Interested in maintaining and servicing aircraft as a career? To become an aviation maintenance technician (commonly abbreviated to ‘AMT’ and also known as an ‘A&P mechanic’), you must obtain Airframe and Powerplant ratings (A&P)! The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has high standards for aircraft mechanics. While obtaining A&P ratings can seem daunting, the path is always possible, and the resulting career is worth it! The aviation maintenance industry is an incredible opportunity for those who value the responsibility – and many rewards—that come with keeping the skies safe.

There are a few ways to go about obtaining A&P ratings. However, 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!

Education is critical to an aspiring aviation maintenance technician’s journey as it encourages positive habits and offers valuable hands-on experience with industry materials. It takes dedication and hard work to complete the required hours and cover all the required subject areas, and Part-147 schools offer the structure, instruction, necessary materials, and assurance needed to meet the FAA-mandated requirements to become a certified aviation maintenance technician as soon as possible.

What Are the Requirements to Become an Aviation Maintenance Technician?

The FAA has the following requirements for A&P mechanics:

  • 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 FAA-required knowledge tests

If 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 being able to test for A&P certification.

General subjects such as mathematics, physics, and electricity should be studied first. These studies help students to strengthen the skills needed to move on to the more specialized airframe and powerplant courses.

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, and fuel systems.

Powerplant curriculum includes reciprocating engines, turbine engine theory and repair, induction, ignition and starting, engine troubleshooting, and engine electrical systems.

Hands-on training is key to A&P education. The benefits of gaining hands-on experience at NAA include:

  • NAA students experience all materials, equipment, and instruction needed to meet the required hands-on experience threshold are provided
  • The FAA requires significantly fewer hours for students that attend a Part-147 school (compared to other on-the-job alternatives)
  • Our FAA-approved curriculum ensures students receive accurate training for aircraft mechanic positions

Passing the Test

After acquiring the necessary hands-on experience, prospective aviation maintenance technicians must pass several tests 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. NAA offers students the ability to take FAA exams right on campus as they go through training!

Can I Become an AMT Through the Military or On-the-Job-Training?

Yes! For those who pursue on-the-job training (OJT) through the military or an apprenticeship, the FAA lists other requirements:

  • 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, it may come at the expense of the opportunity cost of time and the delaying of potential career growth.

Military OJT

Joining the military is another way to get hands-on experience, but positions that provide such experience are not guaranteed. Without that opportunity, one may not receive the subject area experience needed to be eligible to test for A&P ratings. Post-military, it is entirely possible that an aspiring mechanic would ultimately need to attend a Part-147 school.

Apprenticeship OJT

An apprenticeship in a Part-125 Repair Station or Fixed-Base Operator (FBO) is a great way to earn hands-on experience, but positions can be hard to come by. This method can also cost a lot of time as pay can be low and actual experience on the job is varied.

Apprentices start with basic aircraft maintenance tasks like cleaning the hangar and aircraft. Apprentices must also work 40 hours a week and keep pay stubs and paperwork to verify their time to the FAA. Additionally, each rating requires 18 months of work.

Start Your AMT Career!

If you’re looking to start aviation maintenance training or complete your A&P training, NAA can help you start your path to a rewarding career as an AMT. For more information, fill out the form below!