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The aerospace industry (of which aircraft manufacturing is one portion) is primarily engaged in the design, development and manufacture of aircraft, missiles, spacecraft, their propulsion, navigation and guidance systems, and other aeronautical and astronautical systems and their components.
Technicians include all persons engaged in work requiring knowledge of physical, life, engineering, and mathematical sciences comparable to knowledge acquired through technical institutes, junior college, or other formal post-high school training, or through equivalent on-the-job training or experience. (Craft-workers, such as machinists and electricians, are not included in this definition.) Science technicians and engineering technician fields include all those mentioned above for scientists and engineers, plus drafters and technical writers and illustrators. Examples of technician position titles are: Senior Documentation Analyst, Software Programmer, Contracts Administrator, Technical Illustrator, Technical Writer, Supervisor of Blueprint and Microfilm Files, Tool Designer, Training Equipment Designer, Drafter, Research Mechanic, Research Electrician, Laboratory Technician, Electronics Technician, and Production Planner.
Technicians include all persons engaged in work requiring knowledge of physical, life, engineering, and mathematical sciences. Technicians can specialize in any of the fields of study mentioned above for scientists and engineers. This job category also includes drafters and technical writers and illustrators.
Scientists, engineers and technicians work primarily indoors at a desk or in a research department, laboratory or engineering department in a modern, clean and temperature-controlled factory building. Some outdoor work may be necessary. The various departments are normally equipped with the latest electronic and mechanical instruments, laboratory apparatus, and drafting instruments.
Technicians normally work the day shift.
Typical Requirements and/or Experience
In general terms, the aircraft manufacturing industry is seeking individuals with self-discipline, a willingness to accept responsibility, a sound foundation in technology, and a team spirit.
Experience in assembly, installation and troubleshooting of structural/mechanical systems or electrical/avionics systems. Strong candidates will be proficient in the safe use of sheet metal assembly and fabrication tools such as rivet guns, drill motors, shears, cherry max or electrical/avionics assembly and installation tools and such as crimpers, soldering tools, heat shrink, tie straps and clamps. Experience with measuring tools, devices and equipment such as rulers, scales and micrometers or multimeters and oscilloscopes. Proficiency in schematic/blueprint reading.
There are many employment opportunities for women in this industry. In one aircraft plant, women fill 70 different job classifications and comprise 16 percent of the total number of employees. Stanford University recently reported an increase in the number of freshmen women enrolling in engineering because of the especially good job prospects.
An Associate in Science Degree or Associate in Engineering Degree or a diploma from a college or university, junior or community college, technical institute or technical or vocational school is normally required. Technical institutes offer training designed to qualify the graduate for a specific job or cluster of jobs immediately upon graduation, and with a minimum of on-the-job training.
Married and unmarried men and women, with or without children are eligible. Persons who are widowed or divorced, also are eligible.
It is the policy of most aviation companies to provide equal employment opportunity to all individuals regardless of their race, creed, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, military and veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law. Most aviation companies are strongly committed to this policy, and believe in the concept and spirit of the United States law.
Most aviation companies are committed to assuring that:
All recruiting, hiring, training, promotion, compensation, and other employment related programs are provided fairly to all persons on an equal opportunity basis without regard to race, creed, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, military and veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status or any other characteristic protected by law;
Employment decisions are based on the principles of equal opportunity and affirmative action;
All personnel actions such as compensation, benefits, transfers, training, and participation in social and recreational programs are administered without regard to race, creed, color, sex, age, national origin, disability, military and veteran status, sexual orientation, marital status or any other characteristic protected by law, and;
Employees and applicants will not be subjected to harassment, intimidation, threats, coercion or discrimination because they have exercised any right protected by law.
Most aviation companies believe in and practice equal opportunity and affirmative action. All employees are responsible for supporting the concept of equal opportunity and affirmative action and assisting the company in meeting its objectives.
Most aviation companies maintain Affirmative Action Plans for minorities, women, disabled persons and veterans.
EEOC has jurisdiction of the prohibitions against employment discrimination codified in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, Sections 501 and 505 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. These laws prohibit discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age and disability.
The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) and the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) enforce the prohibitions against federal employment discrimination codified in the CSRA. The OSC will defer those bases of discrimination under EEOC's jurisdiction to the respective federal agency and its EEO process. The CSRA also prohibits employment discrimination in the federal government based on marital status, political affiliation and conduct which does not adversely affect the performance of the employee, none of which are within EEOC's jurisdiction. Moreover, the law defines ten other prohibited personnel practices in the federal government, all of which fall under the jurisdiction of the OSC and the MSPB. See Prohibited Personnel Practices at http://www.osc.gov/ppp.htm.
Additional information may also be found on the the EEOC web site located at http://www.eeoc.gov/
Wages and Benefits
Salaries for employees in this industry are generally higher than those for similar work in most other industries. Wages vary according to workers' skills and experience and they differ from plant to plant, depending upon the type of plant and the locality. The following fringe benefits are common in this industry and are comparable with those in other industries: two weeks of paid vacation after employment of one to two years, and three weeks, after ten or twelve years; six to eight paid holidays per year; one week of paid sick leave; insurance covering life, medical, surgical, hospital and accident and health; and retirement pensions.
The starting salary will depend upon the technician's technical specialty and education and upon experience.
Salaries and benefits can vary. For an updated look at salaries in the aviation industry, view the Avjobs.com Salary Report.
Where the jobs are and who hires
There are four major aircraft companies in Kansas. The Boeing Company, Cessna Aircraft Company, Bombardier Aerospace/Learjet and Raytheon Aircraft Company.
Other states with large numbers of jobs include New York, Washington, Connecticut, Texas, Florida, Ohio, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Alabama, Maryland, New Jersey and Georgia. Aerospace employment is highest in the Pacific region, where more than 40 percent of all aerospace employees work. Another 14 percent live and work in New England, while ten percent are in the Middle Atlantic states. The remaining 36 percent are scattered throughout the central and southern United States.
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Opportunities for Advancement
Science Technicians and Engineering Technicians: With further education, a technician can advance to a professional position. Technicians are also advanced by being assigned tasks normally performed by professionals and they may move into supervisory positions. Technicians who have a good working knowledge of the equipment produced by the company and who have good personalities may become company sales persons, technical representatives or trouble-shooters.
Aviation plays a prominent role in our economy and new opportunities will always be available. Today, larger airports are expanding and smaller "reliever" airports are being upgraded to serve general aviation traffic being relocated from congested airports. The introduction of low cost airlines is also playing a role in creating opportunities in the industry.
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Outlook for the Future
Employment in the aerospace industry is expected to rise above recent levels in the next few years. Thousands of jobs will open each year because of the growth expected in the industry, and to replace workers who retire, die or transfer to jobs in other industries. Job opportunities should be most favorable for highly trained workers such as scientists, engineers, and technicians. Less skilled and unskilled workers will also be needed to fill entry level production positions.
Growing demands for civilian aircraft products is an important element underlying the expected increase in aviation employment. The increasing mobility of the population should encourage expanded use of large wide-bodied commercial aircraft and development of rapid air taxi operations between major urban centers. Increased business flying, expanded use of helicopters for such tasks as medical evacuation and traffic reporting, and exports of aircraft to foreign nations are some of the other major factors influencing the growth of civilian aircraft manufacturing.
A portion of the production of the aviation industry is devoted to national defense. Therefore, the industry's future depends on the level of federal expenditures. Changes in these expenditures usually have been accompanied by sharp fluctuations in employment.
Sales in the aerospace industry reached $137 billion, up about $5 billion. Among the three major areas of aerospace activity, the largest increment of gain was in commercial sales, but sales to the Department of Defense also increased substantially. NASA sales remained relatively constant. Sales of commercial transports are expected to remain strong with an increase of more than $4 billion over the current year's level.
Aerospace industry employment climbed to 1,032,000. Employment is expected to exceed 1,100,000 -- an increase of 23 percent in 24 months. The projected dramatic increase in employment is primarily due to civil aircraft production, especially commercial transport aircraft. In this category alone, the employment level is expected to reach 81,000 -- an increase of 80 percent over the low employment levels 44,700.
Military aircraft manufacturing is expected to reverse recent trends and show a modest six percent gain in employment.
Helicopter manufacturing employment will increase by 8.6 percent, continuing the gradual growth pattern of the 1990's.
The category of "other related products" -- avionics, basic research, and non-aerospace products and services -- continues strong and reached an employment level of 263,000, an increase of about 42,000 employees. It is expected that an additional 22,000 people will be employed for such programs, reaching an estimated 285,000.
Because workers who are highly trained and are aware of new developments are needed in the industry, the majority of aircraft plants support some kind of formal worker training program. Most of the plants conduct training classes themselves, others pay tuition and related costs for outside courses taken by their employees at vocational or technical or adult education programs offered by the local community, and some plants do both. Some classes are held during working hours, with the trainee being paid for class time. Other classes are held after working hours. Courses are available for practically every occupational group and cover many skills and areas of knowledge.
Many aircraft plants provide their employees with financial aid for college enrollment. This aid is furnished either as direct grants or in the form of scholarships and it is possible for an employee to work and to continue his or her education at the same time. These opportunities help workers advance more rapidly to higher skills and to better paid jobs.
The further one goes in school, the greater are the opportunities for employment. The best jobs go to those with the most education. At least a high school education is practically mandatory for any worker in the aircraft industry. Post-secondary school training is vitally important and such training may be obtained from: area vocational-technical schools, technical institutes, junior or community colleges, or four-year colleges or universities.
To locate educational facilities with programs related to this position, search Avjobs Aviation School Directory. The Avjobs Aviation School Directory makes researching and finding an aviation college, university, flight school or professional training facility simple.