The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Assemble, fit, fasten, and install parts of airplanes, space vehicles, or missiles, such as tails, wings, fuselage, bulkheads, stabilizers, landing gear, rigging and control equipment, or heating and ventilating systems.
Sample of reported job titles:
A&P Technician (Airframe and Powerplant Technician), Aircraft Line Assembler, Assembler, Assembly Riveter, Helicopter Technician, Sheet Metal Assembler and Riveter (SMAR), Sheet Metal Mechanic, Structures Mechanic, Structures Technician
Assemble parts, fittings, or subassemblies on aircraft, using layout tools, hand tools, power tools, or fasteners, such as bolts, screws, rivets, or clamps.
Read blueprints, illustrations, or specifications to determine layouts, sequences of operations, or identities or relationships of parts.
Attach brackets, hinges, or clips to secure or support components or subassemblies, using bolts, screws, rivets, chemical bonding, or welding.
Inspect or test installed units, parts, systems, or assemblies for fit, alignment, performance, defects, or compliance with standards, using measuring instruments or test equipment.
Adjust, repair, rework, or replace parts or assemblies to ensure proper operation.
Cut, trim, file, bend, or smooth parts to ensure proper fit and clearance.
Fabricate parts needed for assembly or installation, using shop machinery or equipment.
Layout and mark reference points and locations for installation of parts or components, using jigs, templates, or measuring and marking instruments.
Clean, oil, or coat system components, as necessary, before assembly or attachment.
Assemble prefabricated parts to form subassemblies.
Set, align, adjust, or synchronize aircraft armament or rigging or control system components to established tolerances or requirements, using sighting devices and hand tools.
Join structural assemblies, such as wings, tails, or fuselage.
Position and align subassemblies in jigs or fixtures, using measuring instruments and following blueprint lines and index points.
Assemble prototypes or integrated-technology demonstrators of new or emerging environmental technologies for aircraft.
Swage fittings onto cables, using swaging machines.
Manually install structural assemblies or signal crane operators to position assemblies for joining.
Align, fit, assemble, connect, or install system components, using jigs, fixtures, measuring instruments, hand tools, or power tools.
Set up or operate machines or systems to crimp, cut, bend, form, swage, flare, bead, burr, or straighten tubing, according to specifications.
Place and connect control cables to electronically controlled units, using hand tools, ring locks, cotter keys, threaded connectors, turnbuckles, or related devices.
Install mechanical linkages and actuators, using tensiometers to verify tension of cables.
Clean aircraft structures, parts, or components, using aqueous, semi-aqueous, aliphatic hydrocarbon, or organic solvent cleaning products or techniques to reduce carbon or other harmful emissions.
Install accessories in swaging machines, using hand tools.
Mark identifying information on tubing or cable assemblies, using etching devices, labels, rubber stamps, or other methods.
Verify dimensions of cable assemblies or positions of fittings, using measuring instruments.
Weld tubing and fittings or solder cable ends, using tack welders, induction brazing chambers, or other equipment.
Splice cables, using clamps and fittings, or reweave cable strands.
Fit and fasten sheet metal coverings to surface areas or other sections of aircraft prior to welding or riveting.
Capture or segregate waste material, such as aluminum swarf, machine cutting fluid, or solvents, for recycling or environmentally responsible disposal.
Cut cables and tubing, using master templates, measuring instruments, and cable cutters or saws.
Monitor robotic assembly equipment, such as snake-arm robots, used to assemble, seal, or swage aircraft structures.
Hot Technologies are requirements frequently included in employer job postings.
Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
Detailed Work Activities
Assemble metal or plastic parts or products.
Assemble metal structures.
Review blueprints or other instructions to determine operational methods or sequences.
Adjust vehicle components according to specifications.
Cut industrial materials in preparation for fabrication or processing.
Align parts or workpieces to ensure proper assembly.
Inspect installed components or assemblies.
Repair parts or assemblies.
Replace worn equipment components.
Reshape metal workpieces to established specifications.
Trim excess material from workpieces.
Operate metal or plastic forming equipment.
Draw guide lines or markings on materials or workpieces using patterns or other references.
Clean workpieces or finished products.
Assemble electrical or electronic equipment.
Apply lubricants or coolants to workpieces.
Install mechanical components in production equipment.
Signal others to coordinate work activities.
Operate cutting equipment.
Connect supply lines to production equipment or tools.
Assemble electromechanical or hydraulic systems.
Mount attachments or tools onto production equipment.
Mark products, workpieces, or equipment with identifying information.
Measure dimensions of completed products or workpieces to verify conformance to specifications.
Operate welding equipment.
Solder parts or workpieces.
Sort recyclable materials.
Monitor equipment operation to ensure proper functioning.
Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 98% responded “Every day.”
Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 86% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
Face-to-Face Discussions — 80% responded “Every day.”
Exposed to Contaminants — 86% responded “Every day.”
Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 55% responded “Extremely important.”
Duration of Typical Work Week — 64% responded “More than 40 hours.”
Exposed to Hazardous Conditions — 49% responded “Every day.”
Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 74% responded “Every day.”
Work With Work Group or Team — 56% responded “Very important.”
Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 58% responded “Every day.”
Contact With Others — 44% responded “Constant contact with others.”
Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 52% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
Structured versus Unstructured Work — 63% responded “Some freedom.”
Spend Time Standing — 37% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 34% responded “Extremely important.”
Freedom to Make Decisions — 49% responded “Some freedom.”
Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 51% responded “Important results.”
Time Pressure — 30% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
Consequence of Error — 31% responded “Very serious.”
Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 36% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
Responsible for Others’ Health and Safety — 28% responded “High responsibility.”
Physical Proximity — 63% responded “Moderately close (at arm’s length).”
Frequency of Decision Making — 34% responded “Every day.”
Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 28% responded “High responsibility.”
Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 37% responded “About half the time.”
Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 26% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
Coordinate or Lead Others — 38% responded “Important.”
- Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed
- These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
- Related Experience
- Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.
- Job Training
- Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
- Job Zone Examples
- These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include orderlies, counter and rental clerks, customer service representatives, security guards, upholsterers, and tellers.
- SVP Range
- 3 months to 1 year of preparation (4.0 to < 6.0)
Training & Credentials
- State training
- Local training
- Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov
to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.
Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Equipment Maintenance — Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.
Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:
High school diploma or equivalent requiredmore info
Post-secondary certificate required
Bachelor’s degree required
Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Extent Flexibility — The ability to bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.
Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Wages & Employment Trends
- Median wages (2020)
- $25.56 hourly, $53,160 annual
- State wages
- Local wages
- Employment (2020)
- 37,800 employees
- Projected growth (2020-2030)
Decline (-1% or lower)
- Projected job openings (2020-2030)
- State trends
- Top industries (2020)
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data
and 2020-2030 employment projections
“Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
- State job openings
- Local job openings