You can become an operations technician through the completion of an associates degree or vocational training in the field of aerospace and aeronautical engineering. Some positions in the field may require an undergraduate or masters degree in aerospace engineering, however, the majority of technicians learn the trade through experience after the completion of an entry level two year degree. In order to become an operations technician, you should have interest in working with the maintenance, assembly, and testing of aerospace based machinery and aircraft.
While most of the education required to become an operations technician can be gained through a combination of community college classes and on the job training, it is also possible to gain the position through military service in one of the branches of your region's armed forces. At the end of military experience, individuals may go on to work as a civilian in private companies or for the government. Working on aerospace defense projects for the government may have additional qualifications necessary to become an operation technician, such as security clearance approval. If you are interested in the field and still in school, it may be important and helpful to gain a solid background in math, science, electronics, and computer programming.
Certification to become an operations technician is possible through regional professional organizations, such as the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Some regions may require certification, but some regions only require certification for aerospace engineers. The certification process is a combination of an exam and required coursework. Operations technicians are employed by public and private sector companies within institutions such as aerospace companies, the military, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The government employs both military personnel and civilian contractors as technicians.
Operations technicians use industry tools and computers to record test data for aircraft and machinery, address issues, and ensure functionality. As a technician, you would be working together with other members of the staff and engineers to assemble aircraft and build diagnostic equipment. You would work to adjust aircraft instrumentation panels and equipment, and create and install parts within machinery. Skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, and dexterity are important in working as a operations technician.
The complex nature of assembling aircraft means that good teamwork is essential to being an operations technician. Inter-personal abilities are almost as important as job knowledge and experience in order to become an operations technician. In addition to assembling aircraft, technicians may also create technical specification reports alongside engineers, and help conduct laboratory testing on new equipment.