Is becoming an aircraft mechanic right for me?

The first step to choosing a career is to make sure you are actually willing to commit to pursuing the career. You don’t want to waste your time doing something you don’t want to do. If you’re new here, you should read about:

What do aircraft mechanics do?
Career Satisfaction
Are aircraft mechanics happy with their careers?
What are aircraft mechanics like?

Still unsure if becoming an aircraft mechanic is the right career path? to find out if this career is right for you. Perhaps you are well-suited to become an aircraft mechanic or another similar career!

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How to become an Aircraft Mechanic

To become an aircraft mechanic, follow these detailed steps:

  • Meet Basic Requirements: Ensure you are at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Obtain the Required Education: Enroll in an FAA-approved aircraft maintenance technology program. Choose between airframe and powerplant (A&P) or powerplant-only certification. These programs provide classroom instruction and hands-on training in aircraft systems, maintenance procedures, regulations, and safety protocols.
  • Gain Practical Experience: Complete the required practical experience hours. The FAA mandates 18 months (1,900 hours) for A&P certification or 30 months (2,000 hours) for powerplant-only certification. Seek apprenticeships, internships, or entry-level positions to gain hands-on experience under the guidance of certified mechanics.
  • Pass Written Examinations: Study and pass the written knowledge tests administered by the FAA. These tests cover subjects such as airframe, powerplant, and general knowledge. Utilize textbooks, FAA publications, and authorized preparation materials. Schedule and take the written tests at an FAA-approved testing center.
  • Obtain FAA Certification: Apply for the FAA mechanic certificate with an A&P rating (or powerplant-only rating) after meeting education, experience, and written examination requirements. Complete application forms, pay the necessary fees, and schedule the final oral and practical examination with an FAA designated examiner.
  • Pursue Continuing Education: Stay updated on advancements in aircraft technology, regulations, and maintenance practices. Engage in continuing education and training programs offered by manufacturers, aviation organizations, and regulatory authorities. Maintain the validity of the FAA mechanic certificate by fulfilling recurrent training and renewal requirements.

Helpful Resources
As an aircraft mechanic, there are several helpful resources and organizations that can support your professional development and provide valuable information. Here are some notable resources:

  • Federal Aviation Administration (FAA): The FAA is the primary regulatory body overseeing aviation in the United States. Their website provides access to regulations, safety guidelines, advisory circulars, and other essential information related to aircraft maintenance.
  • Aircraft Maintenance Technology (AMT) Magazine: AMT Magazine is a publication focused on the latest trends, technologies, and best practices in aircraft maintenance. It covers topics such as avionics, engines, regulations, and industry news. The magazine's website offers articles, industry insights, and access to their digital and print publications.
  • Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) Online Forum: The AME Online Forum is an online community where aircraft mechanics and engineers can connect, share knowledge, and discuss industry-related topics. The forum provides a platform to seek advice, exchange information, and stay updated on industry developments.
  • Professional Associations: Joining professional associations can offer networking opportunities, access to training resources, and career support. Examples include the Professional Aviation Maintenance Association (PAMA), National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), and Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA).
  • Manufacturer and Supplier Websites: Many aircraft manufacturers and suppliers provide technical documentation, manuals, and maintenance guides specific to their aircraft or components. Accessing these resources can be invaluable for troubleshooting, repairs, and staying updated on manufacturer recommendations. Examples include Boeing, Airbus, Pratt & Whitney, and Honeywell Aerospace.
  • Aircraft Maintenance Training Schools: Some aviation maintenance schools and training centers offer continuing education courses, webinars, and workshops for aircraft mechanics. These programs can help expand your knowledge, learn about new technologies, and stay current with industry practices.