Aims Community College is set to open a new Aircraft Maintenance Training Center along with the launch of an Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic (A&P) degree program in January 2026.
Aims Community College to Launch New Aircraft Maintenance Training Center and Degree Program
At its November meeting, the Aims Community College Board of Trustees approved creating the A&P degree program, along with an allotted $21.8 million to complete and purchase the new facility. The 37,000-square-foot facility will include classrooms, labs and hangars for students to work on aircraft.
Airframe and Powerplant Mechanics Academic Pathway
The new Aircraft Maintenance Training Center will be the home to a new program offered by Aims, a two-year associate degree program for airframe and powerplant mechanics. In addition to the degree, learners must pass Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) tests to begin work in the industry. The FAA offers separate certifications for bodywork (Airframe mechanics, or “A”) and engine work (Powerplant mechanics, or “P”). Still, employers prefer to hire mechanics who have both Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) ratings. The A&P ratings certify that aviation mechanics meet basic knowledge and ability standards. Aims is working on approval from the FAA to be a Part 147 FAA-approved aviation maintenance technician school.
There aren't many other opportunities like this in Colorado,” said Aims Director of Aviation Eric Himler.
“We're excited to offer not only new facilities and new equipment for the students but also a competitive two-year program for tuition fees.”
The mission of the Aims Aviation Department is to empower students to become successful aviation professionals. Currently, Aims offers programs in pilot flight training, unmanned UAS drone piloting and air traffic control. With the addition of an Aircraft Maintenance pathway, Aims will make all the main components within the aviation industry available. "All of those programs are complementary," Himler said. "I believe it sets Aims apart from almost any institution in the state, certainly in what we can offer students in the aviation industry."
This initiative provides unique learning and hands-on job training in leading-edge aviation technology innovation for years to come. This allows learners to explore emerging technologies and innovation, including design, creation, testing and more. An additional benefit is that the facility can support in-house maintenance for Aims’ existing aircraft fleet.
Positive Career Outlook for Aircraft Mechanics
There is a need for more aircraft mechanics. Boeing’s Pilot and Technician Outlook forecasts that the North American aviation industry, including airlines and repair stations, will need to hire 125,000 technicians between 2023 and 2042. There is a 31 percent job growth forecast in the next ten years.
“While everyone who travels can feel that there is a pilot shortage, the need for aircraft mechanics exceeds that. It's an opportunity for Aims to be part of the solution in creating aircraft mechanics that will help ease that shortage locally, statewide, and nationally,” Himler said.
Colorado is a hotbed for the aviation and aerospace industries. According to Colorado's Office of Economic Development and International Trade, Colorado has developed into the nation’s second-largest aerospace economy. With the state being home to Denver International Airport (ranked as the 3rd-busiest airport in the U.S. and the 3rd-busiest airport in the world for 2023), Raytheon, Ball Aerospace, Sierra Nevada, Lockheed Martin, and more, there is a growing demand for all aspects of the aviation industry. Earnings in this for aviation mechanics and technicians are high in Colorado. The national median salary for aircraft mechanics and service technicians is $65,765, compared to $78,158 in Colorado.
Pursue Aviation at Aims
Prospective students will be able to apply to the new airframe and powerplant mechanics degree program in mid-2025. To learn more about Aims Aviation programs, visit aims.co/aviation.
- Press Release
- General Public