The Dalles, Oregon - Columbia Gorge Community College (CGCC) proudly announces the addition of a second cohort to the Aviation Maintenance Technology (AMT) program. Tyson Aldrich will join lead instructor Bryan Despain in providing high-quality instruction for an additional 16 students per year. The new cohort is now open for registration for fall 2023. Classes start September 25th.  

Despain said the second cohort will help fill a growing need in the industry. “CGCC has stepped forward to provide an answer to a major industry shortfall looming over the horizon,” he said. “The current generation of aviation maintenance technology professionals are reaching the end of their careers. This massive retirement has the industry searching for their replacements, offering exceptional compensation and benefit packages, often with significant sign-on bonuses. In as little as 18 months an individual can be prepared to take the FAA exams for their Airframe and Powerplant Technician license. Successfully passing the exam can launch a career into this exciting industry full of adventure and growth. Starting at an average of $30/hour and growing to over $100K inside of the first 8 years they'll have the opportunity to see the world and work from just about anywhere they wish.”

In addition to starting a second cohort, CGCC is moving the program’s hands-on workspace to the Columbia Gorge Regional Airport (KDLS) in Dallesport. This was made possible by passage of Oregon Senate Bill 482 enabling instruction to take place in an airport hangar visible from campus but located in the state of Washington.

According to Despain, this move “will position CGCC as the most viable Aviation Maintenance Technology School in a region stretching from the Cascade Mountains to the Snake River, and from the Columbia Basin to the deserts of Nevada. We have a great need to prepare students for careers in this industry  without a ridiculous price tag for education.At CGCC students can be job-ready in less than 2 years.” 

The program initially launched in fall 2022 following official recognition by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). CGCC collaborated with industry partners for four years of intensive research and development to create the program, and closely cooperated with the FAA to validate the job demand for aviation technicians and design a curriculum that meets the rigorous requirements necessary for certification.

Upon completion of the program, students will be fully prepared to undertake their FAA licensing test as aviation maintenance technicians, granting them the authority to maintain fixed-wing aircraft, including jets, prop planes, and helicopters, throughout the Pacific Northwest or anywhere in the United States.

The curriculum equips students with essential skills with an emphasis on hands-on experience, preparing them for the real-world challenges and opportunities of the aviation maintenance field.

Prospective students and community members are encouraged to join the Aviation Maintenance Technology team for a site visit and tour on Monday, August 21st at the Aviation Maintenance Technology Open House 4:00-5:00 pm at 3600 Crates Way, The Dalles. Our new President, Dr. Kenneth Lawson, will also be in attendance. Register for the event here.

For additional information or to schedule an advising appointment, please visit the webpage.