Most mechanics and technicians learn their trade in a federally approved training program.. Coursework normally lasts 18 to 24 months and provides training with the tools and equipment used on the job. About one-third of the programs award two- or four-year degrees in avionics, aviation technology, or aviation maintenance management. Increasingly, employers are looking more favorably on those with a bachelor’s degree. Aircraft trade schools are placing more emphasis on technologies being used in new airplanes, such as turbine engines, composite materials, and aviation electronics. These technical advances require mechanics to have stronger backgrounds in composite materials and electronics.
Courses in mathematics, physics, chemical engineering, electronics, computer science, and mechanical drawing are helpful because they teach the principles involved in operating an airplane. Mechanics often need this knowledge to figure out what is wrong and how to fix it. Courses that develop writing, communication, and management skills are important for mechanics who want to move into senior positions.