Career Highlight: Aircraft Maintenance Technician

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1. What do Aircraft Maintenance Technicians do?

An Aircraft Maintenance Technician (AMT) assists in the maintenance of the aircraft. They ensure that the aircraft is in good condition by performing a variety of inspections and repairs on it. They are trained to perform work on aircraft engines and pneumatic systems, diagnose issues and repair and/ replace defective parts. Their inspection duties may include performing regular preventative inspections and examining that various parts and completed work meet the relevant quality standards.

AMTs form part of a larger team that may include aircraft engineers, pilots, part suppliers, aircraft repair persons, security personnel and aviation managers. Typically AMT work full time, with overtime and weekend work as a common requirement. The job may be physically demanding requiring them to tolerate exposure to aviation fuels and chemicals, climb and use hands for gripping and work under pressure. So the AMT must be comfortable and able to function in this environment.

2. What subjects do I need to take in high school?

It is strongly recommended that you take English, Maths and Science at the highest possible level throughout high school, as these would be most beneficial when studying towards being an AMT.

Amongst other things, you need to have a passion for aircraft, be a good problem solver, pay attention to detail, be good with your hands and be a great team player. All the skills needed to become a good AMT.

3. How do I become an AMT?

To become an AMT the following is required:

3.1.  Complete a training program

There are various paths to explore to fulfilling the requirements needed as an AMT. One of these is to graduate from an approved AMT program. These are mostly in the form of an apprenticeship, offered by schools such as Mega Aero Training Academy (MATA) - South Africa, Skypath Aviation College - Kenya, or by the national military. These programs may take two to four years to complete. All requiring a high school diploma or its equivalent for admission. A second option is to be trained under the supervision of a certified AMT.

3.2. Pass required certification test.

The relevant Aviation Authority requires all certified AMT to successfully complete a trade test/ certified exam. The completed training should allow candidates to take a trade test or a certification exam and candidates should be able to present proof of this training or experience.

3.3. Further training

Due to advances and improvements in technology and the complexities of the aircraft systems, it is not only necessary but important for AMTs to take training courses throughout their career. This will also allow them to stay relevant and up to date with their ongoing training required to maintain certification.

4. What are some available funding opportunities available to fund studies towards being an AMT?

There are various avenues to explore when it comes to funding your studies towards becoming an AMT. You can obtain a bursary, sponsorship or financial aid from various sources. You can obtain funding from the government such as TETA Bursary/ SACAA - South Africa. Or you can obtain it from various private facilities. You can also apply for financial aid at the various aviation institutions or from banking institutions.

5. What career opportunities are there for AMTs?

As an AMT you can work for the military or in the private sector and later specialise in various fields such as Hydraulics, Propeller-driven planes, Engines etc. One can also explore further studies becoming an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer or even an Aircraft Maintenance Manager. Other avenues to explore maybe in the development of other AMT, assisting and teaching in the various aviation institutes responsible for this development.


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