The NextGen of A&Ps

For the new generation of aerospace industry technicians: commitment required, along with updated training strategies.


Todd Morgan, an RVC AMT faculty member, graduated from the RVC program, then went on to Southern Illinois University to earn a bachelor of science degree in its aviation program. He encourages his students to keep going after graduating from RVC because sometimes goals and opportunities change. “I can’t stress enough the need for higher education,” he says. “It just opens up so many possibilities that are not available with only an A&P license, when I first started my career in aviation with the Coast Guard I had no clue I would end up in the education field. Without a bachelor’s degree, I know I would not be in a career that I find so challenging and rewarding.” Graduates can also select private colleges and schools such as Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, which has a branch campus in Rockford offering both undergraduate and graduate courses.

Advisory committee

Every vocational program benefits from the members of its advisory committee, often made up of former students and potential employers. Committee members offer valuable insight about current trends in the industry, both regarding maintenance practices and what graduates will be facing as they enter the “real world.”

Scott Crane is a member of the RVC AMT advisory committee and is an aircraft maintenance manager for UPS Airlines. He says, “We find the graduates from Rock Valley College and other similar programs to possess excellent skills that prepare them for careers in aviation. These skills, in combination with some fleet specific training, certainly provide all the necessary tools to be successful. We cannot understate the importance of advanced degrees, a high level of professionalism, and a keen focus on personal and operational safety, which is under ever-increasing emphasis. Our current and future AMTs are asked to do many things — professionalism, safety, and advanced skills are considered ‘required tools’ in today’s industry.”

George Leddy is the director of technical services for Flightcheck LLC, an employer of entry-level aviation technicians. He says, “Flightcheck has been very pleased with the basic knowledge and skill levels of the aircraft technicians from Rock Valley. Our company specializes in line maintenance, which requires the ability to make timely decisions while working within technical and regulatory requirements to keep our customers’ aircraft moving. Rock Valley prepares their graduates well for this environment.”

The upcoming crop of aviation technicians may not have heard of Mr. Peabody or perhaps can’t start the day without their personal communication devices, but they are confident in their abilities, know where they want to go, and are working hard to get there. This next generation will see a lot of changes and new opportunities that we can’t even imagine now. AMT

Scott Fisher is a Rock Valley College AMT faculty member. He received his A&P training from Dakota Aero Tech in Fargo, ND.

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