Aircraft mechanics are employed in a small number of industries, and most jobs involve working in hangars, repair centers or air fields. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of aircraft mechanics and technicians was predicted to grow 6 percent from 2010 to 2020. This is slower than average for all professions and is in part because air travel will increase only gradually during this time period. Meanwhile, many companies are outsourcing their maintenance work in order to save money.
Airline mechanics and technicians earned an average annual salary of $54,500 in May 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This corresponds to an average hourly wage of $26.20. The middle 50 percent of aircraft mechanics earned between $45,000 and $64,040 per year. The median salary for the group was $54,590 per year.
The top-paying industry for aircraft mechanics was couriers and express delivery services, where they earned $76,440 per year, according to the bureau. Other lucrative industries included the manufacturing of navigational, measuring, electromedical and control instruments, where mechanics took in $70,250 per year, and scientific research and development services, where they made an average of $62,460 annually.
Tennessee was the highest-paying state for aircraft mechanics, where they made $66,470 per year, according to the bureau. Other top-paying states were Connecticut, where the average yearly salary was $63,420; Alaska, with $62,500 per year; Kentucky, where aircraft mechanics took home $62,340 per year; and Hawaii, with an average wage of $60,930 per year. Alaska was also the state with the highest concentration of jobs for aircraft mechanics, with 1,300 mechanics working there.
Aircraft mechanics earned $77,530 per year working in the Memphis, Tennessee, area, making that the highest-paying region of the country for the profession. Other top-paying metro regions that were not located in the five top-paying states included the Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton area of New Jersey, with an average salary of $76,160 per year; Oakland, California, where mechanics took in $65,640 per year, on average; Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where they earned $64,980 yearly; and both the Riverside and San Francisco areas of California, with respective salaries of $63,860 and $63,740 per year.