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Career and Education Opportunities for Aircraft Mechanics in Rockford, Illinois

Rockford, Illinois provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for aircraft mechanics. There are currently 2,890 jobs for aircraft mechanics in Illinois and this is projected to grow 7% to 3,090 jobs by 2016. 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. 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 per year on average in Illinois and about $24 hourly or $51,390 per year on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Aircraft, people working as aircraft mechanics in Illinois earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Aircraft nationally.

The Rockford area is home to twelve schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Rockford where you can get a degree as an aircraft mechanic. Given that the most common education level for aircraft mechanics is a post-secondary certificate, you can expect to spend a short time studying 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 Rockford 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.

Rock Valley College - Rockford, IL

Rock Valley College, 3301 N Mulford Rd, Rockford, IL 61114-5699. Rock Valley College is a medium sized college located in Rockford, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,030 students. Rock Valley College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Airframe Mechanics & Aircraft Maintenance Technology/Technician which graduated nine and seven 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: Rockford, Illinois

Rockford, Illinois
Rockford, Illinois photo by Kranar_drogin

Rockford is situated in Winnebago County, Illinois. It has a population of over 157,272, which has grown by 4.8% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Rockford, 78, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Rockford are valued at $125,600 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, sixty-four new homes were built in Rockford, down from one hundred fifty-seven the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Rockford are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is metal and metal products, construction, and machinery. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 19.8% of Rockford residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.1%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Rockford is 17.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Rockford residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 50.0%, is less than both the national and state average. Abundant Life Assembly of God Church, South Park Covenant Church and Souls Harbor Church are among the churches located in Rockford. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Methodist Church.

Rockford is home to the McPhail Hall and the Mary McGaw Hall as well as Ken-Rock Park and Jamestown Park. Shopping malls in the area include Alpine Village Shopping Center, Eleventh Street Plaza Shopping Center and Fairview Shopping Center. Visitors to Rockford can choose from Extended Stay America - Rockford East, Courtyard Rockford and Hampton Inn Rockford for temporary stays in the area.