News | March 23, 2023

U.S. Naval Community College to Offer Associate of Science Degree in Aviation Maintenance

Beginning in summer 2023, the United States Naval Community College (USNCC), headquartered in Quantico, Virginia, will offer an associate of science degree in aviation maintenance. USNCC began accepting applications Feb 27.

USNCC was created to directly support enlisted Sailors, Marines and Coast Guardsmen to earn professional certificates and associate degrees to enhance operational readiness and improve warfighting capabilities in the process.

Through a contract with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU), the college will open the program for E-1 to E-9 active-duty from the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard who want to grow their career and become more well-rounded maintainers.

“This program was created to improve the overall knowledge of maintenance technicians in the three Naval services,” said Sgt. Maj. Michael Hensley, USNCC’s command senior enlisted leader.

The degree program includes 15 credits through USNCC and 45 credits from ERAU. The program offers an innovative curriculum that includes a combination of general education and aviation maintenance core courses. Upon graduation, students have in-depth knowledge of general aeronautics and applications, airframe structures, reciprocating engine theory, turbine engine theory and aircraft electrical systems.

“The center of gravity for Naval Aviation is its maintenance department. Regardless of the airframe or the tactics employed, a squadron is only as good as its ability to put planes in the air. This is why a well-trained and educated maintenance department and individual maintainers are so vital to Naval Aviation,” said USNCC Professor Daniel Goff, a Marine Corps veteran and former naval aviator. 

USNCC is not offered in a brick-and-mortar schoolhouse; instead it is available to meet the needs and demands of a globally deployed workforce by offering all courses virtually to maximum flexibility to students who are balancing operational and personal commitments.

“This is another benefit for E-1 to E-9 personnel from the three naval service branches to pursue and expand their knowledge base and to pursue their educational goals without using their tuition assistance,” Hensley said. “The students who enroll in USNCC will get their first 60 credits paid for, which essentially frees them up to use their 120 lifetime credits to finish their bachelor’s and go on to complete a master’s degree.”

In addition to the maintenance technician-related curriculum offered, five core military courses will be included. The five courses cover a variety of leadership topics to include Naval Ethics and Leadership; Modern Naval History; Naval Force Design; Civilian, Military Relations, Organization, and American Government; and Introduction to the Geopolitical Environment.

“Your Sailors are not going to meet your expectations if they do not know or understand what your expectations are,” said Master Chief Aircraft Maintenanceman Justin “Stu” Stuermer. “The on-the-job training is essential but will only carry you so far. Combining that training with institutional learning is essential for all pay grades to continue to grow and lead.”

Dr. Charles Cushman, USNCC Dean of Academics, said that building the curriculum for the two-year degree program will come from input from the fleet.

“As part of the curriculum development, we take input directly from active-duty service members from the three services that serve in an advisory role,” he said. “Their direct input adds relevancy to our curriculum on the type of training they need.”

In February and March 2023, USNCC personnel will participate in a listening tour to various Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps bases to receive their recommendations on the course material they would like to see added to the curriculum.

For information about this degree program, visit USNCC’s website,, and click on the student interest form link.

From Naval Aviation Enterprise Public Affairs.