In the next two decades, 34,000 new planes will take to the skies, according to aircraft manufacturing giant Boeing. These new-generation planes will be more efficient, safer, and more reliable. They will also be outfitted with high-tech electronics and engines, and require new types of maintenance and testing.

From design to construction, from maintenance to flight, aviation is an industry that has shaped the future. Demand for personal and commercial air travel has spawned jobs for trained personnel of all types – in particular, for airframe and powerplant technicians.

Most mechanics and technicians learn their trade at a Federal Aviation Administration-approved school, earning an Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) certificate. Start your career in one year with the Airframe and Powerplant Technology program offered by Mohawk Valley Community College. It is the only community college-based aviation maintenance program in New York State and one of only a few one-year programs in the country.

Some A&P mechanics are “generalists,” meaning they perform many different repairs. Others, usually called avionics technicians, specialize in the repair of particularly complicated parts. Technicians install, inspect, and repair equipment such as radar and navigations systems, and can work in both aircraft and space vehicles.

Aviation mechanics and technicians
Median wages (2017) $29.45 hourly, 
$61,260 annually
Employment (2016) 149,500

Innovation thrives in the field of engineering. Aerospace engineers design and test aircraft prototypes. Many work for the government on national defense projects, or on spacecraft and satellites. Others are employed by the airline industry to help analyze and improve plane design.

Aerospace engineers often specialize in a field like aerodynamics, propulsion, flight mechanics, or thermodynamics. Such expertise is usually gained through bachelor’s or master’s degree programs. New designs need testing, and that’s where operations technicians come in. Operations technicians install and operate computer systems, simulators, and testing equipment that helps to track and evaluate aircraft and space vehicles.

Aerospace engineers
Median wages (2017) $54.34 hourly
$113,030 annually
Employment (2016) 69,600

Aerospace operations technicians
Median wages (2017) $32.33 hourly
$67,240 annually
Employment (2016) 12,100

“These high-paying aircraft maintenance technician jobs are in strong demand and the forecast for the next 10 years is over 134,000 openings across the U.S. with many local jobs, as well,” said Airframe & Powerplant Director Walter Constantini. “MVCC’s state-of-the-art program gives students approved credentials, hands-on skills, and applied knowledge that qualifies them for successful aircraft careers in every corner of the nation and right here in the Mohawk Valley.”

How to get started 

Call MVCC’s Airframe and Powerplant Technology Program Director, Walt Constantini, at (315) 338-7826 for more details and application information. Prospective students file a standard MVCC Application for Admission, available or at any MVCC campus. You may also wish to contact the Admissions Office at MVCC at (315) 792-5354, or the MVCC’s Rome Campus at (315) 334-7727. There are special application requirements related to this program, including an interview with the program director.