Thrust Institute

Aircraft Maintenance Technician vs. Aircraft Maintenance Engineer

Aircraft Maintenance Technicians (AMTs) are highly skilled professionals who are responsible for inspecting, repairing, and maintaining a wide range of aircraft systems and components. They also troubleshoot malfunctions and perform maintenance checks. 

However, aircraft maintenance technicians didn’t always have this title.

Before 1995, the FAA used the term aircraft mechanic to describe maintenance professionals. But several organization felt the title mechanic didn’t accurately describe what they did given the rapidly changing technology in aircraft. The shift in title began in 1991 but wasn’t officially accepted by the FAA until several years later.

This title change was absolutely a move in the right direction but I think it’s time to look at making another change.

The current title of “technician” doesn’t accurately reflect the level of expertise and skill required for the job. 

At times the FAA still calls Aviation Maintenance Technicians mechanics.

Aircraft Maintenance Engineer

I believe it’s time for the FAA to use the title “Aircraft Maintenance Engineer” or AME. 

One reason for this is that in many countries around the world, including the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia, the equivalent occupation to an AMT is known as an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer. 

By adopting this title, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) could better reflect the level of knowledge and skill required for the job and increase the recognition and respect for AMTs within the aviation industry around the world.

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Second, the title “Aircraft Maintenance Engineer” aligns with other engineering professions within the aviation industry, such as aerospace engineers and avionics engineers. 

By using this title, the FAA could better recognize the technical expertise required for the job and align AMTs with these other engineering professions.

Third, the title “Aircraft Maintenance Engineer” could also increase the appeal of the occupation to young people, who may be considering a career in engineering or aviation. 

The aviation industry is facing an incredible shortage of skilled workers, and adopting this title could help attract more people to the field. 

Finally, the title “Aircraft Maintenance Engineer” reflects the level of responsibility and accountability held by AMTs. 

As professionals responsible for the safety and maintenance of aircraft, AMTs hold a high level of responsibility and accountability. 

They must make sure aircraft are in compliance with regulations and standards, and their work can have serious consequences if not performed correctly. 

The title “Aircraft Maintenance Engineer” better acknowledges this critical role and the level of responsibility and accountability held by AMTs in the aviation industry.

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