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Airframe Technology Training and Education Program Overviews

Airframe technicians and mechanics inspect, repair and maintain aircraft and can receive training through an Associate of Applied Science in Airframe Technology degree program. Read on for information on these programs, including curriculum and prerequisites as well as requirements for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification.

Essential Information

Aspiring airframe technicians seeking an associate's degree program must first find one that is accredited by the FAA. Approved degree programs provide students with an educational foundation in aircraft technology that teaches them the practical and technical skills necessary to work as a technician in the field. After graduation, students can test for FAA certification. Some programs can be completed in less than a year. Students usually must complete a few general education courses, such as English composition and psychology, but requirements vary by school.

The curriculum included within an associate degree program in aircraft technology covers basic mechanic processes such as welding, rigging, assembling and finishing. Students learn how to apply these skills to aircrafts in order to maintain, repair and calibrate aircraft electrical systems, navigational systems, hydraulic systems, landing gear systems, positioning systems and control systems.

Education Prerequisites

Community, technical and vocational colleges are the schools most likely to offer approved associate degree programs in airframe technology. Such schools only admit students who have proof of a high school education or its equivalent. Some schools also require students to complete mathematics and English language placement tests before they can begin core classes.

Program Coursework

Associate degree programs in airframe technology are comprised of both classroom lectures and practical laboratory sessions. Some specific examples include:

  • Ground operation
  • Ground service and cleaning
  • Materials and processes
  • Maintenance forms and regulations
  • Aviation physics
  • Aircraft electrical systems
  • Welding
  • Airframe inspection
  • Airframe repair

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The air transportation support activities and scheduled air transportation industries were the largest employers of aircraft mechanics and service technicians in May 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). In that year, these mechanics and technicians held a total of about 119,160 jobs and earned a median annual salary of $55,210.

Certification Options

The FAA must certify all airframe technicians and mechanics before they are allowed to work on aircrafts. Those who are not certified must work under the direct supervision of a certified mechanic at all times. Individuals must have at least 18 months of professional experience before they can apply for an airframe mechanic certificate from the FAA. In many cases, the completion of an associate degree program can be substituted for those work months.

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