Aircraft maintenance inspectors ensure the operational safety of commercial, private, government and military flights. They inspect mechanical parts, such as engines, propellers and electrical systems, and ensure they meet federal guidelines for safe flying. These inspectors also review pilot logs and make corrections as needed. If you want to become an aircraft maintenance inspector, you need to first complete training as an aircraft mechanic and become certified through the Federal Aviation Administration. In return, you can expect to earn a salary averaging more than $60,000 annually.
Salary and Qualifications
The average annual salary for an aircraft maintenance inspector was $66,000 as of 2013, according to the job site Indeed. To become an aircraft maintenance inspector, you need to be a certified aircraft maintenance technician through the Federal Aviation Administration. This usually requires the minimum of 18 to 24 months of classroom instruction and training, or an associate's degree in aviation maintenance technology. Employers usually prefer hiring inspectors with significant experience in aviation maintenance, such as five or more years working on various aircraft engines. Other essential skills are attention to detail, manual dexterity and technical, communication and troubleshooting skills.
Salary by Region
In 2013, average salaries for aircraft maintenance inspectors varied the most within the West region, according to Indeed, where they earned the highest salaries of $71,000 in California and lowest of $44,000 in Hawaii. Those in the Northeast made $57,000 to $80,000 per year in Maine and New York, respectively. These maintenance inspectors earned $56,000 to $78,000 in Louisiana and Washington, D.C., which were the lowest and highest earnings in the South region. In the Midwest, they made the least in Nebraska and South Dakota and most in Illinois -- $49,000 and $72,000, respectively.
An aircraft maintenance inspector may earn higher salaries in the same industries in which aircraft mechanics earn more. For example, aircraft mechanics and service technicians earned considerably high salaries of $74,700 working for courier service companies as of May 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics -- versus the industry average of $55,690 for all aircraft mechanics. You may also earn more as an aircraft maintenance inspector if you're employed by a courier service company -- in the aviation division. You may also earn more working for a larger aviation company or courier, as they likely have higher revenues to support your higher salary.
The BLS only predicts a 6 percent increase in jobs for aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians from 2010 to 2020, which is slower than the 14 percent growth rate for all occupations. Increased demand in air travel may create jobs for these mechanics and the technicians who inspect the aircrafts. Since more aviation companies are outsourcing jobs for mechanics, you might consider applying with some of these aircraft maintenance service companies.