How to Become an A&P Mechanic

Oct 26, 2022 ·

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Airplanes, helicopters and other forms of aircraft are among some of the largest forms of transportation in the world. They can carry hundreds of passengers at a time, transport essential cargo and help people in need of lifesaving medical attention get treatment.

Airframe and powerplant technicians — sometimes shortened to A&P technicians — are the mechanics who ensure these powerful machines fly safely in the air and land correctly on the ground. A&P mechanics maintain most parts of an aircraft, including engines, landing gear, air conditioning and brakes.

This is truly essential work, as people all over the world and diverse industries rely on safe working aircraft. Here’s how A&P mechanics enter this career field.

What Does an A&P Mechanic Do?

A&P mechanics work in hangars and repair stations and on airfields to perform scheduled maintenance on aircraft so they stay in working condition and don’t run risk of failure. The mechanics also work on aircraft in need of repairs, fixing components and parts so they can get back up and running.

Some of the duties of A&P mechanics include:

  • Troubleshooting electrical and mechanical problems
  • Using precision instruments to inspect aircraft components for wear and identify defects such as cracks and corrosion in critical areas
  • Repairing airframe components, such as wings, electrical systems, brakes and other aircraft parts
  • Maintaining an aircraft's electronic systems, such as weather radar and navigation systems
  • Testing aircraft parts with diagnostic equipment before takeoff to ensure safety
  • Using power tools to repair the aircraft's body and hand tools to replace defective parts
  • Maintaining and repairing radio communications that keep pilots in touch with aircraft personnel on the ground
  • Documenting all maintenance and repair actions in an aircraft's log books

A&P technicians follow instructions, repair procedures and maintenance manuals set by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The mechanics must have strong problem-solving skills so they can create safe and workable solutions to quickly get aircraft in the air.

Steps to Become an A&P Mechanic

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in order to become an A&P technician, professionals typically get education at an FAA-approved technician school, or receive on-the-job training in the military or another professional aviation setting.

Typically, A&P technician jobs have A&P license requirements. Technicians must be certified by the FAA in order to legally work in the profession.

The FAA offers separate certifications for engine work and bodywork, but many employers prefer to hire technicians who have both certification ratings and meet both requirements for A&P license. That’s because an A&P license clearly indicates a mechanic meets basic ability and knowledge standards.

What are the requirements for an A&P license? For how to get your A&P license, the FAA sets these guidelines to qualify for taking the Aircraft Mechanic Oral, Practical and Written tests. But even before testing, the candidate seeking how to get an A&P license must:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Be able to read, write, understand and speak the English language.
  • Have at least 18 months of practical experience with airframe and powerplant tools and equipment.
  • Graduate from an FAA-approved Aviation Maintenance Technician School or complete the Joint Service Aviation Maintenance Technician Certification Council training course for military personnel.
  • Be familiar with Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations part 65, subpart D, Mechanics.

Candidates who wish to obtain a license must pass the FAA written, oral and practical tests. The good news is, when you attend FAA-approved A&P school, the curriculum and training prepares you for the tests and license requirements. Once you graduate, you’ll be ready to test for an A&P license.79

A&P Mechanic Career Outlook

According to the BLS, a career as an A&P technician is one of the highest-paying technician fields someone can enter. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for aviation maintenance technicians in the United States was $65,380 in May 2021.57 This means half earned more and half earned less. Keep in mind that salary depends on several factors, including experience, employer, demand and cost of living in the area.

Get Training to Become an A&P Mechanic

Our A&P technician school coming to UTI prepares graduates to apply for FAA licensing and entry-level positions in the aviation industry.1 The programs take 2 years or less to complete and teach students skills like:

  • Aircraft troubleshooting
  • Hydraulics and pneumatics
  • Turbine engine operations
  • Powerplant lubrication systems
  • Non-destructive testing
  • Navigation and communication systems
  • Propellers
  • Reciprocating engine operation

To learn more about how to train for an A&P technician career, request info here.

Get training that prepares you for FAA certification testing. Gain knowledge that can help you test for an A&P license.
Learn on real equipment. Train in state-of-the-industry labs featuring a safe and supportive environment.
Graduate in 2 years or less. After graduating and earning FAA certification, you’ll be ready to apply for entry-level positions in the aviation field.
Request More Info Or Call Now 800.834.7308

1) UTI and MIAT are educational institutions and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

2) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit for UTI and for MIAT.

57) The Airframe & Powerplant and Aviation Maintenance Technology programs prepare graduates for entry-level positions using the provided training, primarily as aviation maintenance technicians. Estimated annual salary is for Aircraft Mechanics and Service Technicians as published in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2021 Occupational Employment and Wages. Entry-level salaries are lower for graduates. UTI and MIAT are educational institutions and cannot guarantee employment or salary. Graduates’ achievements vary. Individual circumstances and wages depend on economic factors, personal credentials, work experience, industry certifications, the location of the employer, and their compensation programs. Some graduates get jobs within their field of study in positions other than as aviation maintenance technicians, such as turbine technicians or field technicians. Salary information for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: The average annual entry-level salary range for persons employed as Aircraft Mechanics and Service Technicians (49-3011) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is $45,600 to $67,950 (Massachusetts Labor and Workforce Development, May 2020 data Salary information for North Carolina: The U.S. Department of Labor estimates the hourly median wage for skilled aviation technicians in North Carolina is $28.90 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, May 2021 Occupational Employment and Wages, Aircraft Mechanics and Service Technicians). The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not publish entry-level salary data. However, the 25th and 10th percentile of hourly earnings in North Carolina are $23.54 and $18.25, respectively.

79) Pending FAA approval, UTI’s aviation maintenance programs prepare graduates to apply & test for FAA mechanic certification. Graduates who don’t obtain certification may have fewer career opportunities. Some graduates get jobs other than aviation maintenance technician such as turbine or field technicians. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment, salary, or FAA certification.

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.


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