Career and Education Opportunities for Aircraft Mechanics in Houston, Texas
There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for aircraft mechanics in the Houston, Texas area. There are currently 17,160 working aircraft mechanics in Texas; this should grow by 24% to about 21,230 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%. 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 $23 per hour or $47,950 yearly on average in Texas 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 Texas earn more. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Aircraft nationally.
The Houston area is home to eighty-one schools of higher education, including two within twenty-five miles of Houston 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 Houston 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.
- 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
Aviation Institute of Maintenance - Houston, TX
Aviation Institute of Maintenance, 7651 Airport Blvd., Houston, TX 77061. Aviation Institute of Maintenance is a small school located in Houston, Texas. It is a private for-profit school with primarily less-than 2-year programs and has 40 students. Aviation Institute of Maintenance has a one to two year program in Airframe Mechanics & Aircraft Maintenance Technology/Technician which graduated 108 students in 2008.
Houston Community College System - Houston, TX
Houston Community College System, 3100 Main Street, Houston, TX 77266-7517. Houston Community College System is a large college located in Houston, Texas. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 48,087 students. Houston Community College System has a one to two year program in Airframe Mechanics & Aircraft Maintenance Technology/Technician.
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
For more information, see the Federal Aviation Administration website.
- A first-class airman medical certificate is required to exercise the privileges of an airline transport pilot certificate.
For more information, see the Federal Aviation Administration website.
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: Houston, Texas
Houston is located in Harris County, Texas. It has a population of over 2,242,193, which has grown by 14.8% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Houston, 89, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Houston are valued at $173,500 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, 3,684 new homes were constructed in Houston, down from 6,035 the previous year.
The top three industries for women in Houston are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and administrative and support and waste management services. The average commute to work is about 27 minutes. More than 27.0% of Houston residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 9.7%, is higher than the state average.
The unemployment rate in Houston is 8.0%, which is less than Texas's average of 8.1%.
The percentage of Houston residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 50.4%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. El Buen Pastor United Methodist Church, 34th Temple Church of God in Christ and Pentecostal Church of God in Christ are some of the churches located in Houston. The largest religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church.
Houston is home to the Champion Rod and Gun Club and the Independence Heights Residential Historic District as well as Hermann Park and Hennessey Park. Shopping centers in the area include Windsor Plaza Shopping Center, Meyerland Plaza Shopping Center and Meyerland Shopping Center. Visitors to Houston can choose from Capital Inn, Bradford Homesuites - Houston Galleria and Best Western Fountainview Inn and Suites for temporary stays in the area.