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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Aviation Maintenance Tech grads land jobs with big names in aviation industry

March 15, 2017

Aviation Maintenance Technology grads are landing jobs with big name companies“I don’t think I’m going to have a single problem with employment,” says Norm McCraine, who will graduate from Fresno’s Aviation Maintenance Technology (AMT) program in April. “I figure a month and a half out of training, I will be working.”

A lot of his confidence comes from the fact that Aviation Maintenance Technology program graduates are prepared to test for and can earn their Airframe and PowerPlant (A&P) license, which boosts their desirability to employers in the aviation field.

“It sure helps,” says Norm, who enrolled in the program after more than 22 years in the military. “Pretty much every job that I was looking at for people getting out of the military required an A&P license. So, one way or the other I was going to have to get it.”

Aviation Maintenance Technology last-term students (AKA recent graduates) must pass three written exams and one oral exam, along with a practical test to earn their A&P license.

2016 Aviation Maintenance Technology grads have gone to work for some of the biggest names in the aviation industry, including:

  • SkyWest Airlines
  • Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air
  • Envoy Air/American Airlines
  • The Spaceship Company
  • Northrop Grumman
  • General Atomics
  • Silver Air
  • STS
  • Grand Canyon Helicopters
  • Siller Helicopters
  • Scaled Composites

“This last year has been an exciting one in matching aviation graduates with employers,” says Sue Montgomery, Director of Research and Development.

“We have a great group of employers,” says Sue. “I invite the main companies to our campus several times a year to promote their business to our students and do on-campus job interviews.”

“A national recruiter came down and told me to wait until the last couple of weeks of the program before applying,” says Norm. “I have all of the qualifications they want. It is literally the same job I had when I was in the Navy, except now I have my A&P license. When I retired (from the military), I was making about $55,000. per year and now I’ll be starting at $90,000. per year because of an A&P license.” [Salaries for A&P licensed technicians vary by company, skill level, region, etc.]

Sue conducts job search training for Aviation Maintenance Technology students 3 weeks prior to completion of their program. “I give them information on how to apply for jobs and how to interview,” she says. “I tell them to just apply for jobs they are really interested in accepting.”

“In the Navy, I was an Avionics Technician, responsible for communication, navigation and radar system,” says Norm. “Now I know the entire aircraft. I used to tell the guys who worked for me to get their A&P license; now I’m actually backing that up for myself.”

“The future of employment opportunities looks exceptional for our upcoming graduates,” says Sue, who has several job openings ready to be met by the next graduating class.

Norm is eager to be among them. “I’m one of those people; I don’t know how to quit,” he says. “I’ve never been unemployed and don’t expect to start now.”

Sue takes a lot of pride in the accomplishments of Aviation Maintenance Technology graduates and shares in their excitement at starting a new career in aviation. “Most of my students call me and thank me when they get hired, and tell me they couldn’t have done it without me,” she says.

Sue feels she is just living up to the standards SJVC instills in all staff and faculty who are committed to student success and the satisfaction of valued employers.


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