Become an Aviation Mechanic
Are you interested in a career that provides well-paid opportunities and ensures the safety of the flying public? FAA-certificated Aviation Maintenance Technicians (AMT) work in highly-technical specialty occupations involving the continued operational safety of products and articles, keeping U.S.-registered aircraft operating safely and efficiently.
AMTs hold highly-transferable skills that can be used in a broad-range of industries; career opportunities in the aviation sector include employment at airlines, fixed-base operators, manufacturers, repair stations, aviation maintenance schools and in business or general aviation. Specialty fields include avionics, balloons and airships, rotorcraft, and unmanned aircraft systems.
The mechanic is a maintenance technician certificated by the FAA based on personal knowledge gained through training and experience, which is demonstrated via successful completion of written, oral, and practical tests.
Career & Wage Information
AMTs usually work at Maintenance and Repair Organizations (MROs), airlines, or in commercial/corporate or general aviation (GA), but may pursue careers in other organizations as well. See the links below to learn more about what AMTs do, their work conditions, and average wages.
- Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians (Occupational Outlook)
- Aircraft Mechanics and Service Technicians (Occupational Employment and Wages)
- Avionics Technicians (Occupational Employment and Wages)
If you are interested in a career as an Avionics Technician, the training and experience requirements are different from those for an AMT. Many Avionics Technician employers highly recommend you also possess an Aviation Mechanic certificate with an Airframe rating.
Check out our FAQs.
The Aviation Mechanic certificate has two ratings – the Airframe (A) and the Powerplant (P). If you decide to seek both ratings, this is commonly referred to as an "A&P Certificate".
- You must be
- at least 18 years old; and
- able to read, write, speak, and understand English language.
- You must have at least:
- 18 months of practical experience with the procedures, practices, materials, tools, machines, and equipment generally used in constructing, maintaining, or altering an airframe or powerplant, appropriate to the rating sought; or
- 30 months of practical experience concurrently performing the duties appropriate to both the airframe and powerplant ratings.
- You may also be eligible:
- by graduating from an FAA-approved Aviation Maintenance Technician School (AMTS) or
- by completing the Joint Service Aviation Maintenance Technician Certification Council (JSAMTCC) training course for military personnel.
- You should be familiar with Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 65, subpart D, Mechanics.
- Many of the AMT test questions are based on content from the AMT Handbooks:
- AMT-General Handbook (Handbook) (PDF)
- AMT-Airframe Handbook (Volume 1) (PDF), (Volume 2) (PDF)
- AMT-Powerplant Handbook (Volume 1) (PDF), (Volume 2) (PDF)
- You must pass the knowledge (written), oral, and practical tests.
- The knowledge, oral, and practical tests are based the following testing standards:
- Until July 31, 2023, the subject areas contained in the Aviation Mechanic General, Airframe, and Powerplant Practical Test Standards, as appropriate to the rating sought.
- After July 31, 2023, the aeronautical knowledge subject areas contained in the Aviation Mechanic General, Airframe, and Powerplant Airman Certification Standards, as appropriate to the rating sought.
- The knowledge, oral, and practical tests are based the following testing standards:
- There are three knowledge tests required to receive the Aviation Mechanic certificate with Airframe and/or Powerplant ratings. You must take the knowledge test(s) before you will be able to take the oral and practical tests. Additional information on knowledge testing.
- Once you have passed the appropriate knowledge tests, you will be administered the oral and practical tests by a Designated Mechanic Examiner (DME) using the above referenced testing standards.
Guides & References
- Test Aids and Materials that may be used by Airman Knowledge Testing Applicants (AC 60-11)
- Inspection Authorization Information Guide (PDF)
- Reference Materials & Subject Matter Knowledge Codes for Airman Knowledge Testing (AC 60-25F)
Standards & Test Questions
- Practical Test Standards
- Test Questions
- Aircraft Mechanic Oral, Practical, & Written Tests
- English Language Skill Standards Required by 14 CFR Part 61, 63 and 65 (AC 60-28)
- Number of Questions & Passing Scores (PDF)
- Public Norms Online Reports
- Conduct of Airmen Knowledge Tests (Order 8080.6)
- Find Knowledge Test Centers
Note: “Aviation Mechanic” and “Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT)” are considered equivalent terms. “written test” and “airman knowledge test” or “knowledge test” are considered equivalent terms.
Q. What Aviation Mechanic certificates and ratings are issued by FAA?
A. The FAA issues a single certificate with an Airframe (A) rating, a Powerplant (P) rating, or both (A&P). There is no requirement to obtain both ratings.
What are the eligibility requirements for an Aviation Mechanic certificate and ratings?
A. The requirements are prescribed in Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR)part 65, Certification: Airmen Other Than Flight Crewmembers, Subpart D - Mechanics. An applicant must be:
- at least 18 years old;
- able to read, write, speak, and understand the English language (with certain exceptions permitted);
- able to pass all the prescribed tests within a 24-month period; and
- able to meet the experience, knowledge, and skill requirements for at least one rating.
What are the general educational prerequisites for obtaining the Aviation Mechanic certificate?
A. The FAA does not prescribe any general education requirements. (Note: Some employers may require a minimum of a high school diploma or evidence of having passed the General Educational Development (GED) exam.)
Do I need a medical certificate for an Aviation Mechanic certificate?
If I have a physical or medical disability, will it disqualify me from getting an Aviation Mechanic certificate?
A. No, unless your disability impacts the eligibility requirements. If your disability has such an impact, contact your local FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) for more information. (Note: Some employers have established physical or medical requirements for employment as an Aviation Mechanic with their organization.)
Will my experience as a non-certificated mechanic or repairman, for a repair station, qualify as experience toward an Aviation Mechanic certificate?
A. Yes, your experience will qualify, as long as you performed the work on an airframe, a powerplant, or both.
Do I need any other certificate to work on avionics equipment?
A. There are no additional regulatory certifications required to perform work on avionics equipment. If you do not have an Aviation Mechanic certificate, or a Repairman certificate, with appropriate privileges and limitations, you may only perform aviation-related work when supervised by a person with a valid Aviation Mechanic certificate with an Airframe rating, a Powerplant rating, or both. If you maintain or alter, or perform preventive maintenance, you must do that work in such a manner, and use materials of such a quality, that the condition of the aircraft, airframe, aircraft engine, propeller, or appliance you worked on will be at least equal to its original or properly-altered condition. Also, if you do not have a certificate, you are not authorized to approve an aircraft airframe, powerplant, propeller, appliance or component part for return-to-service; and, you are less likely to advance to the top of this career field. So, even though there are no additional certification requirements to work on avionics equipment, you must have the knowledge and skill required to perform the work, which is not presumed just because you hold an Aviation Mechanic certificate. This is why many employers have additional qualification requirements for individuals that work on avionics.
What is the difference between an FAA certificate and a license?
A. The terms "certificate" and "license" tend to be used interchangeably - the FAA Aviation Mechanic certificate is frequently referred to as a license. If you are issued an FAA certificate, it means you have been found to possess a particular skill level, with certain authority, privileges, and limitations.
How do I get a Repairman's certificate?
A. To get a Repairman's certificate, you must:
- be at least 18 years old;
- be able to read, write, speak, and understand English;
- be qualified to perform the specified maintenance on aircraft or components;
- be employed or a hold specific job requiring special qualifications by an FAA-certified Repair Station, commercial operator, or air carrier;
- be recommended for the repairman certificate by your employer; and
- have either 18 months of practical experience in the specific job,. or complete a formal FAA-approved training course.
Does the FAA issue any specialist ratings for certificated Aviation Mechanics; i.e., ground equipment specialist, welder, or electronics specialist?
How much Aviation Mechanic experience do I need to qualify for the Aviation Mechanic certificate?
A. You must have a minimum of 18 months of appropriate experience for each rating, or 30 months of concurrent experience for both ratings.
Is there a charge for issuing the Aviation Mechanic certificate?
I hold an aircraft maintenance license issued by a country other than the U.S. May I be granted an FAA Aviation Mechanic certificate based on my aircraft maintenance license?
A. No, even if you are issued a similar certificate or license by a country other than the U.S., you must still meet the FAA eligibility requirements and pass the required tests to be issued an FAA Aviation Mechanic certificate.
Where can I find more detailed information about the requirements, application procedures, and tests for the FAA Aviation Mechanic certificate?
A. The current issue of Advisory Circular 65-2 contains detailed information about the certificate requirements, application procedures, and the knowledge and O&P tests.
Where can I get information about Aviation Mechanic jobs?
A. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides information regarding the occupational outlook for Aircraft Mechanics, Service Technicians, and Avionics Technicians. You may do an internet search to locate companies looking to hire Aviation Mechanics.
Can I work as an aviation mechanic without being certificated?
A. Yes. However, without being certificated, you can only perform the maintenance work in the following instances:
- under the supervision of a certificated airframe and/or powerplant mechanic
- Under the supervision of a certificated repairman;
- Under the authority of a part 145 repair station
- Under the authority of a part 121 or part 135 air carrier operating certificate.
Approval for return to service after the completion of work can only be done by a certificated individual, or using the procedures of the part 145, 121, or 135 certificate holder.
Am I required to have an Aviation Mechanic certificate to get a job as an airline mechanic?
A. No, possession of an Aviation Mechanic certificate, for employment by an air carrier, is not an FAA regulatory requirement. However, air carriers often call for an Aviation Mechanic certificate as a hiring requirement. If you have one, this could lead to enhanced opportunities and higher wages throughout your career.
Am I required to have an Aviation Mechanic certificate to work in a certificated repair station?
A. No, but, depending on the repair station policies and the specific position you are seeking, you may be required to have an Aviation Mechanic certificate.
Mechanic experience requirements
Can I obtain the necessary experience and skill to qualify for an Aviation Mechanic certificate and rating(s) without attending an FAA-certificated AMTS?
A. Yes, but, to be successful, you will need practical experience as described in 14 CFR part 65, section 65.77. You may obtain this experience and skill through employment with any facility engaged in the construction, maintenance, and/or alteration of an aircraft, a powerplant, and/or an appliance. The experience must meet the full-time requirements specified in part 65, and must be based on a typical, full-time, 40-hour work week. You must have documentation establishing civilian experience. Examples of acceptable documentation are: pay receipts for tasks accomplished; or records or logs signed by a certificated supervisor and detailing the number of hours spent performing the work, the exact task experience and/or type of work, and the registration number of the aircraft on which the work was performed.
I have 10 years of experience as an Armed Forces jet aircraft mechanic. Why do I have to demonstrate knowledge and skill in such areas as woodwork, welding, dope and fabric, weight and balance, etc., for a civil mechanic certificate?
A. Aviation Mechanic certificate privileges allow AMTs to perform maintenance, and perform return-to-service approvals, in many areas. If you are the holder of an Aviation Mechanic certificate, you are relatively unrestricted when working on a particular type of aircraft or specialized maintenance function, as long as you have the knowledge and skill required to properly perform the work. This is why FAA-certificated Aviation Mechanics are required to obtain basic knowledge and skill to support a wide range of areas.
I worked 10 hours a day, 6 days a week, for a total of 3,120 hours, as an A&P Mechanic Apprentice during the past year. Since this time is equal to the number of hours accumulated by working 40 hours a week, for 18 months, does this comparable mechanic experience time qualify me to take the AMT knowledge tests?
A. No, 14 CFR part 65, Certification: Airmen Other Than Flight Crewmembers, Subpart D - Mechanics, does not provide for anything less than 18 months of practical experience for issuance of an Aviation Mechanic certificate, with a single rating. Likewise, part 65 does not provide for anything less than 30 months of practical experience, concurrently performing the duties appropriate to both the Airframe and Powerplant ratings, for an A&P certificate.
If I meet the experience requirements for the Aviation Mechanic certificate, can I take the required tests while in the Armed Forces?
What is the process for obtaining an Aviation Mechanic certificate based on previous experience?
A. You will need to make an appointment to visit a FSDO. Bring two completed FAA Form 8610-2 applications, and all documentary evidence of your experience for the ASI to evaluate. If the ASI deems your documentation adequate, you will receive authorization to take the AMT knowledge tests. After you have passed the knowledge tests (with a score of 70%, or greater), you will need to make an appointment with a DME. Give your knowledge test results to the DME, who will then administer the oral and practical (O&P) portions of the testing process. After you have satisfactorily completed the O&P portions of the testing process, you will receive a Temporary Mechanic Certificate.
Mechanic Airman Knowledge Test
Can I take the AMT knowledge and oral and practical (O&P) tests if I am in the Armed Forces and stationed overseas?
A. Some military bases overseas may have the ability to administer FAA airman knowledge tests. At this time, there are no Designated Mechanic Examiners (DMEs) located outside the U.S. to administer the O&P portions of the tests.
Do I have to graduate from an AMTS to qualify to take the Aviation Mechanic knowledge test?
A. No; however, graduation from the appropriate course of an FAA-certificated AMTS is one way to meet the experience requirement.
What documents do I need to provide for ASI evaluation, prior to taking the knowledge test?
A. All Aviation Mechanic knowledge test applicants need to provide appropriate proof of identification to the ASI. You should also present documentary evidence from former and current employers indicating your length and type of experience. If you graduated from an AMTS, you should present your graduation certificate. If you were an Aviation Mechanic in the U.S. Military, you should present your: DD Form 214, including information on your length of service, the schools you attended, the MOS codes you worked under, and the time worked for each code; your personal evaluation records; and a letter from either your Executive Officer or Classification Officer.
How do I obtain permission to take the AMT knowledge test?
A. If you present evidence, only in the form of documented practical experience in maintaining an airframe and/or a powerplant, you will need go to a FSDO, and present your completed FAA Form 8610-2, Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application, to an ASI, to receive authorization to test. If you are a graduate of an AMTS with an FAA-approved curriculum, you may present your graduation certificate as eligibility to take the AMT knowledge tests.
What document(s) must be presented prior to taking the Aviation Mechanic oral and practical tests?
A. If you are applying for the O&P tests, you must present your Form 8610-2, along with your Airman Knowledge Test Reports (AKTR), indicating you passed the AMT knowledge tests, to an FAA-approved DME
What are the AMT knowledge test questions like?
A. The knowledge test questions are of the objective, multiple-choice type. Practice exams are located on the PSI (True Talent) Website
If I fail any part of the written or oral and practical test(s), how soon can I apply for a retest?
A. If you fail any part of the knowledge or O&P tests, you may apply for retesting 30 days after the date you failed the test. Or, you may apply before the 30 days have expired, if you present a signed statement from an airman holding the certificate and rating you are seeking. The statement must certify you have received additional instruction in each of the subjects you failed, and that the certifier considers you ready for retesting. You may refer to the Aviation Maintenance Technician page of the FAA Airman Knowledge Testing Matrix (PDF) for additional information.
What is the validity period for an FAA-issued Aviation Mechanic certificate?
A. Your Aviation Mechanic certificate is valid until it is surrendered, suspended, or revoked.
Is there a fee for taking the AMT knowledge tests?
A. Yes, the AMT knowledge tests are administered through commercial, FAA-approved testing centers. You may contact PSI for additional information on testing fees.
Is it true that I may test, at no cost to me, if I qualify under the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the FAA and the Joint Service Aviation Maintenance Technician Certification Council (JSAMTCC)?
A. Yes, if you are an eligible individual, within one of the following groups, you may take your AMT knowledge tests at no cost: active-duty, guard, and reserve component personnel of all U.S. BOSs; dependents of active-duty, guard, and reserve component personnel of all U.S. BOSs; U.S. Military retirees; DoD civilians; and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) civilians.
How do I test for an FAA Aviation Mechanic certificate?
A. This list of required steps apply to you, whether or not you are a U.S. citizen. If you are issued a similar certificate or license by a country other than the U.S., you must still meet the FAA eligibility requirements, and pass the required tests, to be issued an FAA Aviation Mechanic certificate:
- Before you can test, you must make application to the FAA using Form 8610-2. You must fill out the form and present it to an ASI at a FSDO. If you are an AMTS graduate, you do not need to present Form 8610-2 to an FAA Aviation Safety Inspector (ASI).
- The ASI will evaluate your practical experience working on airframes and/or powerplants. If you meet the experience requirements, the ASI will sign the FAA Form 8610-2 authorizing you to test.
- If you do not already have an FAA Tracking Number (FTN) (PDF), you must register for one prior to taking the knowledge test(s).
- You may then make an appointment with an Airman Knowledge Testing Center to take the AMT exam(s). You must present your FAA-signed Form 8610-2 to the testing center showing your authorization to test. If you are an AMTS graduate, you must present your graduation certificate to the testing center as authorization to test.
- Once you pass the applicable knowledge tests, you must make an appointment with a DME for the O&P tests.
Is there a fee for taking the Aviation Mechanic O&P tests?
A. Yes. O&P tests are conducted by FAA-approved DMEs
How much time am I allowed to complete the Aviation Mechanic knowledge tests?
A. You are allowed up to two hours, each, to complete the Aviation Maintenance Technician (general, airframe, and powerplant) knowledge tests. You may refer to the FAA Airman Knowledge Testing Matrix (PDF)for additional information.
Can I take the AMT knowledge test(s) at night or during the weekend?
A. You will need to contact the specific Airman Knowledge Testing Center to inquire about their hours of operation.
What documents must I present to retake a previously-failed AMT knowledge test?
A. FAA Form 8610-2 and a valid AC Form 8080-2, Airman Written Test Report, for the preceding test.
As a foreign national, what do I need to show to the FAA in order to take the Aviation Maintenance Technician tests?
A. If you are a foreign applicant located in the U.S., you need to meet the same requirements as a citizen of the U.S. in order to apply for the AMT tests. This also applies if you travel to the U.S. for the purpose of taking the AMT tests. If you apply based on experience only, you must have verifiable experience in 50 percent of the subject areas listed for the rating sought (refer to 14 CFR part 147 appendices B, C, and D) in order to be eligible.
Miscellaneous Mechanic Questions
What is an FTN?
A. An FTN is an FAA Tracking Number. If you do not already have an FTN, you will need to register for one via the Integrated Airman Certificate and Rating Application (IACRA). Once you have registered for an FTN, this number will stay with you throughout the entire knowledge, oral, and practical testing processes. Once you have your FTN, you can register for and schedule your knowledge test(s) with PSI. Note: Even though you will use IACRA to register for your FTN, IACRA is not yet programmed to accept Aviation Mechanic certificate applications. You will need to utilize the paper application forms.
I intend to prepare for the FAA AMT knowledge tests by taking courses during my spare time. Which courses do you recommend?
A. Aviation Maintenance Technician Schools (AMTSs) offer FAA-approved curriculum that may be used to establish eligibility to test for an Aviation Mechanic certificate. If you are already eligible to take the AMT tests, based on previous training or experience, you may choose to take a test preparation course(s). You may do an internet search to find information on companies that offer test preparation courses/materials.
Where can I get a list of Designated Mechanic Examiners?
A. The FAA’s Designee Locator Search is located at https://designee.faa.gov/#/designeeLocator
Are there any other Aviation Mechanic-related reference materials available to me?
A. Yes, the Aviation Maintenance Technician Handbooks used for the General, Airframe, and Powerplant subject areas can be viewed and downloaded, free of charge, on the FAA’s Aircraft Handbooks & Manuals page.