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Aircraft Mechanic vs. Electrician: What Are the Differences?

Learn about the two careers and review some of the similarities and differences between them.

Aircraft mechanics and electricians are both occupations that require specialized skills and training. These professionals work on aircrafts and electrical systems, respectively. While there are some similarities between these two positions, there are also several key differences. In this article, we compare and contrast aircraft mechanics and electricians, and we provide information on what you need to know to pursue each career.

What is an Aircraft Mechanic?

Aircraft Mechanics are responsible for the maintenance, repair and inspection of aircraft. They work on both private and commercial planes, ensuring that they are safe and operational. Aircraft Mechanics typically specialize in either airframe or powerplant work. Airframe Mechanics work on the structural components of the aircraft, such as the fuselage, wings and landing gear. Powerplant Mechanics work on the aircraft’s engines, propellers and other systems that generate power. Aircraft Mechanics use a variety of tools and diagnostic equipment to complete their work. They must be able to read and interpret technical manuals and blueprints.

What is an Electrician?

Electricians install, maintain and repair electrical systems in residential, commercial and industrial buildings. They work with a variety of tools and equipment to safely install and maintain electrical wiring, circuit boards, outlets and other components. Electricians typically follow blueprints or instructions from more experienced workers to complete their tasks. They may also use test meters to ensure that electrical systems are functioning properly. Electricians typically work full-time and may be required to work evenings or weekends to complete projects on time. Some electricians may be on-call 24 hours a day to respond to emergencies.

Aircraft Mechanic vs. Electrician

Here are the main differences between an aircraft mechanic and an electrician.

Job Duties

Aircraft mechanics and electricians share some of their job duties, such as troubleshooting issues with aircrafts or electrical systems. They may also both work on machinery or vehicles. However, the tasks they perform within that role can differ based on the type of machinery or vehicle they’re working on.

For example, an aircraft mechanic may perform maintenance on a plane’s engine by changing the oil, replacing parts or conducting other repairs. An electrician may install new wiring or replace light bulbs to help improve the functionality of machinery at a factory.

Job Requirements

Aircraft mechanics typically need to have a high school diploma or equivalent, although some employers may prefer candidates who have completed a formal training program at a trade school or community college. Many mechanics also become certified through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). To earn certification, mechanics must pass written and practical exams that test their knowledge of aircraft maintenance.

Electricians need to have a high school diploma or equivalent and complete an electrician apprenticeship program, which typically lasts four years. During their apprenticeship, electricians learn how to install and maintain electrical systems under the supervision of a licensed electrician. After completing their apprenticeship, electricians can take a journeyman electrician exam to earn their license. Some states also require electricians to complete continuing education courses to renew their licenses.

Work Environment

Aircraft mechanics work in a variety of environments, depending on the type of aircraft they’re working on. For example, if an aircraft mechanic is working on a commercial airliner, they may spend most of their time in a hangar or other building where they can access the plane and perform maintenance. If they’re working on a private jet, however, they may travel with the owner to ensure that it’s always ready for flight.

Electricians typically work in one environment: homes and buildings. They may have some flexibility in terms of which types of buildings they work on, but electricians usually specialize in residential or commercial properties.


Aircraft mechanics and electricians share some basic skills, such as troubleshooting, critical thinking and problem solving. However, they also have different skillsets that are specific to their jobs.

Aircraft mechanics need to be able to use tools to repair and maintain aircraft. They also need to have a strong understanding of how aircraft work in order to identify and diagnose problems. Electricians, on the other hand, need to be skilled in electrical wiring and circuit installation. They also need to understand how electrical systems work in order to safely install and repair them.


The average salary for an aircraft mechanic is $56,298 per year. Electricians have an average salary of $58,096 per year. Both roles may see their salaries vary depending on the type of work they’re doing, their location and their experience level. Both types of professionals may earn other benefits as part of their compensation package.


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