Hands-On Training and The Student Experience

The saying “one size fits all” does not apply to instruction and training methods. Students at National Aviation Academy come from all walks of life and backgrounds. Understanding that each person who attends our programs learns differently is essential in the student experience. Education and hands-on training are the most important pieces of an aviation maintenance technician’s journey into the career field!

Without proper training, aircraft would not be maintained and repaired correctly, leading to safety issues and a halt to the aviation industry.

Our curriculum is taught through three primary modes:

  • Classroom instruction accompanied by text and workbook review
  • Team-oriented hands-on training projects in a laboratory setting which simulate on the job skills
  • Real-world experience working on aircraft at our hangar

What gives students the best opportunity to learn and retain information is a mixture of different learning methods.

How Students Learn

There is no one “perfect” way that students learn. Some benefit from more auditory instruction, like lectures, while others benefit from a more visual style, like reading and reciting texts.

The three most popular learning styles commonly practiced in classrooms are:

  • Visual learning, most often considered “book” learning, where students read, remember, and recite information.
  • Auditory learning, commonly observed in college courses, where an instructor gives a lecture on a subject, and the student listens and often requires note-taking.
  • Kinesthetic learning, which combines visual and auditory learning elements, is commonly known as hands-on training.

Once again, no one learning style is the “better” opportunity for students to learn. Every person learns and retains information differently.

Experiential Learning

At National Aviation Academy, students are instructed through a mixture of learning styles. Hands-on training, also known as experiential learning, allows students to become comfortable and familiar with practices they often find in the aviation industry.

Utilizing the auditory and visual learning found in lectures and accompanying text, students can put the concepts to actual use through projects and experiences in the hangar.

Additionally, the benefit of hands-on learning comes down to allowing students to self-correct any educational mistakes in the moment. For example, if a student is working on a sheet metal project, an instructor is readily available to help correct a mistake they may make while riveting. Essentially, experiential learning is all about learning moments that will give students the opportunity to learn from experience.

From Classroom to Career

In aviation maintenance, making mistakes can lead to catastrophe. After all, being an aircraft maintenance technician is all about keeping aircraft flying safely and passengers reaching their destinations appropriately. Students need to be able to take feedback and use that feedback (even as constructive criticism) to improve.

Hands-on learning gives students the opportunity to make mistakes in a safe environment, and learn from those mistakes in fixing or avoiding them so that a student is able to handle those challenges in the workplace altogether. Also, it prevents bad habits from forming, so that students won’t take those bad habits and perform them on the job.

Employers expect a certain level of professionalism and integrity, especially when working with aircraft that depend on proper maintenance and repairs for safety!

A Mix of Learning Opportunities

Taking the auditory and visual material from lectures, presentations, and textbooks and applying them to hands-on experiences is what separates National Aviation Academy from the rest. It’s not just bookwork.

Listening to an instructor drone on through a web camera in an online classroom doesn’t always suit the necessary real-world experience that aviation maintenance technician students deserve. If the extent of a student’s learning experience is looking at photographs of tools online instead of actually using and holding them, how can one expect students to be prepared in their careers?

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulates and oversees student requirements, including testing benchmarks like an oral, practical, and written exam. Oh, and that practical exam is all about solving a random problem with hands-on solutions.

To help students retain information and gear up for these FAA-mandated tests, National Aviation Academy offers what is known as “testing as you go.” Students are tested as they progress through coursework and hands-on projects to prove competency and understanding of the subject material. This way, they can show they fully grasp the content that will later make up the tests that the FAA mandates to earn aviation mechanic licenses.

Not only does testing as you go prepare students for those exams, but it allows them to retain information better. Above all, an employer will expect a newly hired aviation maintenance technician to know what they’re doing if they just came from school!

Tools of The Trade

In short, we at National Aviation Academy know that not one student is alike. Each has different goals, aspirations, and learning styles. Our job is to utilize our industry-veteran instructors in various ways to give students the best opportunity to learn. That means mixing up the curriculum with lectures, presentations, textbooks, and hands-on training through projects.

Preparing students for real-life scenarios is important. In addition, it’s equally important to ensure that students feel that the material they are being taught is accessible to them. Not every theory or concept is going to come easy. It’s crucial that instructors give students that opportunity to learn in various ways, and help them in any way possible.

Hands-on training is essential to National Aviation Academy. The success of students depends on how we teach the required curriculum as tools they are able to utilize in order to prepare them for the “real world.”

Interested in finding out more about our programs and how we can best prepare you for a hands-on education? Fill out the form below, and we will reach out to you!




Tampa Bay

6225 Ulmerton Rd.
Clearwater, FL 33760
Phone: 1-800-659-2080
Fax: 1-727-535-8727

Years Established

Month ACCELERATED Training Program

New England

130 Baker Ave. Ext.
Concord, MA 01742
Phone: 1-800-292-3228
Fax: 1-781-274-8490

Tampa Bay

6225 Ulmerton Rd.
Clearwater, FL 33760
Phone: 1-800-659-2080
Fax: 1-727-535-8727

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* According to Boeing’s Pilot & Technician Outlook 2019-2038
**According to ATEC-AMT.org
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