Life is of course full of uncertainties, and not every Sailor intending to serve for twenty or thirty years in the Navy is able to achieve that goal. That’s why one of the most rewarding aspects for Sailors serving in the Aviation Machinist’s Mate rating (AD) is the depth and breadth of civilian jobs which their Naval career opens up to them. What’s more, the Navy makes it possible for Sailors in the AD rating to acquire civilian certifications that will make landing those jobs much more likely.
Some of the most valued of these are Federal Aviation Administration certifications because of the ever-expanding need for expert technicians the industry loses through attrition and aging out of current workers. Aviation Machinist’s Mates Third Class (E4) are eligible to pursue the FAA’s Mechanic (Powerplant) certification through a combination of military training and civilian training courses. Achieving this certification lays the groundwork for the even more highly valued FAA Mechanic certification for Airframes and Powerplants.
Other prized certifications and credentials include the National Center for Aerospace & Transportation Technologies’ Foreign Object Removal, a credential that will doubtless become more valuable as increasing numbers of private businesses seek to exploit the possibilities of satellite communications, low-earth-orbit solar energy platforms, and eventually mining of asteroids (yes, it will happen sooner than you think). Another highly sought credential is the Certified Aerospace Technician Core from SpaceTEC, which is the National Resource Center of the National Science Foundation. Based in Cape Canaveral, Florida (where else?), SpaceTEC offers a broad variety of programs aimed to train technicians that can meet the needs of the United States’ growing private-sector interest in space-based enterprises.