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Graduate earns distinction from California Aeronautical University

First woman aircraft maintenance technologist

The challenges of finding qualified aircraft maintenance technologists (AMT) have accelerated over the last decade making it difficult to fulfill the much-needed demand in the aviation industry. In this male-dominated profession, many women are not exposed to the possibilities—even if they have the aptitude to excel professionally.

California Aeronautical University’s first female AMT graduate grew up in a small rural town in Texas where she and her family own and operated fruit stands. Her uncle being a pilot and A&P mechanic working for Bell Helicopter in Amarillo Texas, was always an inspiration for her and helped plant the seed of her future aviation Career. Carrie Certuche enlisted in the United States Navy in 1999 as an aviation electronics technician, furthering her love for aviation. She was stationed in Italy at Naval Air station Sigonella.

After leaving the Navy in 2003, Certuche started her civilian career at Bell, following her uncle's footsteps, working as an aviation technician assembling the V–22 Osprey tiltrotor, and later working in the United Arab Emirates for the presidential guard. Certuche went on to work for other companies such as Sikorsky Helicopter and Agusta Aerospace Corp. in Pennsylvania, taking on roles in the completions center and as an assembly technician. The love of travel and willingness to soak up the many professional opportunities lead Certuche to later accept a position as an emergency medical dispatcher for the Kern County Fire Department and Hall Ambulance.

"I think it is important for females to realize that they can hold positions in what used to be primarily male-dominated work environments and for everyone, that it is never too late to continue to learn."

Carrie at CAUCertuche has been an inspiration to her former classmates at CAU. She has made many sacrifices to accelerate her aviation career. Her mother has been her biggest supporter and her son gave her motivation to leave her full-time job to pursue advanced training at California Aeronautical University. She recently was hired by the Kern County Sheriff’s Office Air Support Unit, members of which she had met at CAU’s annual Aviation Career Day.

“I was introduced to this organization at a career fair held at CAU and am humbled and thankful to have this opportunity. The job search was supported by CAU’s career counselor, and I appreciate the work and effort that was put into presenting different opportunities in the field,” Certuche said.

Carrie had this advice for incoming AMT students accepted into CAU:

  1. Maintain a positive attitude
  2. Stay focused on the opportunities you will have in the future
  3. Trust the process.

California Aeronautical University

California Aeronautical University (CAU) is preparing the next generation of aviation professionals. Serving students from all over the country, the University offers career-focused programs in aviation, aviation business, and aircraft maintenance. With on-airport locations throughout California and in Arizona that provide an ideal learning environment, CAU courses are delivered in a year-round, fast-paced schedule that enables students to enter the pipeline for aviation careers in a shorter amount of time. Through the University’s strong partnerships with airlines, influential aviation organizations, and leaders in the aviation community, CAU graduates become a part of a larger aviation network and reap the benefits of these relationships, including direct access to several airline cadet programs. The University offers access federal student financial aid, scholarships, and veteran benefits to those who qualify. For more information, visit