Aviation Safety Inspector Job Description, Career as a Aviation Safety Inspector, Salary, Employment
Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job
Training/Educational Requirements: High School Diploma and Experience in the Field
Median Salary: $62,000
Job Prospects: Fair
Aviation safety inspectors work to ensure the safety of aircrafts, including its parts, processes, and its aircraft operators. They certify operators and mechanics, issue certification, and perform surveillance. They ensure all practices happen within the established rules, and that aircrafts are in compliance. These inspectors are the first line of defense in performing accident investigation. The heart of this role is to promote aviation safety, with all tasks centered around safety.
These inspectors spend a great deal of time looking over the mechanics and aircraft repair facilities, making them responsible for certification and maintenance. It is important for aviation safety inspectors to look over parts and practices within an aircraft, and be an integral part of keeping up with the maintenance and certification. Aviation safety inspectors are also responsible for evaluating equipment, such as the mechanic training program, and ensuring the aircrafts are worthy of flying. It is vital for ensuring all pieces, parts, and processes involved with an aircraft are up to par and appropriate for flying.
There are two different types of aviation safety inspectors, general and air carrier. The main difference is in the size of the aircraft they inspect. In a general role, they are responsible for aircrafts under 12,500 pounds. In an air carrier, safety inspectors are responsible for aircrafts over 12,500 pounds. These inspectors are responsible for everything having to do with their assigned aircrafts.
The education requirement is not the most important aspect of training for this job. A minimum of a high school diploma is required, but a college degree is helpful. Aviation safety inspectors have knowledge, skills, and experience working as aircraft mechanics. This knowledge is directly transferrable to an inspector role by helping them prepare for it. Repairing aircraft parts or avionics equipment is usually enough experience to prepare for becoming an aviation safety inspector.
Like other government jobs, there are requirements an individual must fulfill. To be hired into this role, an individual must be a citizen, have a valid driver’s license, and must possess good vision which is essential for inspections. Other qualifications may be required depending on the facility.
How to Get Hired
The best way to get hired as an aviation safety inspector is to have a solid background. Individuals who have experience repairing aircrafts are the candidates that will get hired. It isn’t common to get hired as an aviation safety inspector without experience and proper skills for this mechanic’s role. Working as a mechanic on aircraft parts or equipment is excellent experience in getting hired as an aviation safety inspector.
There is the possibility to move from a different FAA role into this, but these are generally similar types of inspector jobs. It’s important to have a strong understanding of aircrafts and how the FAA works to be successful in this role.
Understanding how the aircraft is put together and what it takes to run is a key component to getting hired into this position. To be able to not only understand but be in compliance with the FAA regulatory requirements set forth is essential, and often comes with an aircraft mechanic role. Whatever can be done to prepare for this role will help with getting hired as an inspector.
Job Prospects, Employment Outlook, and Career Development
Unfortunately when job cuts or hiring freezes are in place, this is one of the first positions to be affected. When the government and the FAA cut their budgets, as they do in tough economic times, this position is no longer a focus for hiring efforts. Those that already serve as aviation safety inspectors often continue on with their current roles, but new hires are not the norm.
One of the best ways for somebody to enter into this career is to replace retirees. There is great potential to fill in these gaps, but the timeframe may be tough to calculate and it may mean moving out of state. As the economy improves and hiring freezes are removed, there is expected to be greater demand for this position, but it is currently not in an upward trend.
Although they are based out of a home location, aviation safety inspectors may travel to inspect aircrafts at alternate locations. The typical working environment for aviation safety inspectors is in an aircraft hangar where proper inspection may take place. The individual will often have an office where they can fill out pertinent paperwork and prepare for inspections. However, they spend much of their time on aircrafts performing the necessary responsibilities.
There aren’t many people in the aircraft hangars during inspections. This is a job where the individual works alone to perform the necessary inspection, unless they are meeting with mechanics. When looking over mechanic training programs and ensuring their skills are up to speed, aviation safety inspectors will meet one-on-one with mechanics. The working environment may change daily since it depends on what is required for each individual inspection.
Salary and Benefits
Aviation safety inspectors earn about $62,000 per year, but this can vary widely. The more experience one possesses, the more their salary range will climb. Since this is a government position, there are exceptional benefits including paid vacation, holidays, and sick days, medical benefits, bonuses, and other perks associated with the job including a flexible work schedule.
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