Students in an aviation maintenance technology associate's degree program learn how to perform basic and advanced aviation maintenance functions. These include inspecting engines and systems, analyzing ignition, compression and distribution systems and repairing and rebuilding wing and fuselage units. These programs can be completed in two years or less and include hands-on training.
Prerequisites for these programs include a high school diploma or its equivalent.
Associate's Degree in Aviation Maintenance Technology
In addition to the FAA-approved aviation curriculum, individuals also enroll in math and science courses such as algebra, trigonometry and physics. Below are listed some sample core course topics:
- Turbine engines
- Aviation electronics
- Technology and aviation
- Blueprint reading
- Mechanical troubleshooting
Employee Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians will only increase by 1% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also stated that employment opportunities should be most robust for individuals who have completed an educational program from an accredited institution. The mean salary for aircraft mechanics and service technicians was $60,160 per year as of May 2015.
Continuing Education, Certification and Training Information
While an associate's degree in aviation maintenance technology is often considered the terminal degree for mechanics, there are still plenty of degree programs for those who want to continue studying. Bachelor's degree programs are available in related fields such as avionics or aviation maintenance management. Graduate degree programs are also available for those who want to pursue management or executive positions within the aviation industry.
To be an aviation mechanic or maintenance technologist, you must first be FAA certified. The FAA certification exam consists of oral, written and practical components. All three tests must be successfully completed within two years.
After completing the educational program and the certification exams, aviation maintenance employees can expect to undergo an on-the-job training program. While training programs vary between employers, all programs consist of working under the direct supervision of a licensed aviation mechanic.
Students who want to work as aviation mechanics can pursue an aviation maintenance technology degree at the associate's level to qualify for jobs in the industry once they become FAA certified. Bachelor's degree and graduate programs are available for those who want to continue their studies or be eligible for management positions in the field.