Discover a career in aviation and aerospace
Home to aerospace pioneers such as Wiley Post and Clyde Cessna, Oklahoma has a rich legacy of aerospace innovation dating back more than a century. Today, Oklahoma continues to serve as a hub of aerospace innovation, as some of the world’s most successful aerospace companies choose to run major operations in the state. Aerospace companies and organizations are looking for qualified personnel in every sector of the industry, including aircraft maintenance, unmanned aerial systems and general aviation. These videos highlight the value of aviation and aerospace training and the rewarding careers it can lead to. Enjoy!
Education, defense and industry unite for AERO Oklahoma at the Capitol
A variety of stakeholders in Oklahoma's second largest industry -- aerospace -- assembled at the Capitol on March 22 for AERO Oklahoma, a day of advocacy and networking.
Expanding Access - Women In Aviation
Oklahoma's aviation industry is growing, and more skilled workers are needed to fill jobs. Instructors at Oklahoma's Tech Centers are finding new ways to expand access to women in their programs and to inform them of the stellar opportunities a career in aerospace can give them.
Oklahoma on the Mother Road of Air Force simulator training
Chris Egan is driven to inspire Oklahomans to pursue aerospace opportunities within our state. As a site manager for aerospace contractor CAE, he trains more than 40 pilots per year to fly United States Air Force AWACS reconnaissance aircraft. This state-of-the-art full-motion AWACS simulator training is exclusive to Oklahoma, making our state the Mother Road for pilots who are integral to America’s defense.
Women in Aviation
More women are joining the aviation and aerospace industry. They are astronauts, pilots, maintenance technicians, engineers, air traffic controllers and business owners. In this video series on Oklahoma’s aerospace industry, we interviewed several women who are working in the industry or pursuing a career in aerospace. Here are their stories.
From Homeless Teen to Aircraft Quality Assurance Specialist - Porsha Lippincott's Story
Porsha's life changed when a counselor helped her find housing and a CareerTech aerospace program she resonated with. Today, she's an accomplished Quality Assurance Specialist at Tinker Air Force Base. We caught up with her to hear the next chapter of her story.
Original road-to-success story from June 2016 - Homeless Aircraft Mechanic:
A helping hand and guidance gave Porsha Lippincott the assistance she needed to become successful.
Tulsa Technology Center: Training students for a career in aerospace
Tulsa Technology Center offers aerospace training in almost every sector of the industry, including drone maintenance and piloting, aviation generals, machine technician, aviation powerplant, aviation airframe and much more. “What’s not exciting about aviation,” said Sheryl Oxley, aviation programs coordinator for Tulsa Tech. “You’re taking a hunk of metal and throwing it in the air, and it flies. That’s awesome!”
Kratos: On the cutting edge of aerospace
Designed and built by Kratos, the XQ-58 Valkyrie is an unmanned combat aerial vehicle that serves as a wingman for fighter aircraft in combat. With CareerTech training, you can play a part in the development and deployment of this experimental technology. Kratos works closely with Francis Tuttle Technology Center and its aerospace graduates. “We’ve helped provide some training curriculum. The last class that graduated, we had three hires that we brought in,” said Jeff Dole, site director of Production Operations at Kratos in Oklahoma City. “We actually start them at a higher pay if they’re a graduate of Francis Tuttle.”
Opportunities abound in aircraft structures and heavy maintenance
Blakely Edds is a sheet metal mechanic at Tinker Air Force Base. She received her training form Mid-Del Technology Center in Midwest City, where she was trained by Aimee Harden, assistant director of instruction at Mid-Del. For Edds and Harden, CareerTech training has led them to rewarding careers in Oklahoma’s burgeoning aerospace industry. “I always wanted to teach. Aviation was the curriculum for me. I love everything about aircraft. It was an exciting opportunity to take two of my dreams and put them together into one position.”
Nordam: Making sure families fly safely
Tulsa-based Nordam manufactures, repairs and overhauls business jets and commercial aircraft from nose to tail. “If there’s a part on an airplane, we’re touching it,” said Nordam Supply Chain Manager Andrew Zinga. Nordam is one of many Oklahoma aerospace companies looking for skilled workers. CareerTech training in aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul is a great way to begin your journey to a rewarding career in aerospace.
StellarXplorers: Inspiring students to explore a career in aerospace
StellarXplorers is an Air Force Association program designed to inspire students to pursue education and careers in STEM fields that use space system engineering. Sam Doerflinger was the captain of Francis Tuttle Technology Center’s Purple Ducks StellarXplorers team in 2021, which placed second in the nation at the national StellarXplorers VII High School Space Challenge. “I can combine my love for planes and flight with my love for math and science into one profession – aerospace engineering. That was just a no-brainer for me.”
Mint Turbines, an aerospace heavyweight in rural Oklahoma
CareerTech training in aviation and aerospace could lead you to a successful career at a company such as Mint Turbines in Stroud, Oklahoma. Mint Turbines specializes in the overhaul and repair of helicopter and aircraft turbine engines. Many of the company’s employees are CareerTech graduates, said Mint Turbines Vice President and General Manager David Norton. “They come in ready to adapt what they’ve learned into what we do,” he said.
Discover your path to a rewarding career at Francis Tuttle
Why should students consider the aerospace training program at Francis Tuttle Technology Center in Oklahoma City? Since 2006, Francis Tuttle has produced more certified, trained professionals for Oklahoma aviation companies than any other program. “Within a matter to 10 to 15 weeks, they have the skill sets for entry-level placement at many of these maintenance, repair and overhaul companies that are working on aircraft,” said Nick Powell, aerospace program manager at Francis Tuttle.
Demand for aviation maintenance professionals is sky high
Much of American Airlines’ overall maintenance work is performed at its base maintenance facility in Tulsa. American continues to invest in its Tulsa facility and is looking for skilled maintenance professionals. “It’s easily the most rewarding and fun job I’ve ever had,” said Tyler Swinson, aviation maintenance technician at American. “There’s something new every day and there’s never a dull moment.”
Expansion leads to job growth at Tinker AFB
Tinker Air Force Base, home of the Air force Sustainment Center, makes central Oklahoma a hub for aerospace defense sustainment. With more than 45 mission partners and six operational wings, Tinker is strategic and tactical in creating combat power for the United States. Tinker is looking for qualified engineers and maintenance technicians to satisfy expected job growth created by expansion projects. CareerTech offers students a career path to these high-paying, critical jobs.
SW Tech: Training students for a career in aircraft maintenance
For students participating in the Aviation Maintenance Technology program at Southwest Technology Center in Altus, finding a job in the aerospace industry is a cinch. Most of them will go to work immediately upon completing the program, thanks to Southwest Tech’s partnership with Altus Air Force Base. “The job opportunities as an airframe power plant mechanic are really boundless,” said Joe Schmitt, power plant instructor at Southwest Tech. “You can go anywhere in the world.”
Interested in a career in aerospace? Start your journey with CareerTech
Austin Wheeler, airport manager at Tulsa Riverside Airport, said CareerTech training gave him an advantage in his pursuit of an aviation management degree from Oklahoma State University. “There are so many different career paths that can be had in aerospace that CareerTech helps prepare you for,” Wheeler said.
Civil Aerospace Medical Institute: A world class facility
The Civil Aerospace Medical Institute in Oklahoma City is the only institute of its kind in the world, with five divisions dedicated to enhancing aviation safety. See what they’re doing at CAMI. It may inspire you to pursue a career in aerospace. “I like having a job that’s meaningful,” said Chanda Sanders, personnel research psychologist at CAMI. “Knowing that I’m helping people fly safer, it means a lot to me.”
Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission: Keeping you flying
The Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission supports about 100 public airports, which contribute nearly $10. 6 billion to the Oklahoma economy each year. Many of those airports rely on the CareerTech system to find skilled mechanics. “Our airport system and the CareerTech system have a great partnership,” said OAC Director Grayson Ardies. “We have seven CareerTechs that have A&P programs that are focused on training tomorrow’s mechanics. They’re very involved in our airports.”
Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center: Touching all aspects of aviation
The Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City provides critical products and services to all aspects of the aviation industry through its Second Level Engineering group. Among other things, the group maintains and upgrades radar, navigational and lighting equipment. “One of the great avenues to get employees is through CareerTech,” said Center Director Michelle Coppedge. Many of the center’s employees, she said, “have come from CareerTech and been very successful. Some of them move into management and other functions.”
Oklahoma’s space industry on the verge of growth
Oklahoma is home to one of just 12 spaceports in the nation. Oklahoma Air & Spaceport, which has one of the nation’s longest and widest runways, is used for commercial space operation and aerospace flight testing, launches and recovery. For anyone interested in a career in aerospace, CareerTech “is a great place to start,” said Oklahoma Spaceport Executive Director Craig Smith.
TSI: Saving lives through aviation safety
Solving and preventing aviation accidents is the mission at the Transportation Safety Institute. A rewarding career in aviation safety awaits those with an interest in science, technology, engineering and math. “The most exciting part of the job is the end result – making sure this crash doesn’t happen again,” said TSI Director Troy Jackson.
Skydweller: On the edge of perpetual flight
Clay Pearce and Austin Saunders work at Skydweller Aero, a cutting-edge aerospace company based in Oklahoma City that is developing a new class of unmanned aircraft. With the right training, Saunders said, you can find a rewarding and exciting career in Oklahoma’s growing aerospace industry. “We’re designing something new and cutting edge,” he said. “We’re working with solar power technology and we’re designing a plane that doesn’t exist yet.”
Choctaw Nation advancing drone technology
Marcus Hartman turned his hobby of flying remote-controlled airplanes into a career test-flying drones at the Choctaw Nation Emerging Aviation Technology Test Center, a 44,000-acre site in southeast Oklahoma dedicated to the testing of unmanned aerial systems. “I went to college to be an airline pilot,” Hartman said. “A career in my hobby presented itself and I’ve been doing this ever since.”
Sky’s the limit for pilots, air traffic controllers and aviation managers
Lance Lamkin, airport operations officer at OU’s Max Westheimer Airport, says CareerTech training gives students interested in an aviation career an advantage as they pursue training opportunities beyond CareerTech. “If you’re coming from CareerTech to the University of Oklahoma School of Aviation, there isn’t much of a difference,” Lamkin said. “We make it a very seamless transition. I see the future of aviation in the state of Oklahoma being nothing but bright.”
Looking for a career on the cutting edge of aerospace technology? Consider Collins Aerospace
Jerome Anglin, Davis Lee and Jacklyn Greiner found rewarding careers at Collins Aerospace, a leading supplier of aerospace and defense products. The career paths they chose were uniquely different. Listen to their stories to see if a career in aerospace is right for you. “It doesn’t matter where you are in your career or what level you’re at,” Anglin said. “As long as you focus and surround yourself with positive influence, the sky’s the limit.”
Talent sought for budding drone industry
Demand for unmanned aircraft systems, or drones, is skyrocketing worldwide. Jamey Jacob, director of Oklahoma State University’s Unmanned Systems Research Institute, said OSU has become a major contributor to unmanned systems research, design, fabrication and applications. “Some of our best students are the ones we get from the pre-engineering academies of CareerTech,” Jacob said. “They know how to work with electronics. Some of them have even built and flown aircraft already.”
Now hiring: Aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul services in demand
Demario Cooper began aircraft maintenance training at Francis Tuttle Technology Center. Today, he works for AAR Corp., a leading provider of aviation services, as a sheet-metal technician. “It was the best decision I ever made,” Cooper said. “You learn something new every day. It has definitely improved my quality of life.”
Metro Technology Centers: Creating opportunities in aircraft maintenance
Juluis Ajeh, a student in the Aviation Maintenance Technician Program at Metro Technology Centers, explains how CareerTech has prepared him for a rewarding career in aviation maintenance. “My plan is to get to Delta Airlines, Southwest Airlines, maybe even SkyWest, if possible,” Ajeh said.
Interested in an aviation career? Consider working at an FBO
Mark Vann’s path to a rewarding career in aviation began years ago by taking courses at CareerTech. Today, he’s the director of operations at AAR Aircraft Services FBO. CareerTech, Vann said, “is a great opportunity for anyone that has a desire to be in the aviation industry. Once you’re in it, there is a lot of opportunity in the industry to get a job.”