Are you passionate about exploring the mechanics of engines and aircraft systems and building a career that ensures aircraft are ready for a flight? Then, becoming an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer could be a great career option for you.
Aircraft maintenance engineers are licenced engineering professionals who conduct repairs, maintenance, and modifications on various aircraft. They perform routine inspections, maintenance, repair, and upgrade aircraft for safe flights.
The ideal qualification to be an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer is a Diploma of Aeroskills (Mechanical). However, a Certificate IV in Aeroskills (Mechanical) or a Certificate IV in Aeroskills (Avionics) may also be appropriate. Additionally, you need the Aircraft Maintenance Engineer licence to perform your duties legally in Australia.
Understanding the job profile, required skills, and qualifications will help you decide whether it is the perfect career option. This blog provides you with all the information you should know before kickstarting your career as an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer.
1. What Is An Aircraft Maintenance Engineer?
Aircraft Maintenance Engineers perform maintenance and upgrade mechanical components of commercial and private aircraft.
These skilled craftsmen install, maintain, overhaul, rebuild, or service the engines and other parts of an aircraft, including airframes, electrical parts, aircraft structures, radio systems, and surface finishes.
Aircraft Maintenance Engineers may specialize in a range of disciplines of aircraft engineering, such as avionics engineering, mechanical engineering, and structures engineering.
2. Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Duties
You may expect to carry out the below general tasks and duties when working in this role:
Dismantle, inspect, test, repair, and reassemble aircraft engines, accessories, electrical systems, and ancillary components.
Assemble components, subassemblies, and parts of aircraft engines and equipment.
Carry out routine pre-flight checks and examinations of aircraft engines, equipment, critical control system, and associated mechanical systems.
Manufacture aircraft electrical parts, radio hardware components, and instrument
Follow protocols when examining and restoring aircraft components.
Observe OH&S guidelines, procedures, and policies.
Test aircraft material, components, and engines to find causes for impaired performance and upgrade aircraft safety equipment (as needed).
Install electrical circuits, electronic testing, aircraft communication equipment, and specialized test apparatus.
Substitute and test aircraft oxygen system gears.
Maintain records of actions performed.
3. Desirable Skills For Aircraft Maintenance Engineer
An Aircraft Maintenance Engineer needs to have the following technical and soft skills to work and succeed in this role:
Extensive knowledge of aircraft inspection, maintenance procedures, aircraft components, and regulations
Able to repair, test, and troubleshoot different types of aircraft mechanical systems
Good at measuring instruments and troubleshooting faults
Able to use computers to obtain maintenance data
Able to interpret wiring diagrams
Able to remove and install aircraft components
Able to read drawings to conduct maintenance activities
Able to choose and record data for aircraft
Knowledge of fire prevention and safety precautions
Enjoy technical and engineering activities
Able to follow correct procedures
Excellent attention to detail
Strong observational abilities
Able to work in a team
Clear and effective communication
Good hearing and vision
Good hand-eye coordination
Able to concentrate for a prolonged duration
Comfortable working in confined spaces and at heights
4. Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Qualifications In Australia
To become an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer, you must have an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer trade certificate, an aircraft maintenance engineer’s licence, and undergo on-the-job training as an Air Mechanic.
Here are the exact steps to qualify for this role:
Should be above the age of 18 years
Should have completed a recognized educational qualification equivalent to Australian Year 12
After graduating with a trade certificate, obtain a Civil Aviation Safety Regulations Part 66 Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer licence to become a Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer.
Achieve CASA Part 66 LAME licensing in more than one licence category from a Civil Aviation Safety Authority-approved training provider
5. How To Become An Aircraft Maintenance Engineer In Australia?
Follow the steps below to become a licensed AME in Australia:
Step 1: Get Qualified
You need formal training from an accredited institution to be an aircraft maintenance engineer. Completing a VET qualification in Aeroskills such as a Diploma of Aeroskills (Mechanical), a Certificate IV in Aeroskills (Mechanical), or a Certificate IV in Aeroskills (Avionics) is an ideal start in this profession.
These courses give you a basic knowledge of aircraft systems, aircraft structures, and flight theory.
Step 2: Enrol In An Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Apprenticeship
Anyone can become an apprentice or trainee if you are a school-leaver, an adult wishing to switch careers, or re-entering the workforce. You enter into a formal training contract with an employer for an aircraft maintenance engineering apprenticeship.
Consider taking a Certificate IV in Aeroskills (Structures) as an apprenticeship/traineeship. It is a hybrid course teaching to maintain an aircraft's physical structures. Some of these structural parts are anti-skid braking, undercarriage systems, pneumatic components, flight controls, and hydraulics.
At the end of your training, you will gain specialist skills to overhaul and maintain the mechanical aspects of aircraft systems and produce, maintain, modify and repair aircraft.
Step 3: Obtain The Required Registration And Licensing
Become a Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer by completing exams set by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority or the accredited Maintenance Training Organisation. You can also enrol in an A, B1, or B2 license training course.
If you choose the first option, you must pass all CASA core and specific group examinations or complete formal training from a recognized academic institution as evaluated by the CASA AME licensing section.
Additionally, you must showcase to CASA that you have the practical experience and expertise to maintain the aircraft type that the licence is for. It can be in the “Schedule of Experience” that logs tasks performed on the aircraft signed by the LAME that certifies it.
When meeting the required requisites for licencing, you can submit your licence application to CASA. If CASA is satisfied with your knowledge and practical experience, they should grant you an AME Licence.
6. Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Course In Australia
The following is a list of accredited courses that can lead you to this role:
This dual degree combines degree curriculum and vocational curriculum at Aviation Australia. It is the ideal way to fast-track and launches your career in aviation engineering.
It is ideal for graduates of the Diploma of Aircraft Maintenance Engineering – Avionics with a minimum of 2 years of industry experience.
The qualification allows you to achieve the Licenced Aircraft Maintenance Engineer outcome.
This EASA-approved training course leads you to achieve an EASA Category A Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Licence that allows approved personnel to release aircraft to service. It also paves you to a Certificate IV in Aeroskills, the benchmark toward becoming an aircraft maintenance engineer.
Certificate IV in Aeroskills (Mechanical) - SouthMetro TAFE
Flight One Academy is a training organization certified by the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority to deliver Aircraft Engineer Licence training and assessments. It is a 24-month aircraft maintenance engineer course in Adelaide.
Course Outcome: Graduating students with TB1 will receive the European Aviation Safety Agency Certificate of Recognition and the General Civil Aviation Authority Certificate of Recognition. It is highly regarded by airlines and Maintenance Repair Organisations worldwide.
With at least two years of experience can apply for their category licence to pursue the following roles:
Aircraft Mechanic, Maintenance
Licenced Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (LAME/LAE)– Mechanical TB1.1 (Fixed wing gas turbine)
Licenced Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (LAME/LAE) – Mechanical TB1.3 (Rotary wing gas turbine)
Study Mode: Full-time course
Duration: Over 18 months.
Course Delivery: Blended (Online and classroom-based learning)
Course Outcome: Graduates of the course will receive a European Aviation Safety Agency Certificate of Recognition and a General Civil Aviation Authority Certificate of Recognition. With a further two years of experience can apply for their category licence to take on the following roles:
Licenced Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (LAME/LAE) – Avionics TB2
7. How Much Does An Aircraft Maintenance Engineer Make In Australia?
According to PayScale, the average aircraft maintenance engineer’s salary in Australia is AU$73,994 per year, or an hourly equivalent to AU$30.96.
As you gain experience, develop specialized skills, and advance to senior roles, you can expect a potentially higher salary than entry-level professionals in the industry.
Average Aircraft Maintenance Engineer’s Salary Based On Experience:
Entry-level AMEs (< 1-year experience): AU$47,917 per year
Early career AMEs (1-4 years of experience): AU$54,003 per year
Mid-career AMEs (5-9 years of experience): AU$69,260 per year
Experienced AMEs (10-19 years of experience): AU$86,742 per year
The average aircraft engineer’s salary in Australia is AU$94,046 per year, equivalent to AU$36.89 per hour. Here is what you can expect to earn at varying levels of experience:
Early career Aircraft Engineers: AU$69,244 per year
Mid-career Aircraft Engineers: AU$68,411 per year
Experienced Aircraft Engineers: AU$100,000 per year
8. Working Conditions For Aircraft Maintenance Engineers
Aircraft maintenance engineers work indoors in the well-ventilated hangar/ workshops, on the flight line, or outdoors on the airfield. They work under stringent safety regulations to minimize risks.
Aircraft maintenance engineers sometimes work long hours, on weekends in shifts, and may be on call.
9. What Tools And Technologies Do Aircraft Maintenance Engineers Use?
Aircraft maintenance engineers play a vital role in the efficient operation of an aircraft. They inspect and work on landing gear, engines, and accessories, including brakes, pneumatic devices, hydraulic systems, valves, air conditioning systems, and fuel control pumps.
To perform the task, they work with complex computer technology that involves high-tech equipment such as:
Electrical Power Systems
Flight Controls – fly by wire
Aircraft Lighting Systems
In-Flight Entertainment Systems
Electronic Engine Control Systems
Engine Indication Systems
10. Job Outlook For Aircraft Maintenance Engineers
ANZSCO Occupation Group: 3231 Aircraft Maintenance Engineers
Job Type: Technicians And Trades Workers
Skill Level: Medium Skill
No aircraft ever leaves the ground without being examined by an engineer. To be an aircraft maintenance engineer is the most exciting and diverse career as you work in a dynamic team with the latest and most powerful machines on Earth.
As long as people travel on airlines, Aircraft engineers will continue to be in demand by airlines and aviation companies across all regions of Australia, especially in larger towns and cities.
According to labour market insights, the number of Aircraft Maintenance engineers in Australia has increased in recent years. From 8000 workers in 2021, the number will reach more than 9,400 by 2026.
Around 94% of people employed as Aircraft Maintenance Engineers work full-time for an average of 43 hours per week in their job. (All jobs average: 44 hours per week).
Major Industries For Employment
Around 90% of aircraft maintenance engineer jobs are available in Transport, Postal, Warehousing, and Manufacturing industry. Some opportunities are also present in Public Administration And Safety and Wholesale Trade.
Transport, Postal, And Warehousing: 49.6%
Public Administration And Safety: 2.6%
Wholesale Trade: 1.7%
Other Industries: 1.7%
Percentage of Employment across Australia
Queensland, the Northern Territory, and New South Wales have the largest share of employment.
New South Wales: 36.9%
South Australia: 7.1%
Western Australia: 8.0%
Northern Territory: 4.0%
Australian Capital Territory: 1.0%
Worker’s Age and Gender profile
The Average age of Aircraft Maintenance Engineers is 40 years, with most of them between 25 and 34 years.
Females constitute only 3% of the workforce which is 45 percentage points less than the average of all other jobs, 48%.
11. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is Australia Good For Aerospace?
Australia has some of the world’s best universities to study aerospace engineering with innovative infrastructure and technologies. A high employment rate for aerospace engineering graduates makes it the ideal destination for aspiring Aerospace Engineers.
Graduates from the course can expect excellent career prospects, plenty of scope for future research with attractive starting salaries. As the country faces a shortage of qualified aerospace engineers, it presents opportunities for overseas students to study and get employed.
Furthermore, the government has a dedicated priority-immigration system for this domain. Those who qualify for this role can apply for PR (permanent residence) visas or a Graduate (Temporary) or post-study work visa in Australia.
The availability of work placement programs that offers up to 12 months of work experience enables international students to complete their academics conveniently in a professional environment.
Is Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Hard?
The professional journey to being an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer can be difficult for those afraid of hard work. On the other hand, if you have a passion for mechanics and aircraft, are prepared for challenges, and are willing to make consistent efforts, then you will find it easy to pursue this profession.
Aspiring AMEs have to study theory and practical subjects that range from mechanics, working with metals and materials, corrosion and its prevention, theory of flight, thermodynamics, airframe construction, engine types, civil aviation rules and regulations, and more.
In this field, you may have to work odd shifts and work to deadlines to troubleshoot machine faults and prepare aircraft ready to fly. If you have a passion for the field, a good study plan, and make sincere efforts, you can clear the exams and make your dream career a reality.
Where Do You work as an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer?
AMEs work for Approved Maintenance organizations in various industries, including transport, postal, and warehousing.
The Australian Defence Force
Public administration and safety
Domestic and international airlines
What Are The Available Areas of Specialization In The Industry?
Experienced Aircraft Maintenance engineers can advance their studies to pursue the following specialist roles:
Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Structures)
Aircraft Mechanic (Avionics)
Aircraft Mechanic (Mechanical)
Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Avionics)
Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (Mechanical)
Aircraft Maintenance Engineer
What Are The Different Types of Licenses For Aircraft Engineers?
To become a licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer, you must complete a Diploma of Aeroskills (Mechanical). Different types of licences are needed to execute specific types of tasks and duties of the role, and each of them has different licensing requirements.
For Category A licenses: You will need at least 2 years of experience, with 1 of the years right before the application.
For a Category B1 license: You need to have at least 4 years of experience.
For a Category C license: You would need a minimum of 5 years of experience.
Being an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer is an in-demand and high-growth profession that requires looking after the most advanced technology in the world.
Great pay, a sense of accomplishment, and fabulous opportunities to travel all over Australia, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East make this profession worth pursuing.
If you want an exciting career in aircraft maintenance, completing a Certificate IV in Aeroskills (Mechanical) and getting licensed is the ideal pathway to realize your career goals.
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