New High School Aviation Structural Technician Program Lands at CV Tech

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Aviation Maintenance has expanded at CV Tech with a new high school program focused on aircraft structure. Pictured is Garen Castleberry, a Mustang High School junior, who is enrolled in the school’s afternoon Aviation Structural Technician program.

A new class has taken flight at Canadian Valley Technology Center.

Aviation Structural Technician is for high school juniors and senior interested in the aerospace maintenance industry. The program was added this fall to help ease the transition from high school to the school’s adult Aviation Maintenance program.

Instructor Alan Anderson formerly worked as a tactical aircraft maintenance technician primarily on F-16s and F-15s. After a two-decade stint in the U.S. Air Force, he was a classroom instructor of aircraft maintenance programs at both Metro Tech and Gordon Cooper Technology Center.

Anderson, 48, of Tuttle, said high school juniors and seniors enrolled in the new program are focusing specifically on the structure of aircraft.

“The first year will be a lesson in sheet metal aircraft structures, and the second year will be focused on composite structured aircraft,” he said.

Graduates of the high school program will receive certification as Aviation Structural Technicians, said CV Tech Career Counselor Kristi Stephens.

The class will also result in seamless transition into the adult program, which prepares students to become Airframe and Powerplant (or A&P) maintenance technicians upon passage of the required federal licensure exam. The new program will lessen students’ time spent in the adult A&P program by nearly one year, she said.

Aviation Maintenance was among the very first programs at CV Tech when the school opened in 1970 at the El Reno Campus.

Starting pay for aircraft mechanics is between $20 and $25 per hour at Tinker Air Force Base, for instance, Stephens said. Other graduates have gone to work at AAR Corp. in Oklahoma City and other aircraft service companies.

A&P mechanics have a national median wage (half earn more and half less) of $31.52 or $65,550, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians repair and perform scheduled maintenance on aircraft. Industry growth is projected to be 11 percent faster than other jobs, BLS data suggests, with more than 17,000 additional jobs expected to be added through 2030.

This program is not to be confused with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) curriculum called “You Can Fly,” Stephens said. That program is focused instead on future pilots and drone flying for grades nine through twelve. Mustang High School is among more than 50 public school districts statewide who will “pilot” AOPA curriculum this fall.

Aviation trails only energy among the top industries statewide with more than 74,000 aerospace workers and a combined payroll of $3.6 billion, according to information supplied by the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission.

For more information on Aviation Maintenance or any of CV Tech’s full-time programs or short-term courses, visit, or call (405) 262-2629. High school enrollment is currently underway for the 2022-23 school year.

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