You can get the experience you need to become a certified power plant or airframe mechanic in one of three ways.
You can attend one of the 170 FAR part 147 Aviation Maintenance Technician Schools nationwide. These schools offer training for one mechanics certificate or both. Many schools offer avionics courses that cover electronics and instrumentation.
You need a high school diploma or a General Education Diploma (GED) to get in to most schools. The schooling lasts from 12 months and 24 months, generally less than required by FAA for on-the-job training. When you graduate, you are qualified to take FAA's exams. Graduates often get higher starting salaries than individuals who got their required experience in one of the other two ways.
- You can work an FAA Repair Station or FBO under the supervision of a certified mechanic for 18 months for each certificate, or 30 months for both. You must document your experience with pay receipts, a log book signed by your supervising mechanic, a notarized statement from your employer, or other proof you worked the required time.
You can join one of the armed services and get training and experience in aircraft maintenance. Make sure you are in a military occupational specialty for which FAA gives credit. You can get a current list of acceptable specialties from the local FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO).
You must present an official letter from your military employer certifying your length of service, the amount of time you worked in each specialties, the make and model of the aircraft or engine on which you got practical experience, and where you got the experience. You cannot count time you spent training for the specialty, only the time you spent working in the specialty.
With both types of on-the-job training you should set aside additional study time to prepare for the written and oral/practical tests. The FAA will give you credit for your practical experience only after we review your paperwork and you have a satisfactory interview with an FAA Airworthiness inspector.