Many people are unaware of the programs on Amarillo College’s East Campus. The technical school provides students with 60 percent hands-on experience with other hours in a classroom setting.
It makes the school unique and provides experience for students in programs such as the aerospace program.
The program can take a student with zero knowledge and mold them to become an entry-level airplane worker, inspector or mechanic.
In the aerospace program, the students go through three basic levels of learning: general, air frame and power frame.
“Students learn the engine even in the general level,” said Scott Latino, aerospace and aviation manager, coordinator and instructor. “They learn to inspect and repair bolts on an engine as well as checking safety wiring.”
The hands-on experience makes the students capable of entering the work force with the skill set needed to repair and maintain some of the most sophisticated aircraft in the air.
The students complete a designated number of hours required for each program. Make-up hours are completed when a student misses a class, Latino said. He said failure is not an option. The only way a student would not pass is if the student stopped attending classes completely.
Each class includes project after project and keeps students busy. Students go through a system a day, starting with basic materials and processes that become more and more complex.
Students worried about materials for the class won’t face additional stress over books; the textbooks used generally are free online because most are the manuals for each system.
Students also are required to buy a list of tools, but they can buy them as they’re able.
“You don’t have to buy the $600 worth of tools all at once,” said Keevan Walker, an airframe and PowerPoint certificate major.
The program is a leg of the FAA and is recognized as an air agency. Many doors open for students once they are certified, Latino said, allowing students to move worldwide if they desire.
Many companies will cover the cost of exams, travel and moving expenses. The need for the right person with the right experience is high; someone has to have the right papers to be able to check a plane before it’s safe to fly; otherwise, lives would be at risk.
If everything else fails after going through the program, Latino said, the student can start his or her own business. “The No. 1 thing to know is that we are a family,” he said. “We get the job done with extra time for questions, and we are half to a fourth of the cost of any technical school.”
Having a mechanical mind and a positive attitude is the key to knowing whether it is the right school. Latino said students interested in aviation or aerospace should check out the course list to see if the programs are the right fit.
Trevor Brown, a former aerospace student, said the instructors know their stuff and will not just hand you things and expect you to know it. He said they will teach you and explain.
“You might want to brush up on math and science,” Walker added.
Latino advises anyone who wants to join the program to contact him at email@example.com or to visit him at 103 ACC on the East Campus.