Are you a detail-oriented individual that enjoys working hands-on? Do you have a vast interest in the safety of air travel and the work that's involved in ensuring that safety? Do you enjoy figuring out how things work and working in a team setting? If so, you may be a great fit for the aviation maintenance mechanic field! With a plethora of opportunities across the United States for work and multiple trades to specialize in, being an aviation mechanic is a great career direction to choose from. If you're considering a career in aviation maintenance, it's important to note that most trades require certain education, training, licenses, and certifications. In most circumstances, you can complete all your training in as little as two years. But don't worry -- there are plenty of opportunities to obtain this training and education in the United States.
Different Licenses to Obtain
In general, there are 3 types of airplane maintenance mechanics: Airframe and Powerplant Mechanics, Inspection Authorization Endorsed Mechanics, or FAA Certificated Repair Stations. As the most common certification, the A&P license allows for mechanics to work on both the body and engine of the aircraft. The FAA doesn’t require you to earn both of these licenses, however most mechanics opt to in order to be more well-rounded and able to perform both tasks. Once you obtain your A&P license, you will now be able to choose what trade you'd like to work in and start working towards a specialization.
Once you have obtained and held your A&P license for at least 3 years and have been active in the aviation maintenance field for 2 years, you are able to obtain your Inspection Authorization (IA). This license allows mechanics to add on to their skillset and inspect aircrafts before they can return to the sky.
Here are ten aviation schools in the United States to get your A&P Certification!
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Located in Daytona Beach, FL, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is a top-notch choice for aviation mechanics looking to obtain their A&P license. In their Aviation Maintenance Science program, students are able to take 66 credit hours of course work with 48 dedicated to airframe and powerplant technical courses. At the end of their credit hour completions, students are approved to sit for the A&P certification exams. Additionally, if you wish to obtain your bachelor's degree rather than associates in Aviation Maintenance Science, this program flows seamlessly to do so. If you are already in possession of your A&P License and just wish to further your knowledge in the field, ERAU credits students who are already have their A&P certification.
Chaffey College, in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, offers six different aviation maintenance programs that allow students to choose whether they'd like to take only the airframe, powerplant, or both certifications.
Their 2-year FAA-approved programs allows students to "become familiar with every system employed on an aircraft, including electrical, structures, fuel, environmental, landing gear, powerplants and more". Their AMT department has over a 90% pass rate for the FAA written exams and their faculty will also help with job placement post-graduation.
Broward College in Pembroke Pines, FL offers quite a few different programs to choose from to prepare you for your future career in the aviation field. For aviation maintenance specifically, students have the option to obtain their A&P certificate and associate degree either part-time or full-time which offers flexibility for students. Overall the associate degree is 83 credits, and their South Campus is uniquely linked to North Perry Airport which allows for hands-on experience throughout the program to prepare individuals for their future career.
Mt. San Antonio College
Mt. San Antonio College runs one of the oldest aircraft maintenance technology programs and is located in Walnut, CA. Certified by the FAA, Mt. San Antonio allows graduates to enter the field as a general aviation technician, a corporate aircraft technician, or as a commercial aircraft technician. There are two different program options for students to choose from -- a two-year daytime program or a two-year nighttime program. With state of the art equipment, students who attend Mt. San Antonio College have proven to be successful with graduate FAA Certification test scores being consistently higher than the national average and 100% students employed in the field post-graduation.
Lewis University is located in Romeoville, IL and offers a stellar aviation maintenance program for students to obtain their A&P Certification in 4 semesters. Students have the option to finish in 15 months including summer sessions or 21 months without. The school currently has a 100% FAA exam pass rate and in 2015, 100% of graduates received job offers. Additionally, Lewis College now offers a new schedule for working adults to earn their A&P license while also working full-time.
Hallmark University is yet another aviation maintenance school that allows students to earn their FAA Airframe and Powerplant Certification, however they offer an accelerated degree program. With their hands-on aircraft maintenance program, students are able to get their degree, A&P License, and start work in the field in under 2 years. Located in San Antonio, TX at the San Antonio International Airport, students have the ability to work in real hangars on real engines to adequately prepare them for their license exam and their future career in aviation maintenance.
LeTourneau University is a private university located in Longview, TX that offers a hands-on aviation maintenance program. Throughout the course, students have the opportunity to practice on high-tech aviation equipment. Upon graduation, students will have obtained their A&P license and will have the skillset available to "perform scheduled aircraft maintenance, make repairs, and complete FAA-required inspections. Although they do not offer an associate's degree, Letourneau University offers a B.S degree composed of 76 credit hours that students can still finish in 2-3 years.
Located in Flushing, NY, Vaughn College offers a 70 credit aviation maintenance program where you can earn you’re A&P certification as well as learn general education and specific aviation maintenance methods and theory. Vaughn College has an emphasis on computer application, attention to skill-building and hands-on experience to better prepare their students to enter the workforce post-graduation. This program allows students to build their knowledge on maintenance overhaul and modification techniques as well as a strong background in manufacturing processes.
South Dakota State University
South Dakota State University offers a four year Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Maintenance Management Specialization. Located in Brookings, SD, SDSU has partnerships with FAA A&P Positions all over the United States. After a student completes their A&P Certification, they can then transfer to SDSU to complete their degree. Post-graduation, students have many different career opportunities with this degree including aircraft maintenance technicians, aircraft maintenance mechanics, and maintenance managers.
Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus
At their aerospace and technology campus in Salina, KS, Kansas State University offers both an associate and bachelor's degree for their aviation maintenance program. This program allows students to prepare for their A&P License exam and gain hands-on experience working on real aircrafts. With a 97% placement rate post-graduation, career opportunities include A&P Mechanics, Aircraft Electricians, Flight Test Mechanics, Aircraft Instrument Mechanics, Avionics Technicians, and Jet Engine Mechanics.
Aside from the ten previously mention aviation schools, there are tons of opportunities to gain experience and knowledge in the United States to pursue your dream career in aviation maintenance. If you'd like more information on more schools in the U.S. with programs similar to the programs mentioned in this article, you can visit the links below.
FAA Part 147 Certificated Aviation Maintenance Technician School
Colleges and Universities with Aviation Maintenance Degrees