How to Become an Aircraft Mechanic
- What does it mean to be an A&P mechanic?
A&P stands for airframe and powerplant. These are the ratings needed to be an aircraft mechanic. The powerplant rating allows mechanics to repair and maintain turbine and reciprocating aircraft engines. The airframe rating allows mechanics to repair and maintain anything on the body of an aircraft (basically everything but the engine).
- How can I become an A&P mechanic?
Airframe and powerplant ratings can be earned through on-the-job training or by going through FAA approved training programs, like the one at UAA. After completing on-the-job training or an approved curriculum, applicants will take three written tests (general, airframe, & powerplant), followed by oral & practical exams with an FAA examiner.
- Which program should I apply to (Airframe Certificate, Powerplant Certificate, or
AAS in Aircraft Maintenance Technology)?
Because most students will need both airframe and powerplant ratings, we highly recommend applying to both certificate programs (two separate applications). Students also have the option to apply for one program and add the second as a double major (one application). It is usually in students' best interest to apply to each certificate separately, because it allows for the opportunity to test separately for each rating.
Students will finish coursework for one rating before the other, but must graduate to be eligible for the FAA qualifying exams. Students who are admitted separately can immediately test for whichever certificate program they finish first. Students who are admitted once with a double major have to wait to test until they complete coursework for both ratings.
We also encourage students to pursue an Associates of Applied Science degree (AAS) in Aircraft Maintenance Technology. For this degree, students will typically take 4-6 general education courses in addition to the curriculum for airfame and powerplant certificates. The AAS program is designed to be taken in addition to airframe and powerplant, and is optional.
- How long is the program and when are classes held?
The program is 5 semesters long (2.5 years), and can be started in either fall or spring semester. Classes are typically held between 8:00-5:00 Monday-Thursday with one Friday class during the first semester. While there are no Aviation Maintenance classes during summer semesters, many students pursuing the associates degree will complete their general education requirements between school years.
- Can I transfer in credits from another program or credit by experience?
We do accept certain credits from other schools, including JST/CCAF credits for military students and ACE credits for students already certificated as A&P mechanics. However, for a program of this kind, transferring credits from another institution can be a very long process. Students applying to use transfer credits must provide transcripts as well as detailed course descriptions for transfers to be considered. Most evaluations will be completed within 3-4 months.
- Do I need my own tools?
Students will need their own set of tools after the first semester. Although tool costs will vary by brand, we recommend budgeting to spend $3000-5000 on your tool set. Students will learn more about what kind of tools are required during their first semester.