On Sept. 20, an aviation coalition continued its push to solve the aviation maintenance workforce crisis by helping the government to define it. The group, spearheaded by ATEC, filed comments asking the Standard Occupational Classification Policy Committee to revise aviation maintenance personnel definitions to more accurately reflect the aviation maintenance industry.
The SOC system is the source of all federal occupational statistics; it determines precisely which occupations exist and is used by government agencies to calculate and analyze wages and employment trends, supply and demand, and expected growth. The aviation maintenance industry has been stuck in a void – trapped under incorrect classifications – for years. Within the current system, nearly all aviation maintenance professionals are classified into a single occupation titled “Aircraft Mechanics and Technicians”, with a separate category for “Avionics Technicians”.
The alliance, including the Aeronautical Repair Station Association, the Aerospace Maintenance Council, Airlines for America, the Aviation Technician Education Council, the Cargo Airline Association, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, Helicopter Association International, the National Air Transportation Association, a former member of the National Transportation Safety Board and the Regional Airline Association, asked that the two categories be replaced with three occupations: certificated mechanics, certificated repairmen and non-certificated technicians. The coalition argued that classifying workers using FAA certification is the most logical and useful method; since aviation safety rules use the same definitions to dictate precisely who is allowed to perform maintenance, preventive maintenance and alteration tasks.
For AMTS, a change in the classification structure would mean more precise wage and outlook information to help recruit potential A&P mechanics. Currently, federal occupational data for Aircraft Mechanics and Service Technicians and Avionics Technicians does not take into consideration whether the person has an A&P license. Theoretically, a change in the structure would reflect a higher starting pay for those with a mechanic certificate (as opposed to aviation technician positions that do not hold a certificate).
Reclassification, along with other planned improvements to the Department of Labor’s analysis tools, would also positively influence the “industry outlook” for aviation mechanics, which, according to O*NET OnLine, does not include rapid growth or a large number of job openings. A “bright outlook” categorization often determines whether a career counselor will recommend a career path, making the designation extremely important for the future aviation workforce.
ATEC looks forward to working with our industry partners and government agencies to ensure the future of aviation maintenance is properly reflected as shiny and bright.
Stay tuned for updates on everything ATEC members need to know as well as ways that you can help the council and the AMTS community.