College Degrees: What's available and affordable for mechanics

This article will introduce you to a nationally recognized university that will help A&P mechanics earn either a two-year or four-year college degree.


This article will introduce you to a nationally recognized university that will help A&P mechanics earn either a two-year or four-year college degree. Both the two- and four-year degree programs are fully accredited degrees, that can be earned by using distance learning via the Internet. Also the cost for each degree is well within the average mechanic's budget. Let's get started!

Two-year degree program:

In the April/May 2003 issue of AMT magazine I was privileged to let the aviation maintenance community know about a well-kept secret that was hidden in a small town of 50,000 folks in New Mexico.

The article was titled "What if" and the town is Roswell. Yep! That's the same name that will forever be associated with a supposed flying saucer crash north of the town back in 1947, much to the annoyance of the town's fathers.

Sorry, my little secret in the article two years ago was not about dead aliens in black body bags or blowing the whistle on a government UFO cover-up. The article was all about the Roswell campus of Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU-R) that grants A&P mechanics, 72 college credits toward an 84-credit associate's degree in applied science degree in aviation maintenance technology.

So, if you do the math it will only take another 12 credits to earn the degree; which, back then and still true today, is the highest number of credits an institution of higher learning grants for the A&P certificate. So to earn the degree, you need only to complete four, three-credit-hour courses. The courses are:

Univ 101: Freshman seminar
Eng 102: English composition
Comm 101: Interpersonal Communications
Math 107: Intermediate Algebra

Before your interest in a college degree fades to black because of the algebra requirement, let me whet your appetite with a few other neat things about this university:

  • ENMU-R runs the only Part 147 aviation maintenance technician school in the state. It also teaches a Cessna approved composite course, so ENMU-R is an aviation focus school.

  • All the courses are taken via the Internet so all the class work is done at home.

  • The entire degree program not including books will cost you $478.80. That is not a misprint. For under $500 plus books you can earn a degree in less than a year.

  • I went to Roswell on my own time and my own dime to check the campus out myself because I would never recommend anything to another mechanic if I did not validate it first.

  • If you have completed other college-level courses at other colleges or in the military and did not get a degree you may only have to take two or three courses instead of four depending on the weight of your transcripts.

  • ENMU-R is a nationally accredited university and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Universities. Its credits and degrees are accepted and recognized everywhere.

Now, let's discuss the algebra course. If you are anything like me I hated high school algebra. I only found out later in life that half of my problem with algebra was the fact that we mechanics are visually based people. We must "see" a problem before we can understand it and fix it. Unfortunately, I never could "see a negative number," much less work with them. The other half of the problem with algebra was a severe lack of concentration on my part due to the raging hormones of my teenage years. I bet some of you had similar problems back in high school too.

However, if you been out of school as many years as it takes to earn an A&P, started a career and a family, and notice your hair around the edges turning gray, it is a given that your hormones are under control, or at least they are so heavily mortgaged that they are no longer a factor. So now you are able to focus on your career goals.

I know that this can be done because as of December 2004, 46 A&P mechanics have earned their associate's degree in applied science degree in aviation maintenance technology. The latest stats from the university list A&P students as making up 49 percent of ENMU-R online classes. Another 26 mechanics are already enrolled in the fall semester classes. By the end of 2005, approximately 75 mechanics will have earned their degree.

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