Experience Requirements to Become an Aircraft Mechanic

There are two ways you may obtain the training and experience necessary to become an FAA-certificated Airframe and/or Powerplant Mechanic:

  • Academic training through an FAA-certificated Aviation Maintenance Technician School (AMTS)
  • On-the-job training (OJT) that provides practical experience with the procedures, practices, materials, tools, machine tools, and equipment generally used in constructing, maintaining, or altering airframes or powerplants, appropriate to the rating sought.

Once you meet the OJT experience requirements, there are commercially available A&P refresher courses and A&P prep courses that will help prepare you to pass the airman knowledge written, oral, and practical tests.


An AMTS (also known as a “147 School”) is an educational facility certificated by the FAA in accordance with 14 CFR part 147. These schools train prospective aircraft mechanics for careers in the airline industry, aviation maintenance facilities, and commercial and general aviation (GA). An AMTS may offer Airframe and/or Powerplant courses, along with Avionics courses, which cover electronics and instrumentation.

For most 147 Schools:

  • To attend, you must first have your high school diploma or evidence of passing the General Educational Development (GED) Exam. 
  • Your estimated completion time will be from 18 to 24 months, depending on which rating(s) you want. You should contact the AMTS directly regarding their specific enrollment and course completion requirements
  • When you graduate, you should be prepared to take the applicable airman knowledge tests. A graduation certificate from an AMTS provides you with eligibility to test for a mechanic certificate, provided you meet all other eligibility requirements, for example, minimum age, and English language requirements.


Things you should know about OJT:

  • It is usually the most inexpensive method for gaining the required experience.
  • You will need to consistently document your OJT activities. We recommend you document your experience on an Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) log. You can purchase a logbook, develop a log of your own, or document your activities using a sample log you find online. On your log, be sure to include these important details:
    • Maintenance task performed
    • Time spent on each task
    • Validation by a certificated Airframe and/or Powerplant Technician
  • You may gain OJT through military service or civilian experience.
  • Military Service - The Department of Defense (DoD), in collaboration with the FAA, established the Joint Service Aviation Maintenance Technician Certification Council (JSAMTCC). The JSAMTCC delivers civil aviation training courses to military personnel, through a partnership with the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF). The JSAMTCC also evaluates aviation-related specialties for all U.S. Military Branches of Service (BOS).
    • To find out which military specialties the FAA may grant credit for, look for your BOS and Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), Air Force Specialty Code (AFSC), or Naval Enlistment Code (NEC). These specialties are listed in FAA Order 8900.1, Flight Standards Information Management System (FSIMS) Volume 5, Chapter 5, Section 2, Figure 5-135. Military Occupational Specialty Codes.
    • Depending on your specialty, the FAA may grant you credit for your military aviation maintenance experience toward the Airframe and/or Powerplant ratings.
    • Your BOS will document and file your training and experience records for you.
    • If you are an active duty military member, you should make application at your local FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO). An FAA Aviation Safety Inspector (ASI) will interview you to evaluate your experience. To apply, bring:
    • all documentation of your training and qualifications.
    • a letter from your from your Executive Officer, Maintenance Officer, or Classification Officer certifying:
      • your length of military service;
      • the amount of time you worked in each MOS, NEC, or AFSC;
      • the make and model of aircraft and/or engine on which you acquired the practical experience; and
      • where you obtained the experience.

Note: You will not be authorized to test just because you served in the military. Also, you cannot count time you spent training for the specialty, only the time you spent working in the specialty.

  • For additional information on the JSAMTCC Program refer to FAA Order 8900.1, Flight Standards Information Management System (FSIMS) Volume 5, Chapter 5, Section 2
  • Civilian Experience – You may gain OJT by working or volunteering at a maintenance facility. For example, you may wish to request assistance from a Flying or Aero Club in finding OJT opportunities at local airports. When doing your civilian OJT, you will need to:
    • Be supervised by a mechanic who holds an Airframe and/or Powerplant certificate.
    • Provide documentary evidence of your experience that is acceptable to the FAA Administrator.
    • Set aside time to prepare and study for the airman knowledge (written) test, as well as the oral and practical tests.

Documentary Evidence

The FAA may give you credit for your practical experience after an ASI has reviewed your documentary evidence. Your documentary evidence must show that you meet the time requirements (18 or 30 months, as applicable) and during that time you gained actual experience with the procedures, practices, materials, tools, machine tools, and equipment generally used in constructing, maintaining, or altering airframes or powerplants, appropriate to the rating sought.  The more documentary evidence you provide to the ASI, the better. (Please be advised that practical experience means actually performing maintenance. Time spent in training cannot be accepted for either the time or experience determination made by the FAA.)

Documentary evidence is any record you provide that shows proof of training and OJT the practical experiences you have completed. Examples include:

  • aviation-related course completion certificate;
  • training record;
  • (DoD) DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty;
  • evidence of additional military qualifications (for example, Collateral Duty Inspector (CDI), Quality Assurance Representative (QAR), Assignment to the Quality Assurance Department; Engine Turn Qualification Endorsement, etc.;
  • AMT log signed by your supervising mechanic;
  • a statement from your employer that you earned practical experience with procedures, practices, materials, tools, machine tools, and/or equipment used in constructing, maintaining, and/or altering an airframe or a powerplant for the required time; and
  • letter of recommendation.

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Last updated: Wednesday, December 14, 2022