Aircraft maintenance technicians are the vital caretakers of safety in the aviation industry. Keeping aircraft in top condition, performing regular preventative maintenance, and being able to spot issues before they become serious are the responsibilities of these specialists. Their role in passenger safety is as critical as that of the pilots and crews that operate the aircraft.
Due to the critical nature of their role, the FAA has established technical certifications to qualify mechanics for their vital functions.
Qualifying as an Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) Technician means you have completed the required training and are certified to work on and maintain:
- Airframe: Wings, fuselage, tail section, and landing gear
- Power Plant: Aircraft engine and components
Only A&P-certified technicians are authorized to approve an aircraft to continue to fly.
Demand for A&P-Licensed Technicians
It is no secret that the need for aviation transport is growing at a rapid rate. Whether for passenger or freight transportation or private and corporate fleets, the demand for new pilots and trained mechanics to fill empty slots is reaching a near-critical stage. The rising consumer demand, combined with the normal attrition and retirement of existing personnel, are causing aviation companies to expand their reach and offer enticements for individuals to enter the industry.
Why Pursue A&P Certification?
Adding A&P Certification to your portfolio will add significant value to your career potential. As an A&P-Licensed Technician you:
- Are more likely to be hired in a better position because some aviation companies make A&P certification a prerequisite for hiring.
- Offer more value to any aviation company since you are qualified to work on both the airframe components and the engine. As a result, a company benefits from having a proven professional for both aspects of the aircraft. One person capable of performing more jobs saves money.
- Improve your chances of migrating to other areas of aviation like engineering, management, or even piloting.
- Earn more according to payscale.com, the average A&P-licensed technician currently earns $68,000 per year. Also, further up the career ladder, an Aviation Maintenance Director earns an average salary of up to $90,000 per year.
- Achieve greater job satisfaction, according to payscale.com.
A&P Mechanic Typical Job Description
The certified A&P mechanic will be responsible for inspecting, servicing, and for keeping aircraft in top operational condition. A&P Mechanics can work on engines, brakes, landing gear, brakes, and all other performance-related components. In some instances, the A&P Mechanic may work on or supervise maintenance on jets, propeller-driven airplanes, and helicopters.
Becoming an A&P Certified Mechanic
Individuals who have some experience plus an aptitude or interest in mechanical operations should consider working toward their A&P license. While there are many options for pursuing the education and experience required, here are the necessary qualifications.
U.S. Citizen candidates must:
- Be 18 years old or older
- Be fluent in English to work in the United States. Candidates may become licensed in another country but will not be able to work in the United States until they can prove their English fluency.
- Have some experience before starting the program. The experience could consist of 18 months working on airframes or powerplants or be a graduate of an FAA-approved school.
- Pass the pertinent written, oral, and practical tests.