Our nation faces critical projected shortages of skilled aviation maintenance professionals. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a faster than average job growth for aircraft technicians of five percent from 2019 to 2029.* The Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC) estimates a need for more than 10,000 mechanics annually to meet national market demand (approximately 2,700 mechanics each year in addition to the 2019 high point of 7,363 mechanics who achieved FAA certification).** Globally, Boeing projects a need for 739,000 new maintenance technicians over the next 20 years to support the commercial aviation, business aviation, and helicopter industries.*** With 33 percent of the nation’s mechanic population age 60 or above, and an average FAA mechanic age of 52 (10 years older than the median U.S. worker), looming retirements will further strain the nation’s talent pool. Penn College was awarded an Aviation Workforce Development Grant of $214,500 from the FAA to help bolster the numbers of individuals entering these rewarding careers.

What is an Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT)?

Here’s what Matt Krepps, a faculty member, has to say:

Airframe and Powerplant technicians are needed to repair and maintain everything from gliders to emergency medical helicopters and corporate commuter jets to big airliners. If it flies in the U.S., it needs an AMT to look after it. The trained eye of the AMT must pay attention to the most minuscule of details when it comes to inspections. The AMT must also be able do repairs ranging some simple skin patches to complex structural repairs. AMTs are dealing more and more with complex electrical and electronic systems onboard modern aircraft which requires more than just a cursory knowledge of electricity. That’s why at Penn College we focus on a wide range of STEM skills like calculating circuit impedance, aircraft weight and balance, sheet metal set-back, and much more using many different formulas in the process. Students spend about one-third of their time in lecture, learning the basic principles of each subject, and then they spend the rest of their time in hands-on labs working on real industry equipment. Many of the skills required to be an AMT are only acquirable via direct, hands-on learning using the actual aircraft tools and equipment of the industry. This method of teaching is extremely expensive, but vital to the success of any aircraft maintenance training program.

High School Students

Learn more about the exciting careers in aviation maintenance through participation in one of our signature on-campus events:

Aviation Mini-Camp

An action-packed weekend on campus learning what it takes to earn the FAA Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic Certificates.

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Aviation Pre-College Program

Spend a week this summer at Penn College taking a deep dive into all things aviation!

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Schedule a tour

Schedule a tour of the Lumley Aviation Center, home to 20 college-owned aircraft including a Boeing 727!

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Teachers/School Counselors

In summer 2022, Penn College hosted an “externship” camp for teachers and counselors. Fifteen Pennsylvania educators spent a week on our campus learning about the aviation industry, including engaging hands-on activities such as reciprocating engine disassembly and operation, turbine engine operation, composite and sheet metal workshops, aerodynamics and flight controls, and avionics. The program connected teachers from all corners of our state and challenged them to develop a project that links the content learned on campus to lesson plans in their own classroom.

The program was fully-funded, included staying on campus in a residence hall, mileage, meals, and a $750 stipend for attending. An additional $750 stipend is available to participants who implement an aviation lesson at their home school.

Summer 2022

Veterans / Active-Duty Military

We are in the planning stages for a specific veterans/active-duty military visit day to campus which will showcase our programs in Aviation Maintenance and how Penn College supports military students.

*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Outlook Handbook. Available at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/installation-maintenance-and-repair/

**Aviation Technician Education Council (ATEC). (2020). Pipeline Report. Available at https://www.atec-amt.org/pipeline-report.html

***Boeing. (2020). Pilot and Technician Outlook 2020-2039. Available at https://www.boeing.com/commercial/market/pilot-technician-outlook/