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How to Choose an Airplane Technician School

An airplane technician school will educate the student how to repair, maintain, inspect and prevent malfunction in aircrafts. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that any unsupervised individual repairing an aircraft must be FAA-certified. Students can qualify to earn this title through experience or through the completion of an FAA-approved undergraduate program.

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Students can find a list of FAA-approved airplane technician programs on the organization's official website (www. faa.gov). Programs are available at many colleges and universities around the nation.

10 Schools with Airplane Technician Programs

These schools offer undergraduate programs that will prepare students to become airplane technicians. Most programs require students to pay an addition estimate of $2,000 for tools.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition and Fees 2015-2016*
Pima Community College Tucson, AZ 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate $1,974 in-state, $8,610 out-of-state
Columbus State Community College Columbus, OH 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate $3,808 in-state, $8,430 out-of-state
Spokane Community College Spokane, WA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate $3,388 in-state, $8,726 out-of-state
Lane Community College Eugene, OR 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate $12,234 in-state
Western Michigan University Kalamazoo, MI 4-year, Public Bachelor's $11,029 in-state, $25,713 out-of-state
Utah State University Logan, UT 4-year, Public Associate $7,260 in-state, $19,760 out-of-state
Everett Community College Everett, WA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate $3,643 in-state, $8,981 out-of-state
Portland Community College Portland, OR 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate $3,766 in-state, $8,374 out-of-state
Southern Illinois University Carbondale Carbondale, IL 4-year, Public Bachelor's $13,137 in-state, $26,390 out-of-state
Salt Lake Community College Salt Lake City, UT 2-year, Public Certificate, Diploma, Associate $3,569 in-state, $11,337 out-of-state

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics, School websites

School Selection Criteria

Students should keep these important considerations in mind when choosing a school:

  • Diploma and certificate programs usually take less than two years to complete and can, therefore, prepare the student to enter the workforce fairly quickly, whereas associate's and bachelor's degree programs can take 2-4 years.
  • Associate's and bachelor's degree programs commonly qualify students for both the FAA's airframe and power plant certifications, where diploma and certificate programs usually only focus on one or the other.
  • At any level of education, direct access to an airfield and working airplanes for observation and training is beneficial for aspiring airplane technicians.
  • Employed or otherwise obligated students may find some flexibility in scheduling through schools that offer part-time, evening or weekend programs and courses.

Airplane Technician Diploma Programs

Diploma programs for airplane technicians can be completed in 1-2 years. They generally take the longest when incorporating training for both airframe and power plant mechanics. Airframe specialty programs could include topics such as power systems, welding and warning systems, while a power plant program could include courses on gas turbine and reciprocal engines.

Certificate Programs for Airplane Technicians

Certificate programs can also be completed in 1-2 years. Aircraft electrical systems and aviation physics are common courses at this level. Students can prepare for FAA power plant certification with courses in gas turbine engines, starting systems and fuel metering systems.

Associate's Degree in Aviation Maintenance Technology

Associate's degree programs commonly take two years to complete and include general education courses as well as airplane technician courses. Students with an associate's degree can transfer to a 4-year university and complete a bachelor's degree.

Bachelor's Degree in Aviation Maintenance Technology

Bachelor's degree programs usually take four years to complete and sometimes require the completion of a senior project for graduation. Coursework includes basic electrical and physics-based studies of aviation systems and specialized work in turbine engines.

Airplane technician programs are typically between 1-4 years in length and may include training for airframe and power plant certifications. When choosing a school, prospective students should consider a school's location, degree levels offered, schedule flexibility and certifications available.

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