If you are looking for an exciting and diverse role, becoming an aircraft mechanic could be for you. Without aircraft mechanics, also called A&P (airframe and powerplant) technicians, aircraft simply cannot get off the ground. What education is needed to become an aircraft mechanic?
How Do You Become an Aircraft Mechanic?
The first step will be finding a great course.
There are a few admissions requirements that must be met in order to enroll. However, these requirements are not as restrictive as many believe. Provided you have a good level of education and satisfy the other requirements, you should be good to go.
What education is needed to become an aircraft mechanic?
It is fairly simple. To apply for an A&P technician course, you’ll need to have a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent. You’ll also need to have a passing score on an entrance exam or SAT exam.
However, it should be noted that this is just for your application to enroll.
The Federal Aviation Authority (the body that will be eventually granting your aircraft mechanics license) has further requirements that must be met in order for you to become an aircraft mechanic.
These are as follows:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Have a good command of English, in reading, writing and speaking
- Possess a high school diploma
Becoming a fully licensed aircraft mechanic is not just about the theory. The best way to learn is by doing. You are going to need practical experience too. The best way to do this is to attend a good-quality aeronautical university where you will be working on airplanes that are actually flying.
Your training will include working on things such as:
- Aircraft engines
- Flight control systems
- Fuel systems
- The electrical system
- Aircraft instruments
- Navigational equipment
- Radios and communication equipment
The learning still does not stop. To maintain the above, you will need an excellent working knowledge of how to use tools, repair and weld aircraft components, be able to follow written instructions, and know where to source maintenance procedures.
The necessary hours of experience mandated by the FAA are as follows: –
- General – 400 Hours
- Airframe – 750 Hours
- Powerplant – 750 hours
- Total – 1,900 Hours
Once you have gained the required experience, you will be expected to pass several airman knowledge tests. Here is an example of a supplement provided by the FAA that details the kind of information that you will be tested on.
How Many Years Does it Take to Become an Aircraft Mechanic?
At California Aeronautical University, students can earn an Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) diploma in as little as 17 months.
To earn an Associate’s Degree in Aviation Maintenance Technology will take around 22 months.
If you embark on this route, not only will you hold an Associate’s degree, but you will graduate from the course with an FAA-approved aircraft mechanics license.
What Types of Programs Exist for Aircraft Mechanics?
The above is not the only way to become an aircraft mechanic. However, it can be the quickest and most consistent depending on the chosen school. There are two pathways.
- Attending an Aircraft Mechanic Training School (also called AMTS)
- On-the-job training (known as OJT)
On-the-job mentorship can take years to complete. When you consider that you will not gain a degree while training to achieve exactly the same license, it really does pay to consider attending a part 147 approved school.
Attending an AMTS also has a few more unique advantages.
It has the potential to be more consistent and reliable. Training students through to graduation and ensuring that they are qualified are why these schools exist. They will have a dedicated team of staff whose job is purely to train prospective aircraft mechanics without distraction.
Another great benefit is that some AMT schools issue you with your own toolkit upon graduation. This is something that you might not find with on-the-job training.
Where Could I Go When I am Qualified as an Aircraft Mechanic?
There are many opportunities that await upon graduation. Here are some of the areas that graduates from CAU can enter:
- General aviation
- Working with major airlines
- Working as a maintenance contractor
- Executive business aviation
- Rotary wing aviation
- Aircraft manufacturing
- Technical and manual writing
Where to Go from Here
California Aeronautical University is an FAA-approved part 147 AMTS that provides two options for becoming an aircraft mechanic. Whether you choose to opt to train for an AMT diploma, taking 17 months, or would prefer to diversify and complete an AMT Associate of Science Degree, there can be a course to suit your unique situation.
Financial options may be available to those who qualify who are seeking help with funding their Aircraft Mechanic’s course.
With an aviation industry growing at a rate that is far exceeding the demand for qualified personnel, now is a great time to apply and enroll.
Mr. Matthew A. Johnston has over 23 years of experience serving various roles in education and is currently serving as the President of California Aeronautical University. He maintains memberships and is a supporting participant with several aviation promoting and advocacy associations including University Aviation Association (UAA), Regional Airline Association (RAA), AOPA, NBAA, and EAA with the Young Eagles program. He is proud of his collaboration with airlines, aviation businesses and individual aviation professionals who are working with him to develop California Aeronautical University as a leader in educating aviation professionals.