Demand for aviation maintenance takes off

In the 20 years Cincinnati State’s aviation maintenance technology program has been at its Harrison campus, Program Chair Jeff Wright has rarely seen job prospects for graduates any better than today.

“We are regularly receiving calls from employers who have a dire need for grads of our programs,” said Wright.

Among the factors fueling the demand is local expansion of airfreight carriers including DHL and, most recently, Amazon Prime Air.

In mid-January, Amazon announced the acquisition of 210 acres in Northern Kentucky to be “part of the future CVG air hub.”

For these fast-paced shippers to keep their fleets of cargo planes running safely and on time, they need mechanics with exactly the skills acquired by graduates of Cincinnati State’s aviation maintenance program: the ability to service, repair, and overhaul aircraft engines, airframes and other systems, said Wright.

“And as drones are getting larger, mechanics will need FAA certification to work on those as well,” he said.

Program grads earn an Associate of Applied Science degree and are prepared to take the Federal Aviation Administration licensing tests for Airframe Mechanic and Powerplant Mechanic.

The program also offers shorter certificate options, including avionics, for incumbent workers and others with experience, including veterans, who may have experience but do not have an FAA mechanics license.

Companies including GE Aviation, which builds jet engines, also hire aviation maintenance graduates to work as technicians.

Workers in this field can expect starting wages of $25 to $30 per hour, according to labor market data, and with overtime can see incomes of up to $100,000 per year.

Meanwhile, Cincinnati State has received its second-largest gift ever to support the program, $860,000 for the Scott A. Knabe Aviation Scholarship Fund, from the Edna Alice Knabe Trust.

Students interested in enrolling in Cincinnati State’s Aviation Maintenance Program can get more information by calling the Cincinnati State West Harrison Campus at 513-569-4970, or by going online at The Harrison campus also offers training in welding.

Students interested in scholarships can apply through Thursday, Feb. 15, for next cycle of awards at: