Aircraft Mechanic Degree Programs with Course Information

Associate's and bachelor's degree programs in aircraft mechanics, also called aviation maintenance technology, prepare students for careers as aviation maintenance technicians. These programs include classroom and hands-on instruction in inspecting, repairing and maintaining aircraft.

Essential Information

An associate's degree program in aviation maintenance technology incorporates general education courses with technical training in the field of aircraft maintenance. Students learn the skills necessary to maintain and repair aircraft structures and mechanical systems. While most programs provide training in both structural (airframe) and engine systems (powerplant), some programs specialize in one or the other. Similar to the associate's programs, the bachelor's programs in provide technical training in aircraft maintenance along with general education. In addition, many programs incorporate management or business courses into the curriculum to prepare graduates for leadership roles in the aviation maintenance industry. Students who successfully complete programs approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) are eligible for certification in airframe and powerplant maintenance.

  • Program Levels in Aircraft Mechanics: Associate's degrees, Bachelor's degrees
  • Prerequisites: High school diploma or equivalent, previous math, computer technology, and physics experience is preferred
  • Other Requirements: Further professional certification

Associate's Degree Programs in Aviation Maintenance Technology

Curriculum covers the skills and theories necessary to earn FAA airframe and powerplant maintenance certification. Courses cover a wide variety of topics including:

  • FAA regulations
  • Aerodynamics
  • Aircraft electrical systems
  • Materials science
  • Instrumentation
  • Gas turbine and piston powerplants

Bachelor's Degree Programs in Aviation Maintenance Technology

Students learn the necessary skills for FAA certification. Curriculum also covers theory and business-related issues. Course topics include:

  • FAA regulations and documentation
  • Electrical systems
  • Airframe maintenance practices
  • Powerplants
  • Fuel, air and exhaust systems
  • Propeller systems

Popular Career Options

Students are prepared for careers repairing and maintaining aircraft for major airlines, commuter airlines, aircraft manufacturers and the FAA. According to the BLS, job opportunities may be best with small commuter and regional airlines. A bachelor's degree may enable graduates to secure management-level positions. Career options include:

  • Airframe maintenance technician
  • Powerplant maintenance technician
  • Aircraft mechanic
  • Maintenance supervisor
  • Aviation safety inspector
  • Accident investigator

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Employment for aircraft mechanics and service technicians is expected to grow by 2% during 2012-2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics ( Jobs will still be available due to the need to replace retiring mechanics and the low number of individuals entering this occupation. The BLS reported a mean annual salary of $58,850 in 2014 for these workers.

Certification and Continuing Education

The FAA requires certification for aircraft mechanics. Mechanics can receive certification in airframe maintenance, powerplant maintenance or both. Applicants must pass a written, oral and practical exam in each area. Continuing education is a requirement to maintain certification. Aircraft mechanics must complete 16 hours of training every two years to keep current.

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