In my article Credit Due II, I promised to do some research on getting college credits for those mechanics who did not qualify for the American Council on Education (ACE) recommended 67 college credits because they earned their A&P prior to the ACE mandated August 1989 cut-off date. In the article I asked for input either from students or colleges and universities themselves. In response to my plea for help, I received 22 e-mail messages. Some of the e-mail had a lot of information and some just had the name of the school. All together it amounted to a mess of information that needed an expert to make sense out of it. So I got one. The expert is my wife, Marie. Who better? After all she put me and my two boys through college, then went back to college herself and graduated top of her class. At her graduation exercise I asked her if she was so smart why did she decide to marry a guy like me? She smiled and said something about a weak moment. I wisely decided not to push the issue.
Meeting the criteria
Because of AMT restraints on the number of words in each of my articles, the colleges listed below had to fit a certain criteria. They are: (1) fully accredited; (2) offer distance learning; and (3) offer both associate's and bachelor's degrees. Marie strongly recommends that you check out your own local colleges and universities. Of the other colleges that Marie interviewed, several matched or exceeded the credits of the colleges listed in this article at a lower cost per credit hour. However, they did not make the list because they did not offer distance learning or just offered an associate's degree or advertised on the back of a match book cover.
Why distance learning? There are advantages to distance-learning schools including no classroom attendance. These schools give credit for lifetime experience such as A&P license and readily accept DANTES, CLEP, and some allow you to challenge courses they offer. You can study for a particular subject test while taking another course. So it is possible to take a subject test every couple of months in addition to finishing a course every 12 to 15 weeks.
The main disadvantage is the expense. These distance learning colleges generally are more expensive than local colleges. However, if you utilize the testing opportunities to obtain college credit in conjunction with taking courses, you could get a degree a lot sooner and it would help to defray the cost as opposed to going to a local college and paying hidden costs like parking or a student activity fee.
Another minor disadvantage is that some distance learning colleges require that you take one to two exams per course which means you have to make arrangements with a proctor at your local library or if you are in the military, you can take the test at one of their facilities. In either case you'll have to spend a little extra time scheduling the exam and getting the college's approval on the proctor you will use.
If you are considering an associate's degree, contact the Part 147 school you attended a million years ago to see if it has an arrangement with an affiliated college that offers distance learning. As a former graduate, you may be offered a generous amount of credit hours. About one-third of the Part 147 schools have education agreements with local colleges and universities.
Just a starting point
Before you read any further there is something I must say. I work for the FAA. So I have to formally state that the FAA as a federal agency cannot give formal or tacit approval or even recommend any of these schools listed below or for that matter any other school. This article is my good faith attempt to give older A&Ps baseline information of what today's college costs are and what credits are available. It is a starting point. A place to move you out of your comfortable niche and reach for a higher goal. My expert assures me that a prospective student will have to spend at least 20 hours researching colleges to find one that will meet their needs. Going after a degree will not be easy, but second chances never are.
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.
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