Airframe and Powerplant Careers

Airframe and powerplant degrees are sought by those seeking a career in aircraft and avionic mechanics. Focus is in either maintenance or inspection. Airframe and powerplant professionals can also specialize in particular types of aircraft and avionics. It is a high-stress field, requiring calm, logical decisions under constant deadlines, and constant caution. The FFA requires 1,900 classroom hours to be considered for an airframe and powerplant position, and 18 months of work experience before receiving an airframe and powerplant certificate.

Employment Opportunities

Airframe and powerplant professionals fill a variety of positions, including:

  • Airframe & powerplant mechanic
  • Shop supervisor
  • Avionics technician
  • Inspector
  • Crew chief


Airframe and powerplant professionals need to have strengths in a number of areas, including:

  • Electronics & new technologies
  • Math
  • Physics
  • Physical agility
  • Written & verbal communication

Industry Spotlight

Employment in airframe and powerplant positions is expected to increase 10% between now and 2016. A large number of mechanics and technicians will be retiring in the next decade. Also contributing: the fewer number of students seeking trade school and mechanic degrees. In fact, analysts predict there will be more job openings than prospective candidates.

- Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2008