Certification Process for AMT Students & Others
The information provided in this section is for future AMT students and those who are wanting to receive authorization to test through work experience. If you are already attending or have completed an AMT program you can skip this section and go directly to the written or oral and practical sections.
Certificates and Ratings Issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
The FAA issues a single mechanic certificate with an Airframe (A) rating, or a Powerplant (P) rating, or both (A&P) ratings to qualified applicants.
The Requirements for a Mechanic Certificate (License)
The requirements are prescribed by Federal Aviation Regulations, 14 CFR Part 65, Certification; Airmen Other Than Flight Crew Members. The applicant must be:
At least 18 years old;
Able to read, write, speak, and understand the English language (with certain exceptions permitted);
Able to meet the experience, knowledge, and skill requirements for at least one rating; and
Able to pass all the prescribed tests within a 24-month period.
General Education Prerequisites or Medical Certificates
The FAA does not have educational prerequisites or require medical certificates for airframe and powerplant certification. However some employers may have established minimum high school education and physical requirements for employment at their organization.
Correspondence Courses for Airframe and Powerplant Certification
The FAA does not recognize any correspondence course in lieu of practical experience or graduation from an FAA-approved aviation maintenance technician school.
However, once you have met the experience requirements and received your authorization to test from the FAA, there are many methods to study for the required examinations. Based on your personal abilities, self-study, online courses, test prep type courses or any combination are all viable options.
Pathways to Obtaining an Airframe and Powerplant Certificate
There are two distinct pathways for non-military persons to qualify for an airframe and powerplant certificate.
Working under the supervision of other certificated mechanics
Finding an Aviation Maintenance Technology Program Certificated by the FAA.
14 CFR Part 65.77 Experience Requirements - States - Each applicant for a mechanic certificate or rating must present either an appropriate graduation certificate or certificate of completion from a certificated aviation maintenance technician school or documentary evidence, satisfactory to the administrator, of -
(a) At least 18 months of 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; or
(b) At least 30 months of practical experience concurrently performing the duties appropriate to both the airframe and powerplant ratings.
Presenting Documented Evidence. You must have your work experience evaluated by an FAA Aviation Safety Inspector through a Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) or International Field Office (IFO) to receive authorization to test. Some FAA Inspectors will conduct a review of your records over the phone or via zoom call and when your documents are in order, sign your 8610-2s digitally.
Acceptable forms for presenting aviation experience are:
Applicants with airframe and/or powerplant mechanic's helper experience may have a letter signed by an FAA mechanic with an A&P rating who supervised the helper's work. The letter must have verifiable experience listed in 50 percent of the subject areas listed in part 147 appendices B, C, and D for the rating sought in order to be eligible. All experience must add up to 18/30 months for the rating(s) sought.
NOTE: Manufacturing of any type of aircraft, including amateur-built experimental, does not count towards practical experience. However, practical experience gained on amateur-built aircraft after the aircraft has received an Airworthiness Certificate may count.
NOTE: For part-time practical aviation maintenance experience, the applicant must document an equivalent of 18 months for each rating individually, or 30 months concurrently, of experience for both ratings. This is based on a standard workweek that has 8 hours per day for 5 days per week, or a 40-hour workweek, or a total of approximately 160 hours per month. The time is cumulative, but the days, weeks, and months are not required to be consecutive.
Evaluating Experience. Aviation maintenance experience gained under the supervision of certificated mechanics will receive evaluations on their own merits to determine whether it fulfills the experience requirements.
Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application (FAA Form 8610-2)
The Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application (FAA Form 8610-2) is the document that provides all the pertinent information of the applicant and will be used through the complete certification process.
The front side of the 8610-2 provides for the rating(s) sought, applicant's personal information, experience basis for certification, a record of experience, applicant's certification, and FAA Airworthiness Safety Inspector (ASI) endorsement indicating all experience documents were reviewed and considered to meet the regulatory requirements for the rating(s) sought.
The reverse side of the 8610-2 is where the Designated Mechanic Examiner (DME) documents the results of your oral and practical examination.
You will need to have 2 copies with original signatures for oral and practical testing. When the certificate process is complete you will receive one completed copy and the second copy will be part of your certification package and go to the Airman Certification Branch of the FAA in Oklahoma City, OK.
It is imperative that the FAA Form 8610-2 is completed correctly or it will delay your certification. Read and follow the instructions provided carefully.
A few of helpful tips:
DO NOT use your social security number
Use your full name as it is indicated on the identification you will be using
It is common practice for applicants exiting the Military or in a temporary residence to use a relative's address as their permanent address and later change it after they have secured a permanent address. It must be a physical address.
NOTE: When you complete your oral and practical examination successfully, the DME will issue you a temporary airman certificate, and your package will be sent to the FAA, and once processed they will issue your permanent certificate. This process could take as long as 120 days to complete. Make certain that the address you use is where you can receive your permanent certificate by mail.
Find an Aviation Maintenance Technology Program
Aviation Maintenance Technology programs are FAA approved and fall under 14 CFR Part 147. Although they meet the same Federal requirements there are some major differences to consider. Mainly, cost, location, size of the school, and length of the program. In this section, I'll provide an overview of the types of schools, things to consider when selecting a school, and links to some of the schools in Georgia and where to find a school closest to you regardless of where you're located.
Basically, each school falls into one of two categories, State-funded and operated or Privately owned "for-profit". There are positives and negatives to each. There isn't a good or a bad, it just depends on which type of school meets your personal needs.
State Funded Programs
State-funded schools have both a financial advantage and financial disadvantage over private schools. The financial advantage is they have the support and funding of the state they are located and they don't have to show a profit. This is a double-edged sword since the AMT program usually is one of many programs and has to share state-funded resources with those other programs.
Because of state budgetary challenges which change annually, sometimes the school may struggle for funds, and the share given to the AMT program makes it difficult for equipment upgrades or replacement parts for aircraft, engines, tools, and consumables.
Class size is another principal advantage of state-funded schools. Part 147 does provide size limitations and instructor/student ratios, however many state school enrollments fall well below those instructor/student ratios making a better learning environment for the student.
Since these schools are funded by the state they also have higher entrance qualifications that are established by the state and not a Part 147 requirement. There is usually some type of entrance examination requirement, especially if the school is a degree-granting institution. Since there are usually state educational requirements, often there are courses in addition to the FAA required courses. Most of the state schools are also on a college quarter or semester system which makes it almost impossible to complete the program in less than 24 months.
Another consideration is location. Many of the state schools are in locations that have smaller populations and aren't always convenient because of housing and employment limitations. Some may not be able to travel the required distance to the school without temporarily relocating.
Most state-funded schools do little or no advertising, especially for individual programs. Unfortunately for residents of the state, aren't aware of the opportunities near them. On several occasions I tested individuals from the military that grew up in an adjoining county to a state-funded AMT program, they graduated from high school and never knew there was an aviation program less than 20 minutes away. Ironically they joined the service to work on airplanes.
Probably one of the best things about a state-funded school is the cost to attend. Since they are not for profit the tuition fees are substantially less than the privately-owned programs that have to show a profit to survive.
Privately Funded Programs
The owners of private schools have a very substantial investment in their facilities, tools, equipment, staff, and personnel. Since they are for-profit they have to charge higher tuition fees in order for the owners to get a return on their invested dollar.
Most of the time they are located in high population areas, which makes it convenient for a lot more people to attend. Being for profit they have to maintain a certain student number in order for them to realize a profit. This usually means larger class sizes, however, they still must operate within the guidelines of Part 147.
Since they aren't restricted by state educational requirements, many times there isn't any type of entrance examination requirement. This makes it easier to enroll in these programs. Since only Part 147 classes are taught, the overall length of the program can be substantially shorter, taking less time to complete. Getting a job sooner than later can help offset the additional cost of the program.
Private schools also advertise heavily, and many times have paid recruiters that have enrollment quotas to meet. This can be challenging for people visiting the school for the first time because of their sales pitch.
Things to Consider When Selecting a School
One size doesn't fit all. Since everyone is at a different stage in life there won't be one school that will meet everyone's needs. You may be a recent graduate of high school and still have family support while you continue your education. Or you may be older with your own family and already established in a community with an inability to relocate.
Unless you already have selected a specific school to attend, I recommend that you visit as many schools as you can. Do your research, gather as much information on each school, and compare programs. Knowledge is power, so the more that you can learn upfront can save you a lot of time and hundreds if not thousands of dollars in the long run.
What are your career goals? Are you only after the airframe and powerplant certificate, or do you want to leave with a college degree in addition to your certification? A college degree isn't necessary for entrance-level aircraft mechanic positions however most of the management positions will require a degree for consideration. Although at this time it may seem a little premature to think about management, it may something in your future. Many people continue their education while working, taking online courses, and/or attending school part-time.
How long is the program? All the schools will meet the requirements of 14 CFR Part 147, so they are basically required to teach the same subjects to the same standard. The difference would be how the program is structured. Programs could range from 13 months to 24 months in length. The state-funded programs are usually 24 months because of the state-required classes and the semester system they follow. Using the Department of Labor statistics, the low end of the current industry average pay is $3,247.50 per month. Something to consider when comparing programs of different lengths.
Does the school have any tutoring assistance? It is important that the school provides resources or assistance if a student is struggling in a particular class or hands-on project. Not everyone has equal mechanical skills, and sometimes a student still needs a little extra time and guidance to become reasonably proficient at a task.
Where is the school located? You may or may not have a school close to where you live. So when considering a school to attend you have to think about the availability of affordable housing. Does the school have dormitories? Or is there suitable and affordable housing for you and your family?
Are there any part-time employment opportunities? Ideally, it would be best if you can focus all your attention on your education and not have to work. However, this isn't always the case so part-time employment is a consideration. Does the school have any locale relationships to help their students in need?
Where is the school located? Is the school at an airport? Although this isn't an FAA requirement, it does add to the atmosphere of the school. Seeing aircraft take off and land while at school puts you in aviation and is a constant reminder of what you're there for. It can be very motivating.
What does the school look like? Seems like an odd question to ask, however, the way the school is laid out and maintained can give you some very important insight. Are the buildings worn, the classrooms unkept, shop areas cluttered? Do the students wear uniforms? Are they engaged in the classes you're observing? Do the instructors look professional? These all could be an indication of a school that's either not run properly or is underfunded. A mismanaged or underfunded program can have a negative impact on the education and training you receive there.
How much does the program cost? Most people attending school will have to obtain student loans, so the big question is, how much will I owe when I graduate? There can be a big difference in the cost of programs so make certain you compare and fully understand what your financial commitment will be. There can be as much as a $30,000 to $40,000 difference in the cost of programs.
What type of Industry connections or partnerships does the school have? Schools that have established relationship with employers is very important. Does the school have internships or apprenticeship programs with any companies? Having these types of relationships and programs is a tremendous advantage to the students. The student can gain valuable experience and sometimes paid while participating in these programs.
What are Students saying about the school? If at all possible it would be good to speak to both past and present students who are currently enrolled or have attended the school. Check online reviews of the school and social media posts. These reviews from students and parents can give you an idea of how the school treats its students and meets the student's needs. Be cautioned though, you need to filter what you read online and not take it all as 100% true. There may be some other reason for the review.
What are employers saying about the school? If at all possible it would also be good to speak to representatives of companies that have hired graduates of the school. Although specifics won't be given there may some general sense of opinion about the graduates of that school.
There is a lot to consider. As stated previously, everyone's situation is different, so take a little time to review and compare your options. It may take a little longer, however, the effort will pay off by knowing that you've made the best choice for you.
Aviation Maintenance Technology Programs Located in Georgia
Atlanta Technical College
1560 Metropolitan Parkway
Atlanta, GA 30310
Aviation Institute of Maintenance
2025 Satellite Pointe
Duluth, GA 30096
Savannah Technical College
Aviation Training Center
170 Crossroads Parkway
Savannah, GA 31407
Middle Georgia State University
71 Airport Road
Eastman, GA 31023
South Georgia Technical College
900 South Georgia Tech Parkway
Americus, GA 31709
Aviation Maintenance Technology Programs in Other States