Schools for Aspiring Aircraft Mechanics: How to Choose

Diploma, certificate, associate degree and bachelor's degree programs in aviation maintenance technology are available and may qualify individuals for positions as aircraft mechanics.

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Aircraft mechanics repair, maintain and inspect airplanes and related avionics equipment. Aviation maintenance technology programs are typically found at technical colleges and 4-year colleges and universities; diploma and certificate programs can typically be completed in a year or less, while associate and bachelor's degree programs take more time to complete due to the broader areas of study in aviation technology.

10 Aviation Maintenance Technology Schools

The following list includes a number of public and private schools that offer aviation maintenance technology programs.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition (2015-2016)
Andrews University Berrien Springs, MI 4-year, Private not-for-profit Associate's, Bachelor's $27,000
Lewis University Romeoville, IL 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's $29,040
Moody Bible Institute Spokane, WA 4-year, Private not-for-profit Bachelor's $8,350
Florida State College at Jacksonville Jacksonville, FL 4-year, primarily associate's, Public Associate's In-state $2,830; Out-of-state $9,944
Broward College Fort Lauderdale, FL 4-year, primarily associate's, Public Certificate In-state $2,753; Out-of-state $8,875
Kansas State University Manhattan, KS 4-year, Public Bachelor's In-state $9,350; Out-of-state $23,429
Hallmark University San Antonio, TX 4-year, primarily associate's, Private not-for-profit Associate's $34,700
University of Alaska Fairbanks Fairbanks, AK 4-year, Public Certificate, Associate's In-state $5,674; Out-of-state $17,303
Midland College Midland, TX 4-year, primarily associate's, Public Certificate In-district $1,968; In-state $3,168; Out-of-state $4,128
Vaughn College of Aeronautics and Technology Flushng, NY 4-year, primarily associate's, Private not-for-profit Associate's, Bachelor's $22,680

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

School Selection Criteria

There are several things to consider when choosing an aviation maintenance technology school.

  • The FAA requires that any individual working on an airplane unsupervised be FAA-certified; therefore, students may want to consider checking to see if their program is properly accredited prior to applying.
  • Students may want to consider enrolling in programs with direct access to airplanes and airfields for training experiences, as these could be useful for developing professional connections.
  • Students should keep in mind their time constraints and career goals since programs are available at the diploma, certificate, associate and bachelor's levels; bachelor's degree programs may also offer students the opportunity to specialize in an area of study such as management, electronics or flight.
  • Through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), students may become certified as an airframe mechanic, who deals primarily with the body and hardware of the aircraft, or a power plant mechanic, who deals with the engine and flight instrumentation; diploma and certificate programs may only focus on preparing students for one exam or the other, but associate and bachelor's degree programs typically prepare students for both.

Diploma in Aviation Maintenance Technology

Diploma programs in aviation maintenance technology may focus on either airframe or power plant maintenance. More advanced airframe coursework may include landing gear and welding, while power plant courses may include courses in engine fuel systems and gas turbine engines.

Certificate in Aviation Maintenance Technology

Certificate programs in aviation maintenance technology typically focus on airframe maintenance, power plant maintenance or both. Advanced, specified coursework may include propeller maintenance, reciprocating engines, instrumentation, power systems and landing gear.

Associate Degree in Aviation Maintenance Technology

A 2-year program in aviation maintenance technology explores aircraft courses and general education requirements. Hands-on training is gained through on-site experiences and simulation labs.

Bachelor's Degree in Aviation Maintenance Technology

Bachelor's degree programs are typically designed as 4-year programs. Students investigate electronics and physics, as well as advanced concepts in airframe and power plant mechanics. Students may be required to complete a senior project or internship prior to graduating from the program. Some programs offer international field experience opportunities.

There are several public and private institutions that offer programs in aviation maintenance. Prospective students can choose between programs that result in a certificate, associate's degree, or bachelor's degree.

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