For anyone considering a career as an aircraft mechanic, it is important to know what licenses are available and what the requirements are for becoming an aircraft mechanic. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has strict regulations for obtaining such licenses.
Basic Aircraft Mechanic Requirements
There are several basic requirements that must be met to become an aircraft mechanic. Candidates must be 18 years old and able to read, write and speak English. Before applying for an aircraft mechanic license, candidates must have 18 months of practical experience with power plants or airframes, or 30 months of practical experience working on both at the same time. Graduation from an FAA approved Aviation Maintenance Technician School meets the experience requirement as well. Non-U.S. citizens must demonstrate a need for the license, have a valid passport, and provide a detailed statement from their employer specifying the type of maintenance the candidate will provide. In addition, the candidate must provide a letter from a foreign airworthiness authority in the country where the experience was obtained, or from an adviser of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) validating that the candidate meets the experience requirement. The English language requirement can be waived if the candidate lives outside the United States, but the license would be stamped as “Valid only outside the U.S.”
To become an aircraft mechanic, candidates must pass three tests—oral, written and practical—and there is a fee for each exam. A Designated Mechanic Examiner administers the oral and practical tests, and a list of examiners is available from the local FAA office. Those tests cover 43 technical subjects, and the tests for one certificate (either airframe or power plant) take as long as eight hours to complete. In order to qualify for the written test, proof of experience must be provided to an FAA inspector at the local office. Once the FAA inspector qualifies an individual to take the airframe, power plant or the general test covering both, the candidate makes an appointment at the nearest computer testing facility. Candidates must pass all tests within a 24-month period before a certificate is issued, and they must wait 30 days to retake a failed test—unless they provide proof of additional training in the areas they failed.
For those who do not have an aircraft mechanic certificate, all aviation-related work must be performed under the supervision of someone who does hold a valid certificate. Without a certificate, mechanics cannot approve aircraft, airframes, aircraft engines, propellers, appliances, or component parts for return to service. There is also little chance for advancement in the aircraft mechanic field.