The Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC) has compiled information about Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) mechanic certificate holders, the educational institutions that prepare the majority of those individuals for careers in aviation maintenance, and the companies that employ maintenance professionals. The organization does this on a yearly basis and this year’s findings include several key conclusions.
The report finds that mechanics are retiring faster than they are being replaced. New entrants make up two percent of the population annually, while 30 percent of the workforce is at or near retirement age. The report says the aviation industry must increase its focus on retaining A&P candidates. Twenty percent of candidates pursue careers outside of the industry and only 60 percent elect to take the FAA mechanic certification test.
While the percentage of female A&Ps is increasing, it remains low, at less than three percent. The ATEC report says this presents an opportunity to help address a looming shortage. ATEC’s report says schools have the capacity to double production of A&P candidates. While institutions are ramping up recruitment activities and expect enrollment to increase, there is significant opportunity for industry employers to help define career paths and attract more students into the pipeline.