Aviation Programs

Aviation Maintenance Technology

Be a part of the exciting field of aviation! Students of our Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certified program can look forward to: excellent pay, unique travel privileges, attractive fringe benefits, and the ability to work anywhere in the world.

As a graduate of our 20-month Aviation Maintenance program, you will be a certified A&P (Airframe & Powerplant) Mechanic. You will be eligible to test for your FAA Airframe certification at the end of your first year and Powerplant certification at the end of your second year.

As a student of Aviation Maintenance, you will study a wide variety of subjects; from physics and aerodynamics, welding, aircraft drawings, and piston and turbine engines, to aircraft structures and their systems. Students have the option to obtain the Associate of Applied Science degree by successfully completing the required courses.

Please contact us for more information on this program.

According to our latest Placement Report, graduates of our AVM program are earning an average wage of $23.97 per hour, just six months after graduation!

FAA Diamond AwardThe Lake Area Technical College Aviation Department has received the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Certificate of Excellence Diamond Award for five consecutive years. This incentive program is meant to encourage aviation maintenance employees and employers to participate aggressively in available maintenance training. The Diamond Award is the highest award granted by the FAA for aviation maintenance technicians.

Award of ExcellenceLake Area Technical College’s Aviation Program has been honored by the South Dakota Division of Workforce and Career Preparation. The program received the South Dakota Director’s Award for Innovation and Excellence in 1999 and the South Dakota State Exemplary Program Award – T and I Division 2002. In October 2013, Aviation Maintenance Technology Department Supervisor Greg Klein received the prestigious SD Technician of the Year by the FAA. Read more here.

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Professional Fixed Wing Pilot

Lake Area Technical College’s new 18-month Professional Fixed Wing Pilot Associate of Applied Science degree is designed for students interested in a career in the professional pilot industry. The program will prepare individuals to apply technical knowledge and skills to the field of aviation relative to employment as a professional fixed-wing pilot. Students will be trained in the areas of: aerodynamics, private pilot simulation, private pilot flight training, private pilot ground school, aviation safety, federal air regulations, instrument rating ground/simulation/flight, commercial pilot ground/flight training, instrument instructor ground/flight training, airspace systems, airspace operations, and flight instructor ground/flight training.  Professional pilots often own and manage their own business however, other career possibilities include employment in the following areas: aerial survey, aerial photography, corporate aviation, cargo, air ambulance, aerial application, and with airlines.

The Professional Fixed Wing Pilot program will include a combination of classroom instruction, simulation lab experiences, and flight training. The program will also utilize the Watertown Regional Airport and Lake Area Technical College training facilities for flight training.

How does our program prepare students for a pilot career? We instill the three golden rules of piloting: aviate, navigate, and communicate – in that order.

Pilots learn this concept from the beginning of their training and take it with them for the duration of their career.  The uniqueness of Lake Area Technical College’s pilot training program is how we teach the first of these three, AVIATE, using simple aircraft with widely-varying flight characteristics that will make our pilots more skilled and ultimately safer, giving you an edge by attracting employers to your resume.

How does this happen?  From the very beginning of the first semester students will be immersed in a training experience in aircraft that include simple, high-wing, tailwheel airplanes and motorgliders.  These aircraft demand the use of the rudder pedals more than other programs using more conventional aircraft.  Equally important, the use of gliders teaches elements of decision-making, aircraft control, and “reading the environment” that provide priceless pilot training experiences.  All this happens in the first semester!  And then it’s off to the second semester… – NAVIGATE(ing) – COMMUNICATE(ing).

The Professional Fixed-Wing Pilot program works closely with an industry advisory board composed of representatives from the aviation industry and potential employers.

*Please note, as the program is new some information is subject to change.

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Take a virtual tour of the Aviation Annex