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Airframe Technology and Powerplant Technology Associate's Degree

Find out about associate's degree programs that prepare you for a career in airframe and powerplant mechanics (A & P mechanics). Learn about the kinds of schools that offer these programs, and get information on licensure requirements and the career outlook for graduates.

How Do Airframe and Powerplant Technology Associate's Programs Work?

Airframe and powerplant technology associate's programs can take up to two years to complete and typically prepare students for professional licensure. At some schools, students can pursue either an associate's degree in airframe technology or an associate's degree in powerplant technology. Powerplant maintenance deals specifically with engines and fuel delivery systems. Airframe maintenance covers all the physical aspects of the aircraft as well as the braking and heating systems.

Typical courses you might encounter in an A & P program include electric and utility systems, turbine and reciprocating engine maintenance, powerplant repair and replacement, fuels and fuel systems, tools and hardware, welding and sheet metal work, airframe maintenance and inspection criteria. Because of the large amount of hands-on training required, there are no online associate's degree programs offered in airframe and powerplant technology.

Program Options Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Airframe and Powerplant Technology,
AAS in Airframe Technology,
AAS in Powerplant Technology
Common Topics Powerplant repair, fuel systems, airframe maintenance and more
School Selection Programs should be approved by the FAA
Licensure Graduates of FAA-approved programs gain licensure via exam; licensure renewal required every two years
Potential Salary (2018)* $65,230 (average for aircraft mechanics and service technicians)
Job Outlook (2016-2026)*5% growth (for aircraft mechanics and service technicians)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

How Do I Locate a School?

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is an excellent source of post-secondary, education institutions. A search through the NCES database yields a list of schools that offer associate's degree programs in airframe and aircraft maintenance technology. The Professional Aircraft Maintenance Association (PAMA) also provides a short, online list of possible schools. In addition, the FAA maintains an online database of approved aircraft maintenance schools.

Besides ascertaining that the program you choose leads to an associate's degree, it is wise to make sure that the school you select is an FAA-certificated part 147 maintenance school. Programs offered by a part 147 school comply with the curriculum mandated by the FAA. This may make it easier on you when you sit for your FAA certification examination.

What Are the Licensure Requirements?

The FAA requires mechanics to be licensed or work under the supervision of a licensed mechanic. Following your graduation from an FAA-approved school, you are immediately eligible to sit for your license examination. If you graduate from a school not approved by the FAA, you will need to accumulate 30 months of work experience before you sit for the A & P license exam. The FAA administers license examinations. Exams consist of written, oral, and practical sections. You keep your license current by participating in 16 hours of training every 24 months.

What About Employment and Wage Projections?

The BLS projected that opportunities for A & P mechanics will hold steady from 2016-2026. Though airlines may outsource avionics work, they generally prefer maintenance to be performed in the United States. This is done to ensure compliance with the strict national safety regulations. The BLS also states that your employment opportunities can be enhanced if you receive additional training in avionics. In 2018, the BLS determined the mean annual wage for aircraft mechanics and service technicians to be $65,230.