AMT programs typically take 1-2 years to complete if a student is enrolled full-time, and some of these schools award 2-year associate or 4-year bachelor's degrees in avionics or aviation maintenance management beyond the AMT diplomas. Most of these programs do not have any prerequisites beyond a high school diploma; however, most prefer students with strong aptitude for mathematics, physics, computer science, electronics or chemistry.
While the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires work experience in order to qualify for the certification exams, this requirement can be waived if a student has completed a program from an FAA-certified school. Exams have oral, written and practical components and can be focused on the airframe, the powerplant or both.
Aviation Repair Programs
Students learn how aircraft work and become proficient in the technology used to maintain them. An increasing number of schools are shifting emphasis to technologies like aviation electronics, composite medals and turbine engines because these technologies are popular in new aircraft design. Many programs focus on computers and electronics because the aircraft maintenance industry is trending toward digital and electronic tools. Coursework in these programs often combines classroom learning with hands-on practical learning under the supervision of a certified mechanic or engineer. Here are some classes that might appear in the curriculum:
- Aviation physics
- Turbine engines
- Data management
- Maintenance procedures
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) predicts that the employment rate for aircraft mechanics and service technicians will increase 1% between 2014 and 2024, which results in little to no change.
In May of 2015, the BLS reported that aircraft mechanics and service technicians earned a median hourly wage of $28.06. The lowest-paid technicians made $16.71 per hour, while the top 10% in the field made $42.81 per hour.
Aspiring aviation maintenance technicians can learn about the technologies used in airplanes and how to repair and maintain them through an AMT program. These programs prepare students to take the Federal Aviation Administration's certification exam, which is a requirement to work professionally as an aviation repair technician.