Shorter program for AME students

5/15/2009 2:25:45 PM

College of the North Atlantic (CNA) has received the final documentation from Transport Canada approving and accrediting the new Aircraft Maintenance Engineering (AME) Technician program and the revised Aircraft Structural Repair (ASR) program.

Frank Slaney, coordinator of aviation programs at Gander campus, says the revision to the Aircraft Maintenance Engineering (AME) program has eliminated the First Year Engineering Technology which shortens the program by two semesters.

“Even though we have shortened the Aircraft Maintenance Engineering program it will have the same Transport Canada approval and accreditation as the previous Aircraft Maintenance Engineering program,” says Slaney.

The shortened program will be very beneficial to the students in a number of ways as they won’t have to pay for books, tuition, and boarding costs for that period, and can work an extra year making money rather that going further in debt. This could mean an extra $40-50,000 in student’s pockets.

“The program revision has been a very long process that began in March 2006,” continues Slaney.

“After months of hard work and consultation with AME faculty, previous AME students, AME Advisory Committee, and industry experts, a proposal was submitted to the college review board for approval. Once approved by the college review board the AME instructors had to revamp every course, cross reference each objective from the Transport Canada curriculum to the CNA curriculum and submit it to Transport Canada for review and approval.”

He says the revision to the ASR program was to align course objectives and put them into common courses so students can receive credit for a course that they had already completed.

“This means that a student will receive an exemption of 460 hours once they graduate from either program if they wanted to return to college and complete the other program. There is no change in the duration, approval, or the accreditation time for the revised ASR program. Transport Canada audited both our programs in March of this year and as of May 6, we received our approval and accreditation for both programs.”

The first group of students from the revised AME and ASR programs will graduate in June 2009 and will meet all of the same requirements as the previously accredited programs.

“The AME faculty and everyone else involved must be recognized for their hard work and dedication to this process. Together we have made a huge accomplishment and are now looking forward to moving upward and onward from here. Ultimately the students will be the greatest benefactors.”

“I think this accreditation is fantastic,” says Bob Dwyer, Gander campus administrator. “It’s the way we should have gone years ago. The program didn’t really fit very well in technology stream. Switching to the Industrial Trades stream allowed us to reduce the academic component.”

Dwyer says this program is unique because it combines two programs – maintenance and avionics – something other colleges are offering as two separate two-year programs.

“Within the AME program, it contains two different trades. Maintenance of the aircraft as a whole is one trade and as well we have added the avionics trade, something which all other colleges in Canada treat as two separate programs.”
In addition, Dwyer points out that if students stay for an extra semester, they can walk away with an additional diploma for ASR.

“Taking that even one step further, we have a transfer agreement with the Institute of Technology in Carlow, Ireland. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed recently and under this, graduates from our AME program can be granted credit for the first two years of a three-year Bachelor’s degree in Aircraft Systems Engineering.”

Graduates from CNA’s AME program currently qualify to receive credit towards their Transport Canada Aircraft Maintenance Engineer’s licence. Under the MOU, those who choose to continue on to Ireland will also qualify to receive credit towards their European Aircraft Maintenance licence, qualifying them to work in any country belonging to the European Union.

“So now, in addition to offering students a nationally accredited program and the option of receiving a second diploma with just one extra semester, graduates of our program can receive a degree in just two semesters. When you factor in the costs of training in this manner, what a fantastic bargain it is.”

Dwyer says there is currently no wait list for the AME program.

“Some people think there is a huge wait list. If people applied now they would probably be in for the September start. The flipside is that we can’t graduate enough people to fill the demand. Even in today’s economy, we don’t graduate enough people to fill that demand,” Dwyer continues.

“The salary varies widely based on the company and the area of country that you find work in. In major centres the salaries are high. In Newfoundland for example you might start off at $30-40,000 a year but in Toronto the starting salary is around $45,000. After completing the apprenticeship, an established person in this career should be making between $80-90,000 a year.”

According to Dwyer, they are pleased with the accreditation of the AME and ASR programs. However, he points out that it wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work from the amazing staff at CNA.

“It has been a multi-year project to get to this stage and has required a great effort by many people within the college, however I would like to single out Frank Slaney, the coordinator of aircraft programs, and the entire faculty involved with these programs for recognition. They have truly blazed a new trail in the training of AME graduates, one that positions us at the very front of our field.”

For more information about the AME and ASR programs, visit the college’s website at


For more information please contact:
Glenda McCarthy
Public Relations Assistant
College of the North Atlantic
Stephenville, NL
(709) 643-6409