Become an FAA Safety Inspector

The United States Federal Aviation Association inspects pilots, aircraft, training programs and equipment to ensure they meet safety standards. FAA safety inspectors are usually experienced industry professionals in maintenance or piloting. After at least 5 years of licensed experience in the industry, you can apply for an inspector position in operations, avionics or maintenance. You will be required to undergo interviews, drug tests and medical examinations during the application process. Find out how to become an FAA safety inspector.


  1. Complete your high school education. You will need to prove that you achieved this level of education when you apply to work at the Federal Aviation Administration. Submitting proof of a higher level education can be substituted.
  2. Gain experience in the aviation field. The 2 most common routes are to become a pilot or an airplane mechanic.[1]
    • Obtain your pilot's license. Most people gain a private pilot's license by passing a theory and practical test. Then, they log at least 250 flying hours so that they can begin training for their commercial license. Attending a flying school is a popular way to get experience with commercial aircraft. Pass the required practical FAA examination to become a licensed pilot.[2]
    • Pursue an airplane mechanic or engineering degree from an aviation maintenance school. These are usually located at technical colleges. You will be required to pass a 3-part FAA examination, including a written, oral and practical test.
  3. Gain the required experience working in aviation. FAA inspectors usually have at least 5 years of industry experience, although it will depend upon the position you would like to hold.[3]
    • Pilots must have 1,500 flight hours with commercial craft. They must also have at least 100 flight hours in the last 3 years, and have at least 1 year of experience flying aircraft that is over 12,500 lbs. They must be able to prove a healthy medical inspection and no more than 2 flying errors in the past 5 years.[4]
    • Avionics applicants apply to inspect repair facilities and training programs. They must be able to show that they have avionics experience on aircraft over 12,500 lbs. They must also have experience in avionics maintenance and/or repair within the last 3 years.
    • Maintenance inspectors must have experience repairing and maintaining aircraft that is over 12,500 lbs. They must have some experience in the industry in the last 3 years, and they must carry an FAA maintenance license.
  4. Gain at least 1 year of experience in a supervisory position. The FAA looks for people who are capable of leadership and management.
  5. Develop your professional skills. The FAA looks for people who possess the following skills: public speaking, writing, interpersonal, risk management, ethics, organization and decision-making. If you require improvement in 1 of these areas, consider taking classes or joining a professional organization to get training.
  6. Search for inspector positions at FAA. FAA hiring differs from year to year, based on the number of openings there are nationally. Some years can be highly competitive, so you may need to apply more than once.[5]
    • There are several different positions for FAA safety inspectors. If you are applying to evaluate pilots, you will want to apply for an operation safety inspector position with air carriers or general aviation. If you have history in avionics, you will apply for an avionics safety inspector position. If you have a maintenance license, you will apply for a mechanical safety inspector position.
  7. Pass a drug test. FAA safety inspectors can not have an addiction that could affect their performance.[6]
  8. Pass a medical exam. FAA safety inspectors may be required to undergo a medical exam, or show proof of a recent medical evaluation.[7]


  • As with any job application, you should tailor your resume to the job you are applying for. Proof your resume well and only include pertinent information about your employer, experience, contact information, professional memberships and professional accolades. You will also want to include your licenses and educational background in this 1 to 2 page document.

Things You'll Need

  • High school diploma
  • Associate's degree
  • Leadership skills
  • FAA license
  • Aviation experience
  • Supervisor experience
  • Professional membership
  • Training classes
  • Drug test
  • Medical exam

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