Aircraft maintenance engineer

aircraft technician aircraft maintenance mechanic

Career outlook for aircraft maintenance engineer

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

Aircraft maintenance engineers or mechanics are responsible for checking the systems on aeroplanes and helicopters in between flights to ensure the aircraft is safe to fly. To work in aircraft maintenance, you will need specific qualifications and certification.

Just as pilots are trained and then licensed to fly, aircraft maintenance engineers are trained and licensed to maintain the aircraft to industry standard.

There are two types of maintenance:

  • Line duties such as pre-flight checks, refuelling and minor avionics, electrical and mechanical tasks.
  • Base maintenance in an aircraft hangar, when you’d do more stringent checks, fault diagnosis and repairs.

If you work in mechanics, you’d service the fuselage, engines, landing gear and airframe systems including any electrics associated with those systems.

If you focus on avionics, you’d check the electrical and electronic systems used for navigation, communications and flight control.

You would need to check the parts and systems, find any faults and decide if they can be fixed. You’d then organise or carry out the repairs.

It’s a responsible job; you’d need to check the aircraft carefully and be meticulous with your repairs.

 You could work on commercial or private aircraft or work on military aircraft for the Royal Air Force, the Royal Navy or the Army.

Working conditions


Engineers and mechanics often have to work abroad to support airline operations at overseas airports. You may be asked to support in an aircraft on the ground (AOG) situation, when an aircraft is stranded due to technical problems. If you work for the Royal Air Force, the Royal Navy or the Army you could be posted abroad.


Your hours might include weekends and may include work at night time, so rotating shift patterns tend to be the norm.


Your tasks would be both indoors and outdoors. Depending on the area of maintenance (base or line) that you are employed in and the nature of the task. These may be carried out within a maintenance hangar or on an airport ramp.

UK employment status





Self employed


Create a qualification route

We've found some examples of the qualifications that could help you get this job.

Discover my route

Search course options

Thinking about your future? There are lots of courses available that could interest you. Use our course search to explore course options.

Find courses

Search job opportunities

If you're looking for your new career our job search can help you. Discover interesting opportunities and decide your next steps.

Find a job

Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Cooperating
  • Verbal communication
  • Working with technology
  • Problem solving
  • Observation
  • Researching
  • Attention to detail
  • Developing a plan
  • Time management

Skills Explorer

Your skills can help you choose the career that's right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

Our Skills Explorer tool will help you understand what skills you have and match them to jobs that might suit you.

Use the Skills Explorer tool

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on


You could complete an aircraft maintenance apprenticeship leading to a relevant qualifications such as the Scottish Vocational Qualification in Aeronautical Engineering(SVQ Level 3).

Entry for this varies from employer however most look for a minimum of four to five subjects at SCQF level 4-5. To undertake an apprenticeship you will normally have to complete aptitude tests. 

Or you can apply after undertaking a full time course such as a National Certificate or National Qualification (SCQF level 6), or with a relevant Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7), Higher National Diploma (SCQF level 8) or a degree (SCQF level 9/10) in areas like: 

  • Aircraft Engineering
  • Aero-Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering technologies
  • Maintenance Engineering technologies
  • Engineering

Alternatively you may be able to move into this role if you are already qualified and working in other engineering fields.

Alternatively you can train for this role within the RAF (see RAF Profiles).

Entry is very competitive so many employers will look for National 5 (SCQF level 5) and Higher (SCQF level 6) qualifications or above.

You can enter Aircraft Engineering Higher National Certificate (SCQF level 7) or Higher National Diploma courses (SCQF level 8) with National 4/5 qualifications and one to two Highers or equivalent qualifications.

To enter a degree (SCQF level 9/10) usually requires National 5 qualifications and a minimum of four Highers at B or above or a relevant HNC/HND. 

Useful subjects

  • Maths (required by most courses and employers) 
  • Science subjects, in particular physics (required by most courses and employers) 
  • English
  • Technologies subjects such as engineering science

You will also need

To become a fully qualified aircraft maintenance engineer you must acquire an EASA-approved ‘Part 66’ maintenance licence. In the UK this is awarded by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). 

You may have to pass a medical.

Certain colour vision requirements may apply.

Helpful to have

Qualifications that show understanding and experience of the industry such as Skills for Work Engineering Skills (SCFQ level 4).