United Launches Maintenance Tech Apprenticeship Program


United Airlines is launching an in-house apprenticeship program designed to help grow its pipeline of aircraft maintenance technicians (AMTs). Called Calibrate, the 36-month program is a “joint effort between United, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) and the Federal Aviation Administration.” According to United, Calibrate was designed as a full-time, paid apprenticeship offering both on-the-job and classroom training to help apprentices “gain the skills and knowledge required to test for and obtain their A&P Certificate.”

“Calibrate is a great opportunity for people who are interested in pursuing a rewarding career as an aircraft technician but don’t have the resources or support they need to attend traditional technical schools or colleges,” said Rodney Luetzen, United vice president of line maintenance. “This program will provide life-changing opportunities, help to diversify our workforce and give us access to an even bigger pool of talented, qualified, motivated people.”

United says it is aiming to train over 1,000 people at around twelve locations via Calibrate by 2026. The first Calibrate class is set to being next week in Houston, Texas, with the second scheduled to start in early 2023. The airline is expected to begin accepting external applications for the program early next year.

More information on Calibrate can be found at https://careers.united.com/us/en/calibrate.

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. Great idea.

    As an FBO, it won’t directly help General Aviation, but it will take some of the pressure off from the shortage of A&Ps.

    How to find more information about the program–costs, location, etc.? We have a lot of people asking about flight training and A&Ps–I’d like to give them the way to access the information.

    • Looks like it’s not open to external candidates quite yet, but there’s a bit more information at the link above in the article.

  2. I started as an apprentice mechanic and retired as Captain. Apprentice programs aren’t new and why they had not continued this practice is a mystery.

  3. IMHO its the best way to learn a skilled profession. Apprentice/Mentor learning is how it was done since time began.

    • I agree Gregory. Mentored experience combined with the instant access to publications, videos and most anything internet people are safely maintaining everything mechanical. I even find good information for home repair and medical issues.

      The only thing that experience and internet can’t help us with is the IRS codes, law and FAA FAR’s. I have never met an accountant, lawyer or FAA employee that will ever give a straight answer and they wrote the rules.

  4. What i would like to see is the FAA issue limited and full ratings for technicians. People trained on airline equipment are not necessarily qualified to work on your 40 and 50 year old Piper Cessna or Beech. With the shortage of technicians everywhere in the industry, and i applaud efforts at training and filling “spots”, just filling spots is going to bite us in the butt in the very near future.