Tulsa Tech Aviation Instructors Pursue Advanced Degrees

Tulsa Tech provides state-of-the-art Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) training in airframe and powerplant programs for systems operations, landing gear maintenance, electrical troubleshooting, and turbine engine operation. Students benefit not only from industry-driven, up-to-date equipment and aircraft for their career training, but also from instructors who have years of valuable aviation industry experience.

Angela Morris, an Instructional Coordinator who works with university and college partnerships, says thanks to a new agreement with Eastern New Mexico University – Roswell, both faculty and students who hold a current FAA Airframe and Powerplant license (A&P), will be able to get a head start on earning either an Associate or Bachelor degree in Aviation Science.

“Eastern New Mexico University offers up to 59 hours of college credit toward a degree for individuals who have earned their FAA airframe and powerplant license,” Morris said. “And all of the courses are available online.”

In addition to their aviation credentials, students may transfer up to a maximum of 64 total credit hours into the Bachelor of Applied Arts and Science degree program at ENMUR, with a major in Aviation Science.

Since students may go straight to work after receiving their A&P License, this may not be the path for everyone, however it does provide an option for those individuals who want to move into supervisory roles in the future.

“Eastern New Mexico University is a fully-accredited university,” Morris said. “And students who enroll in at least six hours per semester qualify for in-state tuition.”

Bryan Abbott, an Aviation Maintenance Technology instructor, is utilizing this unique partnership to resume his goal of earning a bachelor’s degree.

“I started at Northeastern State University to become a teacher,” Abbott said. “But shortly afterward, I decided I wanted to work a little more hands-on, so I got my A&P license, along with my private pilot license, and began working in aviation for several years. I’ve always wanted to return to school, and finish my bachelor’s degree, and this is a great opportunity for me to achieve that goal.”

Abbott began to research several local colleges, but none of the schools offered advanced degrees in aviation, or at least not on the maintenance side of the industry.

“I feel like an advanced degree in aviation will certainly make me more knowledgeable, and therefore, a better qualified instructor for my students,” Abbott said. “I enjoy teaching, and pursuing a bachelor’s degree in aviation science is not only my personal goal, but a goal that aligns with the mission of being the best instructor I can be at Tulsa Tech.”

The proud husband and father of four spent five years working in Indonesia managing a helicopter flight program, and believes the most rewarding part of being an instructor is having such an impact on his students’ lives.

“To be able to invest in those individuals is always a good feeling,” Abbott said. “Regardless of whether that happens to be a younger student, just beginning a new career, or perhaps an older student, who wishes to explore a new path.”

Brian Vandiver, an Aviation Maintenance Technology instructor with over a decade of industry experience, is also taking advantage of this unique agreement to earn his degree.

“Continuing my education has always been a personal goal for me,” Vandiver said. “But once I began working in the industry, I never really had the right incentive, or really thought I had the time. This type of course allows me to continue to teach, and also be a student at the same time.”

The former inspector for Allegiant Airlines feels that the program will not only provide him with a chance to achieve his personal goals, but also sends a powerful message to his own students.

“I feel strongly that continuing my education sends a powerful message to my students,” Vandiver said. “You should never stop learning, and especially if you are given an opportunity to improve your education, I believe it is never too late to reach for a new goal.”

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