elgin-Days Inn, Colonial Lodge Motel and Crowne Plaza for temporary stays in the area.