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Avionics Keeps Pace at WATC by Meeting Needs

by amcfayden on August 7, 2012

Kent Irick, Dean of Aviation Programs at Wichita Area Technical College, was featured in this month’s issue of Avionics News, a monthly publication of the Aircraft Electronics Association.  This month’s spotlight was on education and it is no surprise that WATC was highlighted.  The Avionics Technology program, taught by instructor Chuck Cooper, develops technical and professional knowledge and skills required for job acquisition, by emphasizing a combination of aircraft and avionics theory and practical application necessary for successful employment. Students are able to earn an Associate of Applied Science degree, a Technical Certificate, or a Certificate of Completion in Avionics Technology at the state-of-the-art National Center for Aviation Training.

Irick discusses some of the challenges in keeping up with the rapidly advancing technological field of Avionics while also pointing out some of the ways WATC has succeeded in keeping their students up-to-date. Students are trained in what the aviation industry needs, so that they are able to be employed right after completing their program.

“Education is a business, according to Kent Irick, and “at the dean level, keeping up is, perhaps, the greatest challenge in running an avionics program.” As dean of aviation programs at the Wichita Area Technical College, he should know. “Avionics equipment is so expensive, and the technology changes so fast, it’s difficult for any school, even one as new as ours, to keep up with the industry,” he said.

In 2010, WATC consolidated three campuses of aviation education at the 224,000-square-foot National Center for Aviation Training, purpose built at Jabara Airport. “We’re a Part 147 school, so we do it all,” Irick said, and the curriculum meets the unique needs of Wichita’s aviation employers. Even in the heart of GA airframe OEMs, ripe with partnership and donation opportunities, “it’s difficult to have the latest and greatest, but you don’t have to have all the bells and whistles to get the core skill sets and foundational knowledge.”

Perhaps more important is the test equipment. Instead of an oscilloscope with a meter on it, students have fully equipped workstations connected to WATC’s fully integrated computer system. Time matters, too. Students earn their certification in roughly half the time, because they attend classes daily rather than two or three times a week. Because most avionics students have day jobs, classes run from 4:30 to 10 p.m., Irick said, but the program adds daytime classes this school year. “

Click here to read more from the 2012 August issue of Avionics News.

Contact Janet Weber at 316.677.1612 to find out more about how you can earn your Avionics certification in half the time.

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