DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -- With every aircraft needing a mechanic to help maintain it, the aviation industry is looking for aircraft mechanics with nearly endless possibilities
According to Director of the Alabama Aviation College in Ozark, Stan Smith, the average age of an A&P mechanic is over 50 and 30% of those are eligible for retirement.
“Right now the Federal Aviation Administration is producing about 10,000 A&P mechanics a year and the demand is 20,000 a year,” said Smith.
“Right now we’re running way behind and mechanics are hard to find," said Aaron Walls, owner of Walls Aviation.
"We are looking for full-time mechanics.”
Alabama Aviation College in Ozark can bridge that gap with its Aviation Maintenance Technology program.
“Every single semester here, we run constant all year long three semesters a year, said Smith. "You can start our program any semester. So we are producing A&P mechanics all year long.”
Once the two-year program is completed the students will have one more obstacle.
“At the end, they go to test with the Federal Aviation Administration. If they pass that test, opportunities are endless.”
Although the students are learning how to become a licensed aircraft mechanic, they may not receive real-life job experience until they are actually hired. Walls provides that job experience for those students while they are still in school.
“The school is basically there to educate them on the regulations and stuff like that, where they can pass the test and become a licensed mechanic, said Walls.
"Here we go a little bit beyond that and teach them some of the stuff that they’re going to do when they get their full-time jobs.”
For students at some schools, opportunities to go right to work are not possible, but locally Walls provides job experiences similar to an internship while the students are still in school.
“Keep in mind that aviation is a small world. The guy you’re working next to today may be the CEO where you’re going the next time. You don’t think about that until you’ve been out there for a little while and you realize you’ve got friends that do this all over the country, or all over the world. In other words, don’t burn no bridges behind you.”
Registration for fall classes to become an aviation mechanic is open.
Just visit aviation.escc.edu for more.