TSTC offers sky-high career choice

By Amanda Sotelo, TSTC Staff

With the demand for aircraft mechanics and technicians increasing and expected to grow, and with Texas employing the highest number of aircraft mechanics in the country, Texas State Technical College is diligently working to fill the skills gap with its Aircraft Airframe Technology program.

TSTC is one of only a dozen colleges in Texas certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FFA) to train aviation maintenance technicians.

TSTC Aviation Maintenance Airframe lead instructor Tom Cross said 100 percent of the graduates from the program obtain employment upon passing the FAA exam.

Cross said graduates from the program can expect to earn, on average, a starting salary of $45,000 a year, in an industry that is expected to have more than 7,500 available jobs in 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Cross explains more about the training and skills acquired in Aircraft Airframe Technology.

What is the length of the program?

The Aircraft Airframe Technology program is four semesters, or 12 months.

What can a student expect when they graduate?

A student in the program can graduate with either a level 2 certificate or associate degree, and upon successfully completing the program will be eligible to  take the FAA certification exam.

What skills do you learn in Airframe Aircraft Technology?

Students in Aircraft Airframe Technology will learn the most basic to advanced skills needed to work on a variety of aircrafts such as electrical and landing gear systems; hydraulic, pneumatic and fuel systems; aircraft welding; sheet metal fabrication; wood fabric and finishes; aircraft composite repair and airframe inspection.

What types of technologies are used to learn these skills?

Aircraft airframe students have access to two aircraft hangars which include a variety of aircraft frames for hands-on practice, including industry-standard tools and equipment. Classrooms and labs are also equipped for computer-based training.

How do these skills prepare a student for the workforce?

Aircraft Airframe Technology prepares students for the FAA certification, which is required to work on aircrafts in the United States and also for entry-level airframe positions.

What kind of positions can a graduate from this program obtain?

Graduates from the program have been hired as aircraft mechanics and service technicians, and as aircraft structure, surfaces, rigging and systems assemblers for local companies such as Sun Valley Aviation, McCreery Aviation and Hunt Pan Am Aviation, as well as for companies across the state: Boyett Aviation, L3 Communications and Pacific Architects and Engineer.