Airframe and Power Plant Technology Schools: How to Choose

Airframe and Power plant (A&P) technicians calibrate, align, adjust and inspect aircraft systems. Some technicians learn through on-the-job training, but most employed A&P technicians and mechanics have completed a certificate or degree program.

Students seeking to participate in an airframe and power plant technology program will be expected to take courses on how to maintain, repair and service airplanes. Most mechanics currently working in this field have completed some formal education and all are certified A&P technicians.

Schools with Airframe and Power Plant Technology Programs

The following schools have different levels of aviation technology and maintenance programs. Tuition is based upon the 2015-2016 school year:

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition (2015-2016)*
Atlantic Cape Community College Mays Landing, NJ 2 year, Public Associate's $4,266, in-district
$5,946, in-state
$7,536, out-of-state
Delta State University Cleveland, MS 4 year, Public Bachelor's, Master's $6,112
Westminster College Salt Lake City, UT 4 year, Private, Not-For-Profit Bachelor's $31,528
Palo Alto College San Antonio, TX 2 year, Public Associate's $2,088, in-district
$5,550, in-state
$10,740, out-of-state
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Daytona Beach, FL 4 year, Private, Not-For-Profit Associate's, Bachelor's $33,218
Middle Tennessee State University Murfreesboro, TN 4 year, Public Bachelor's $8,080, in-state
$24,808, out-of-state
Hinds Community College Raymond, MS 2 year, Public Technical Certificate, Associate's $2,600, in-state
$5,200, out-of-state
South Dakota State University Brookings, SD 4 year, Public Bachelor's $8,172, in-state
$11,053, out-of-state

Sources: *National Center for Education Statistics

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School Selection Criteria

There are many two- and/or four-year colleges that offer certificate and degree programs in A&P technology. The following are some of the factors students should consider when selecting a school:

  • Every student of A&P mechanics is required to obtain certification by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prior to employment. However, not every program is recognized by the FAA, so students would do well to choose an approved program in order to meet their certification requirements.
  • Schools located close to airports and other industry equipment may offer unique hands-on opportunities that would benefit those pursuing A&P mechanics.
  • Schools with smaller student enrollment will present a more intimate learning atmosphere than larger aviation programs would. This close relationship with the professor could be beneficial to those wanting to focus on honing their skills in A&P mechanics.
  • Certificates and associate's degrees in A&P mechanics are enough to obtain an entry-level position, but those wishing to advance to a managerial level should consider a bachelor's degree.

Airframe and Power Plant Technology Certificate Programs

A&P certificate programs, such as an airframe certificate, a power plant certificate and a combined A&P certificate, will prepare students to pass FAA certification exams. Students who complete a certificate program may be able to find entry-level positions inspecting, maintaining and repairing U.S. aircrafts.

Associate of Science in Airframe and Power Plant Technology

Associate degree programs include all the coursework of an A&P certificate program, plus general education courses. Most programs offer a combined learning style of classroom study and laboratory work that gives students hands-on experience working with equipment.

Bachelor of Science in Aviation Maintenance Technology

Bachelor's degree programs in aviation maintenance technology prepare students for management positions, often requiring additional math courses as well as added specialty courses in testing of non-destructive aircraft parts and advanced composites of larger aircrafts. Once they have gained some work experience, graduates are qualified to take FAA aircraft maintenance certification exams and work in supervisory positions with airlines or aircraft maintenance companies.

There are several different schools nationwide that offer A&P programs at a wide range of tuition rates. Students wishing to enter the field after graduation should consider programs that are recognized by the FAA and that offer hands-on learning experiences at local airports to hone their skills.


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