Demand sky high for aviation maintenance grads

Immediately after graduating from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in May 2022 with a degree in Aviation Maintenance Science, Mathias Berdugo started a job as an avionics and A&P technician for Bombardier — just one of several job offers he received.

His new job included “very generous” assistance for his relocation, as well as a great employment package “with many good benefits,” he added.

“I am absolutely loving it so far,” said Berdugo. “The people are absolutely amazing. They have shared so much knowledge with me and want to see me grow with the company.”

At a panel discussion held at Embry-Riddle in the the spring of 2022, top executives from several aviation companies brought up the industry’s enormous need for — and willingness to offer high salaries to — maintenance technicians.

“For those of you who want to become an aircraft maintenance technician, and you’re qualified and certified, you can almost name your price,” said Steve Boecker, a sales executive in Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul at Delta TechOps, speaking to an auditorium of Embry-Riddle students.

Many factors have increased the demand for aviation maintenance workers, including the retirement of a large number of the industry’s workforce, a slowed pipeline of trained candidates from the military, and corporate buyouts that occurred at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, according to Embry Riddle officials. Increased repair of older aircraft, compounded by supply chain and geopolitical slowdowns on the production of new aircraft, has also raised demand for more technicians, university officials add.

According to the Boeing Pilot and Technician Outlook, approximately 626,000 new aviation maintenance technicians will be needed by 2040. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the projected growth in the number of jobs for aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians at 11% between 2020 and 2030. The average growth for all occupations is 8%.

According to Rick Hale, chairman and CEO of Winner Aviation Corporation, the industry has been working to actively court aviation maintenance technicians, including in new and interesting ways.

“We’ve had to get pretty creative in how we go after them,” Hale said. “The segment is offering a lot of perks right now to students just coming out of school, with signing bonuses, tool chests and tools being offered, and other perks in the way of training.”

Charles Horning, an associate professor in Embry-Riddle’s Department of Aviation Maintenance Science, said he has never before seen such opportunity in the field. When he graduated from Embry-Riddle in 1986, he said, students in the department had a choice of working in general aviation or the airlines. Now, Horning said, opportunities have also bloomed in corporate aviation, uncrewed aircraft systems, and the space industry.

“Every one of these areas is hiring,” Horning said. “The gamut of choices that grads have is amazing.”

Courtesy of from General Aviation

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