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Looking for a job with upward mobility? Aviation maintenance jobs are about to 'take off'

Laurel Andrews

Aviation career-seekers: Love engineering and airplanes? Good news just flew in. In the next 20 years, demand for aviation mechanics will soar across the globe, and Alaska is poised to bank-in on the trend.

The global airline industry will need 34,000 new airplanes by 2031 -- that’s double the number in operation right now – according to a report published by the Boeing Co. in 2012. And many people will be needed to build those planes.

"Aviation maintenance technicians are in demand worldwide," Reggie Baker, executive director of the Aviation Institute of Maintenance (AIM) in Duluth, Minn., recently told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The Boeing Co. report estimates that commercial airlines alone will need more than 600,000 new aircraft maintenance technicians in the next 20 years in order to maintain the fleet.

"That’s just the commercial side of the industry and doesn’t include regional carriers, charters, the military and other aviation needs,” Baker said.

Alaskans looking to capitalize on the growing need for maintenance technicians have a handy resource available; the University of Alaska Anchorage has one of the top aviation technology schools in the U.S.

UAA's aviation maintenance program is centered around airplane mechanics. Many students who want to pursue an engineering degree will gravitate toward this program, academic advisor Carolyn Sanborn said. It is strictly regulated by the FAA, with non-negotiable attendance requirements; a no-brainer, perhaps, as the FAA wants its mechanics to be well prepared to repair the nation’s airplanes.

Sanborn also says that the Maintenance program is "nationally recognized.”

We've hung out over at the UAA aviation center; it's just a few hangars down from Dispatch world headquarters. Read more about the Aviation Technology program or more from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.