My Coast Guard

Aviation rating candidates begin new apprenticeship program. 

By Janki Patel, MyCG Writer


Navigating a career path is easier when you’re under someone’s wing. The Rating Apprentice Program (RAP)has developed new pathways for aviation rates that will fast track and streamline “A” school training and the assignments that follow. 

The new RAP will provide a performance-based training pipeline for junior enlisted members interested in becoming aviation electronic technicians (AET) or aviation maintenance technicians (AMT). Members who are selected for the program are assigned their first permanent duty air station where they will report prior to “A” school, and then return to upon graduation. This is vastly different from other trainings in that members usually receive their first duty station orders while in training, not before. 

Previously, Coast Guard members interested in the AET or AMT ratings would be assigned to an air station and then receive orders for “A” school at Aviation Technical Training Center (ATTC) Elizabeth City, N.C., learning their trade. Upon graduating “A” school, there was no guarantee of a return to the original air station.

“Once the aviation candidate receives their new duty station, the member will work at that air station under the guidance of a mentor,” said Cmdr. David A. Torres, FORCECOM’s Training Division Operations Branch Chief. “They will perform routine line crew tasks, observe routine maintenance, assist with basic tasks, and acclimatize to general air station life. The mentor will not be tasked with teaching the non-rate, but to guide them in their day-to-day work through a structured program.”  

Allowing the member to return to the original air station fosters a vested interest in becoming a part of that community because they know they are coming back. The aspiring AET or AMT will begin to form working relationships with those already stationed at the air station. 

Training begins immediately from the comfort of a home air station. In addition to the formal classroom training, the candidate’s assigned mentor will provide structured on-the-job-training. This hands-on aspect of training, coupled with distance education through e-learning lessons and reading assignments, weekly asynchronous discussions, virtual classroom, and tele-conference meetings for approximately 12 weeks. 

Once complete with the first phase of “A” school at their unit, students travel to ATTC in Elizabeth City, NC where they will complete an additional 12 weeks of technical training, focusing on the basic skillsets. This includes addressing discrepancies in the Electronic Aircraft Logbook, accessing official technical publications, and performing routine and non-routine inspections and troubleshooting procedures on state-of-the-art Hot Mock-Ups (HMUs) and Maintenance Training Units (MTUs). 

Students assigned to helicopter units will receive additional “C” school-level instruction as part of their capstone project, an opportunity that generally was available to AETs and AMTs about six months to a year following “A” school graduation. 

“This program enables the young men and women of the Coast Guard to accelerate the learning and application of critical skills, as well as, specialties they need through on-the-job training and distributed learning to advance in their careers,” Torres said. 

The very first Aviation RAP course convened July 27, 2020, as AET “A” school class 122-20, with nine students. This class is scheduled to graduate in mid-December 2020. 

The effort to accelerate learning while also improving the quality of life for the member was a collaborative effort between FORCECOM, Enlisted Personnel Management Office, Air Station Leading Chief Petty Officers, and the Office of Aeronautical Engineering.

Stay tuned for the testimonies from FORCECOM training division and members that successfully completed the program.


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