These programs mix general education and technical courses to provide the foundation for future careers or future study. Graduates may consider pursuing certification, which involves passing several exams. In order to enroll, students need a high school diploma or GED, and must possess their own set of tools or belong to a purchasing cooperative to obtain the required materials. Over 170 schools are certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and most programs take two years to complete.
Associate Degree in Aviation Mechanics
Required courses may include:
- Flight control systems
- Intro to aviation maintenance
- Fuel systems
- Engine overhaul
With a 2-year degree in aviation maintenance technology, individuals may qualify for entry-level positions in the aviation industry. Popular careers include:
- Aircraft mechanic
- Aircraft service technician
- Avionics equipment mechanic
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
In 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported an annual median salary of $58,370 for aircraft mechanics and service technicians. In the decade from 2014 to 2024, growth of 1% is expected in jobs for these professionals, according to the BLS.
Continuing Education and Professional Certification
For those who desire further education, a bachelor's degree in aviation maintenance technology is the next step. These 4-year degree programs include courses in maintenance regulations, aircraft structures, non-destructive testing and engine systems.
The FAA offers certification for aviation maintenance technicians with rating for airframe or power plant work, or both (www.faa.gov). Individuals must pass written, oral and practical exams that show their knowledge and understanding of concepts related to airframe maintenance or power plant operation within two years of application.
After obtaining an associate's degree in aviation mechanics, prospective students will be ready to join a work force growing just 1% over the next decade. However, students may advance their careers by pursuing a bachelor's degree in aviation maintenance technology and obtaining FAA certification in a specialty area such as airframes or power plants.