Many colleges and universities offer aircraft engineering maintenance degrees at the associate's and bachelor's degree levels. Students in aircraft engineering programs learn how to troubleshoot and repair problems within aircraft systems as they prepare for careers as aviation technicians or mechanics. Courses in mathematics and physics will also be taken. Specializations focusing on certain systems or structures are offered in some programs, most often at the bachelor's level.
To enter one of these programs, students must have a high school diploma or GED and satisfactory ACT or SAT scores.
Associate's Degree in Aircraft Engineering
The Associate of Science in Aviation Maintenance Engineering introduces students to core concepts in the field of aircraft maintenance and can be completed in two to two and a half years of full-time study. Many of the courses focus on the various mechanical moving parts of an aircraft, the parts' functions and the maintenance methods used to ensure their longevity. Students who are comfortable with mechanics and are good working with their hands will have the best chance of succeeding.
Coursework in the associate's degree program emphasizes all of the core mechanical components of various types of aircraft. Topics covered in such programs include the following:
- Structures of aircrafts
- Aircraft electrical systems
- Instruments and aircrafts
- Fundamentals of aviation
- Mathematics for aviation
Bachelor's Degree in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering
The Bachelor of Science in Aircraft Maintenance Engineering can be completed in four years of full-time study. Students enrolled in the B.S. program will gain a more thorough understanding of aviation mechanics and systems. In addition to offering courses that emphasize maintenance troubleshooting, many universities and colleges allow students to choose a concentration area. Some possible areas of concentration include powerplant and airframe maintenance. Powerplant maintenance engineers work on engines but may also work with propellers in a limited capacity. An airframe maintenance engineer will work on all aircraft systems except the engine, the propellers and the instruments.
The core curriculum of the bachelor's degree program focuses on the various aircraft mechanical systems and structures. Select courses emphasize troubleshooting methods and problem solving.
- The science of aviation
- Fundamentals of aviation
- Practices in aviation
- Turbine engines
- Engine systems of aircraft
- Electrical systems of engines
Popular Career Options
Students who complete the associate's degree program are eligible to apply for entry-level jobs in the aircraft maintenance industry. Graduates can jump into the field with one of these positions:
- Assistant aircraft technician
- Assistant powerplant mechanic
The undergraduate degree program in aircraft maintenance engineering prepares graduates for a wide variety of maintenance careers. However, the career options depend in large part on the number of courses taken in a particular area of aircraft maintenance.
- Avionics technician
- Powerplant maintenance technician
- Airframe maintenance technician
- A&P (airframe and powerplant) maintenance technician
Continuing Education Information
Students who have completed the undergraduate program in aircraft maintenance engineering can pursue certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Currently, the FAA offers certification for general, airframe and powerplant aviation technicians. The certification process consists of a knowledge-based test in a specific aircraft maintenance area.
Students in aircraft engineering programs will learn about parts and maintenance at the associate's level. At the bachelor's level, students may choose a concentration such as powerplant and airframe maintenance as well as learn about troubleshooting and the aviation system.