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Building You: Technical training required for most aviation jobs

Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 6:17 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - WSU Tech provides technical training for people interested in various aviation-related jobs.

“I think the most rewarding part of my role is seeing folks get trained and go to work. It’s really a satisfying job to help people to improve their lives by improving their skills,” said James Hall, dean of aviation and manufacturing for the National Center for Aviation Training at WSU Tech.

Hall started his career in aviation that later turned into education.

“I was a sheet metal assembler, just like our students here that go through our short-term aviation programs. I went through a short-term aviation program. And, I love building airplanes,” said Hall.

Hall oversees programs that design, build, and maintain aircraft.

“There are plenty of aviation maintenance jobs that need filled no matter what happens,” said Hall. “Even through COVID and the downturn, our program has grown to almost 300 students here.”

But most jobs in aviation require at least some technical education.

“There are short term aviation program, 6 to 8 weeks in length that will help you get a foot in the door at many of the local employers. There’s a huge demand still for sheet metal assembly. That has not gone away. There are a bunch of jobs available currently. If you really want a good long-term career, if you have an A&P certificate, you can write your own ticket,” said Hall.

How do you get started in a career in aviation? Hear from the dean of aviation and manufacturing at WSU Tech.

Posted by Lily Wu - KWCH on Wednesday, June 2, 2021

There are currently 1,233 job openings in aviation and aerospace within a 100 mile radius of Wichita.

“This is a great field to get into, if you want really strong wages and really great opportunities, because it’s just going to grow,” said Keith Lawing, President and CEO of the Workforce Alliance of South Central Kansas.

The Aviation Maintenance Technology program allows students to go through an 18-month aircraft maintenance program to take the exam for the Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) mechanic certificate from the Federal Aviation Administration.

“Our AMT program is five trimesters, that you are done in 18 months. You get two ratings, which is your airframe rating and powerplant rating, assuming you pass your test with the FAA. Most of our students leave here making $18 and $21 an hour, right off the bat. And, the upside is just huge. With a little bit of overtime, you can easily make 6 figures a year,” said Hall.

And, it all starts with some education.

To learn more about aviation training programs at WSU Tech, click here.

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