How Do I Become An Aircraft Mechanic?
Getting your Airframe and Powerplant ratings (A&P) and to become an aircraft mechanic is challenging! The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has high standards for aircraft mechanics, and for a good reason – you wouldn’t want just anyone maintaining the aircraft that fly over our communities. The aviation maintenance industry is an incredible opportunity for those who value the responsibility – and many rewards—that come with keeping our skies safe.
There are a few ways to go about getting your A&P ratings. We plan to go over all of your options – but first, you should know how attending a Part-147 school like National Aviation Academy (NAA) offers a comprehensive path to federal licensure while also cutting some of the challenges and time it takes to join this career field!
The education process is one of the critical pieces of an aircraft mechanic’s journey, as it allows them to form positive habits and gain needed experience with hands-on material. It takes dedication and hard work to complete the required hours and cover all the required subject areas. Part-147 schools offer the structure, instruction, necessary materials, and assurance needed to meet the FAA-mandated requirements to become a certified aviation maintenance professional as soon as possible.
What Are the Requirements to Become an Aircraft Mechanic?
To become a certified A&P mechanic, you must meet the following requirements.
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be able to read, write, and understand English
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Have eligible hands-on experience
- Pass the required knowledge tests
Assuming you meet the age requirement, have your diploma or GED, and speak, read, and understand English, all that’s left is to gain your hands-on experience and complete the required knowledge tests.
Gain Hands-On Experience
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires many hours of hands-on training and experience in specific subject areas before you can test for your A&P ratings.
General subjects cover topics such as mathematics, physics, basic electricity, weight & balance, etc. General studies help students to strengthen the skills needed to move on to airframe and powerplant courses.
Powerplant curriculum includes reciprocating engines, turbine engine theory and repair, induction, ignition and starting, engine troubleshooting, engine electrical systems, and more.
Airframe curriculum includes inspection, structures (wood, sheet metal, composite), airframe electrical, fluid lines and fitting, navigation and communication, landing gear systems, hydraulic & pneumatic systems, cabin atmosphere, fuel systems, and the list goes on!
The benefits of gaining hands-on experience at NAA include:
- All materials, equipment, and instruction needed to meet the required hands-on experience threshold are provided
- The FAA requires significantly fewer hours if you attend a Part-147 school than other on-the-job alternatives
- Our FAA-approved curriculum ensures you will receive the right training information needed to successfully become an aircraft mechanic
Pass the Required Knowledge Tests
After acquiring the necessary hands-on experience, aviation mechanics must then prove their competency to work on aircraft! The FAA mandates written, oral, and practical (3) examinations in general, powerplant, and airframe (3) subjects to show aptitude.
Once the testing process begins, you must pass all 9 FAA-mandated exams within 24 months. To complete these exams within a 2-year window can be extremely challenging unless you have the proper support and resources to lean on. The value of having support is why the most effective approach to getting your A&P ratings is to attend an FAA-approved, part -147 school, like NAA. At NAA, you can take your FAA exams right on campus and can even test in each subject as you go through your training!
The Challenges of Getting Your A&P Through the Military or On-the-Job-Training
If you decide to pursue on-the-job training (OJT) through the military or an apprenticeship, the FAA will have another set of requirements. To successfully leverage OJT to get your A&P ratings, you must:
- Have several more hours and months of hands-on experience
- Create and manage detailed, accurate records of your time, the aircraft and engines you work on
- Have a certified A&P professional review and sign off all of your work
OJT can be an inexpensive method for gaining the required experience. However, you must also account for the cost of time and the delay of potential high-earning career opportunities.
While joining the military is another way to get your hands-on experience, you are not guaranteed positions that provide relevant aviation maintenance experience. Furthermore, if you do have the opportunity to work on aircraft, you may not get all of the subject area experience needed to be eligible to test for your A&P ratings. In other words, you may ultimately need to complete your training at a Part-147 school.
An apprenticeship in a Part-125 Repair Station or Fixed-Base Operator (FBO) is hard to come by. It can also cost a lot of time, earning little money, and delay the start of your desired career path and high-earning potential.
If you can land a position, you’ll start off doing basic things, like cleaning the hangar and aircraft. You will also need at least 40 hours a week, pay stubs, and paperwork to prove your work. Additionally, you must do this for 18 months for each rating. If it is unclear what you need to do for each rating, you should consider meeting with an FAA inspector to ensure you have done everything correctly.
Why Choose NAA to Become an Aircraft Mechanic? Glad You Asked.
With NAA’s accelerated training options, you will gain practical hands-on experience, instructor support, student resources, and career placement services all in one place. Additionally, you may test as you progress through the coursework and projects instead of taking all nine exams at once.
Our Accelerated Training Options
Our 14-month Aviation Maintenance Technology program is the fastest option for getting A&P certified at NAA. Training is hands-on and focuses on developing skills for inspecting, repairing, and maintaining the aircraft body and engines.
Our 21-month Aviation Maintenance Professional program prepares you for your federal airframe and powerplant licenses and avionics certificates. Having all three credentials means you can service the body, engines, and advanced aircraft technologies, offering the opportunity to increase your value as a mechanic!
Our Student Success Resources
Our Student Services department assists with relocation, transportation, housing, childcare, finding employment while in school, and other solutions to meet everyday student needs. Should you need support, Student Services will discreetly offer available resources. Additionally, NAA provides your uniforms, books, and supplies for training at no extra cost. Just show up on day one and let the training begin!
Financial Aid Can Help Cover the Cost of A&P Training
Our Financial Aid team offers guidance to each student before, during, and after completing our programs. Whether you’re attending school for the first time or you’re a Veteran transitioning from the military, our qualified staff will help you obtain the maximum financial assistance available.
We are committed to being upfront and transparent about the cost of your NAA education. No hidden fees, no surprises. NAA tuition covers everything you will need to embark on your aviation maintenance career.
- Cost of Program Instruction
- Lab Fees
- Books and Workbooks
- Calculator and Flash Cards
- FAA Testing Fees
- Student Uniforms
- Cap and Gown
- Career Services Assistance
Our Aviation Maintenance Tutoring and Test Prep Solutions
A key feature that distinguishes National Aviation Academy (NAA) from other part-147 schools is our test-as-you-go learning format. As you progress through the coursework and projects, this testing benefit will allow you to focus, absorb, and retain information from general, airframe, and powerplant subject areas. Testing along the way also gives you a “glimpse” into the federal test material and clarifies the FAA’s expectations.
Additionally, NAA will cover the cost of your first attempt at the federal exams up to 12 months from the date you graduate!
Our Students & Alumni Receive Career Placement Services
Our Career Services department helps students and alumni find gainful employment in the aviation industry. We maintain close relationships with hiring employers to ensure you’ll be aware of the positions available to you once you are nearing graduation or at any point later in your career! During your training, you will receive assistance with:
- Resumes writing, applications, and other employer documents
- Mock interview techniques to help you know what to say, how to dress, and correspond with hiring employers
- Connecting with companies, scheduling interviews, performing post-interview follow-up
- Learning about industry opportunities and understanding your career options and all the possibilities with your A&P licenses
Are You Considering A Career In Aviation Maintenance?
Are you looking to start aviation maintenance training? Or need to complete your A&P training? Either way, NAA is a world-class solution for accessing aviation maintenance careers with high-earning potential as soon as possible.
- Apply today to get information for the next available class starts
- Schedule an in-person campus tour and check out the hands-on action
- Register for a virtual info session to ask questions, get answers, and see if this is the right opportunity for you
Or, if you’d just like a bit more information, request it by filling out the form below!
Ready to start your career as an aviation maintenance professional? Fill out the form below for more information!