Applying for Aviation Maintenance Scholarships

9 Tips When Applying for Aviation Maintenance Scholarships

By following these 9 tips when applying for aviation maintenance scholarships, you’ll be 9 steps closer to earning the financial aid you need to begin your career as an aircraft mechanic or avionics technician.

There are plenty of aircraft mechanic scholarships and general trade school scholarships available each year, which provide hundreds or even thousands of dollars in financial aid for aspiring AMTs. Plus, scholarships don’t need to be repaid, which makes them extremely valuable pieces of your financial aid plan. But earning a scholarship requires putting in serious effort, because each scholarship has different criteria and some are very competitive, which means you’ll really need to stand out from all the other applicants.

1. Talk to a financial aid advisor

To be sure you understand the full cost of the trade school tuition that you’re seeking financial assistance for, as well as all available financial aid options, talk with a financial aid advisor from the school you’re considering. They’ll be able to walk you through the expected costs, suggest financial aid options including scholarships, and also let you know any partnership programs they may have in place with potential employers or industry organizations that can provide additional financial aid opportunities.

2. Make a list of all available scholarships

Search online to see which aviation maintenance scholarships you qualify for. They’ll each have a different deadline, qualifications, and requirements, so it may help to create a document or even a spreadsheet that lists all of the important information for each one. Also, certain trade school scholarships are open to national, regional, or local applicants, so make sure you’re only including the scholarships you’re actually eligible for.

Some websites that list aviation maintenance scholarships include, College Scholarships,, and Smart Scholar. One of the best-known trade school scholarships is the mikeroweWORKS scholarship from former Dirty Jobs TV host Mike Rowe. Several PIA students have earned this scholarship in the past — maybe the next one will be yours!

3. Make a scholarship calendar

Getting organized is the first step toward earning trade school scholarships, and that process begins by making sure you have a clear game plan for applying to the right scholarships in the right order. Once you have all of your scholarships listed, sort them by deadline. Then add their deadlines to your digital calendar, with links to scholarship’s website, email address, and their physical mailing address (if applicable), so you can easily keep track of what’s due when and where it needs to be submitted.

4. Plan to apply as early as possible

Applying for an aviation maintenance scholarship, having all those applications reviewed and judged, waiting for the scholarship judges to make a decision, and then completing the logistical details of receiving, depositing, and applying the financial aid itself can be a very time-consuming process. Because of this, it’s best to start applying for scholarships at least a year before you intend to begin your training. Having enough lead time can help ensure you receive the aid before you need to begin paying for AMT school, and it will also help you understand how much of your tuition will be covered by scholarships so you can explore other financial aid and direct payment options to cover the remaining tuition cost.

5. Gather the necessary information you’ll need for your applications

Although each scholarship will have different criteria, a lot of the information and documentation they ask for will be similar. This includes:

  • your high school or other college transcripts
  • letters of recommendation from teachers, coaches, or employers
  • your most recent tax returns
  • tuition summaries and other credentials about the school you’re applying to
  • essays explaining why you deserve the scholarship

As you gather all of this information, name your files clearly so you can quickly and easily upload or print the necessary files for each application.

6. Write essays that tell YOUR unique story

For many applicants, creating a compelling essay can be the hardest part of the entire scholarship application process because it can feel awkward to have to explain why you think you deserve it. But being able to present your case in a compelling way is crucial to making a good impression on the scholarship judges. If you can find a clear way to set yourself apart in your essays (or in a video, if that’s a requirement), then you’ll have a much better chance of standing out in the judges’ eyes.

So, what makes you different from every other person who’s applying for the same scholarship? Is it your background, your work history, or your career aspirations? Maybe it’s the personal challenges you’ve overcome, your knack for teamwork and leadership, or the tenacity you bring to every job and project. Whatever it is, make sure you clearly communicate it to the judges who will be deciding who deserves the scholarship’s financial aid the most — and make sure someone you trust reads your essay before you submit it, because they may catch errors or see opportunities that you’ve missed. (Also, if you won’t be able to attend aviation maintenance school without the help of the scholarship your applying for, make sure the judges know that, too.)

7. Ask for letters of recommendation from people who see your full potential

Scholarship judges tend to award financial aid to applicants who seem committed and reliable, which is why it’s so important to provide letters of recommendation from the people in your life who can vouch for your dependability, diligence, and drive. Consider asking for letters of recommendation from:

  • your teachers
  • your coaches
  • your manager or boss
  • your mentors (pastor, scout leader, volunteer coordinator, robotics team advisor, etc.)

Try to get recommendations from a few different people who each have a unique perspective on your skills, work ethic, and character. For example, a teacher may be able to vouch for your ability to learn new subject matter quickly, a manager can comment on your time management and prioritization skills, and a coach may discuss your leadership qualities on the field. By presenting each of these perspectives, you’ll be providing the scholarship judges with a much fuller and more comprehensive picture of who you are as a person, and as a potential student (and future employee).

8. Don’t put all your eggs in one scholarship basket

Because aviation mechanic scholarship applications can be time-consuming, you may be tempted to apply for only the largest scholarships, or the most prestigious, or the ones that require the least effort. But the reality is, you can apply for as many scholarships as you want, so don’t stop after your first few applications. Keep sending them out for as long as you can, and hopefully they’ll start adding up.

9. If you get rejected, keep trying

You can’t control what any other applicants say or do during the scholarship application process, or how many of them you’re in competition with. All you can do is make the best case for why you think you deserve their scholarship. If you get turned down by one group of judges, don’t take it personally — and don’t give up! You can always reapply at a later date, and by that time the group of judges may be different, so your essay or application details may resonate more strongly with this new group of decision-makers. You also may have more experience, better essay-writing skills, and more relevant letters of recommendation that will help the judges see why you’re the best candidate for their scholarship. Remember: “no” doesn’t mean “never,” but you can’t get what you don’t ask for — so keep trying!


PIA Memorial Scholarship

10 Memorial Scholarships are awarded each year in the amount of $2,000 each.

Offered at all campuses.

This scholarship is funded by private donors and annual fundraising events.

PIA Institutional Match Grant

Institutional Match Grant awards available each year limited to up to $1,000 per term.

Offered at all campuses.

Awards are applied to the recipient’s tuition account for the term.

Start taking these steps to earn the financial aid you need today!