Kentucky’s Appalachia Aviation Maintenance Technician Training Project

Airplane on runway
Kentucky’s Appalachia Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) Training Project will provide those displaced by the downturn in the coal industry, as well as veterans and others seeking employment, in Kentucky’s ARC counties the opportunity to earn an Industry Recognized Certification as Aviation Maintenance Technicians. 
The FAA AMT Certifications will: 
  1. Train Kentucky’s workforce with a highly sought after skill that is relevant to our region’s economic industrial growth, most notably the region’s emerging aerospace industry cluster, along with other industries.
  2. Help fill the growing demand for aviation mechanics and other avionics skills to support air transport needs for the emerging aerospace industry cluster as well as other manufacturing clusters.
  3. Assist in the much-needed growth of Kentucky’s regional airports and show an increase in operations that will put these airports in line for FAA priority funding to upgrade infrastructure and extend runways, making the region even more attractive to potential industries seeking to locate, expand, or re-locate.
  4. Augment industrial recruitment efforts already taking place within Kentucky’s Appalachian counties by showing evidence that air transport for manufacturing inventory needs and administrative needs can be accommodated and that air transport growth is imminent.

Career options

Currently, regional airport directors report that aviation mechanics already on site are overbooked and are turning away airplane maintenance work that is going outside of the Appalachian region. Newly trained AMT’s would be qualified to work in regional airports.
According to the 2016 Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 128,570 Aircraft Mechanic and Service Technicians employed throughout the U.S. The average annual salary was $61,190 with an average hourly wage of $29.42 ( The job outlook for all fields of aircraft mechanics is expected to increase over the next decade at a rate of 11%.


Training Locations and Enrollment

Enrollment will begin as soon as the Federal Aviation Administration accepts the curriculum currently in development. EKU administration is hopeful that the first cohort of students will begin at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Airport in Hazard as soon as January 2020. Following the Hazard schools’ opening, EKU will seek approval from the FAA for each school separately. A timeline to bring the schools online will be available once curriculum is FAA approved.
All four schools have a goal to certify at least 86 mechanics by fall 2022. It is anticipated that enrollments will range from 12-32 students. Training will begin with classroom locations at EKU and KCTCS partner campuses. Following basic coursework requirements, students will receive hands-on work and training at partner airports. EKU continues to work with the FAA to bring the schools online in the following order.
  • Hazard Community & Technical College/Hazard-Perry County Regional Airport
  • Big Sandy Community & Technical College/Big Sandy Regional Airport
  • Eastern Kentucky University’s East Region Campus and Eastern Kentucky University’s South Region Campus/London-Corbin Airport
  • Eastern Kentucky University’s Richmond campus/Central Kentucky Regional Airport
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