A Soldier’s Adventure

A Soldier’s Adventure


Project Description

Dave Smith

Hagerstown Branch Campus, MD
Program: Aviation Maintenance Technology (AMT)
Employment: Airframe & Powerplant Technician, Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe, Inc.

WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL?

At the time I was working for the Navy as a (civilian) system engineer and I came to realize that I didn’t enjoy primarily working behind a desk. I wanted to pursue a career where I could work more with my hands. My lifetime goal is to one day become a missionary pilot overseas. I already have my helicopter license, which I obtained in the Army, so the next step was to obtain an A&P license. Most missionary organizations require that you also be able to repair your own aircraft.

HOW DID YOU DECIDE WHICH CERTIFICATION TO PURSUE?

My goal with going back to school was to obtain an A&P license and how to obtain it in the shortest amount of time. When it came down to it PIA had the best program in my area and I could complete it in 16 months.

HOW DID YOU RESEARCH YOUR MILITARY EDUCATION BENEFITS?

In order to find out what I was eligible for, I contacted my local education benefits office on my base.

WHAT CERTIFICATION DID YOU EARN?

I earned a certificate in Aviation Maintenance Technology, which resulted in me obtaining a FAA Airframe & Powerplant license (A&P). This gave me the ability to enter a career where I could legally maintain aircraft in the United States.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CURRENT JOB.

I entered into an A&P position working for Martin’s Famous Pastry Shoppe. They operate five planes to support their company operations.

WHAT ARE SOME LESSONS LEARNED THAT YOU WOULD SHARE WITH OTHER MILITARY STUDENTS?

Don’t wait till it’s too late to look into using your military education benefits.

DID YOU USE THE GI BILL?

I used the Montgomery GI Bill Selected Reserve.

HOW DID YOU COVER THE EXPENSES THAT EXCEEDED YOUR GI BILL?

Scholarships helped pay for 1/3 of my school expenses. It takes time and effort, but it’s completely worth it if you win.

WOULD YOU RECOMMEND YOUR SCHOOL TO OTHER MILITARY AND VETERAN STUDENTS?

If your goal is to obtain an A&P license I would suggest PIA to other students. PIA has been around for many years and they know how to run their program. They support veterans through education programs.