If you have entered or are thinking of entering the aircraft maintenance field, you may be wondering what type of certifications there are available to you to help you further your career. When looking into certifications, there’s a good chance that you stumbled upon the A&P Certification, or license. The Airframe and Powerplant Certification, often shortened to A&P Certification, is actually a combination of two ratings:
- Airframe (A): the mechanical structure of the aircraft, including wings, fuselage, tail section, and landing gear
- Powerplant (P): the engine of the aircraft and its components
In your quest to become certified, you have the option to seek both or only one of the ratings. But how do you go about getting this certification and what can you do with it once you have it? If you’re wondering one, or both of these things, maybe we can help! Read on to have these and maybe even more of your questions answered.
What is A&P certification?
Alright, so you know what the A and P stand for now, but what exactly is this certification? If you gain this certification, it means that you have passed written, oral, and practical exams with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for both ratings. Passing these exams shows that you have the knowledge and skills to maintain, repair, and inspect aircraft. Although most people only think of commercial airplanes when they hear “aircraft”, it also applies to helicopters, propeller-driven airplanes, jets, and any other aircraft that has been registered with the FAA.
How to be eligible for A&P certification?
You are not required to be certified to be an aircraft mechanic. However, you will bbe supervised by someone who is. To be eligible for this certification, there are certain requirements set up by the FAA that you must meet. They are:
- You must be at least 18 years old.
- You must be able to read, write, speak, and understand English.
After those two requirements, there are a few more options for becoming eligible. Graduating from an FAA approved Aviation Maintenance Technician School. If you are in the military, then you can complete the Joint Service Aviation Maintenance Technician Certification Council (JSAMTCC) training course.
However, attending a school or training course aren’t your only options. If you are already employed with a facility that is engaged with the construction, maintenance, and/or alteration or aircraft, powerplants, and/or appliances you may gain your practical experience that way. If you are seeking certification in only Airframe or only Powerplant, then you are required to have 18 months of practical experience with the procedures, practices, materials, tools, machines, and equipment generally used in each field. However, if you are going for both Airframe and Powerplant, then you must have 30 months of practical experience for performing duties for both areas.
Finally, if you are going to get your certification, there are three written examinations. One is general, and then there is one each for airframe and powerplant. Then there are also oral and practical tests to pass.
What can you do with A&P certification?
Because the exams set up by the FAA to become certified are so rigorous, A&P certifications are very highly regarded when you begin your job hunt. Employers that see you have an A&P certification are going to know that you have the drive and experience to handle anything. Tim Murry, the Director of Education at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Norfolk, says, “The A&P is what I would call a master key. There are so many ways to utilize it.” As you will see, there’s many more career paths than just with major commercial airlines. Here are just a few other industries in need of mechanics with A&P certification.
- Government/ DoD Contractors
The government and their sub-contractors are always looking for certificated A&P mechanics to maintain, overhaul, and repair their fleets of aircraft. From supersonic manned aircraft to drone technology, you’ll see a myriad of different aircraft when working for the government.
With Elon Musk’s SpaceX and other private companies looking to the stars, commercial space travel may be in the not-so-distant future. With this up-and-coming field, A&P mechanics will surely be needed for the upkeep of these new aircraft.
With the world still in the middle of a pandemic, more people are online shopping than ever before. From clothing to electronics and even groceries, it seems like everything can be delivered straight to your doorstep these days. A major factor in getting your products to you are aircraft. And these aircraft need to be maintained by someone: A&P certified mechanics.
- Historic/ Vintage Aircraft
If you’ve ever been to an airshow, then you’ve probably seen a magnificent array of historic and vintage aircraft. Although there are a great many dangling from wires in museums, there are even more being preserved and restored back to their former glory and even being flown. For certified A&P mechanics with a passion for not only their work, but for history, they can get the chance to get these vintage and historic aircraft up in the sky once more.
Want to learn more?
At NCI, it is not required for you to get your A&P certification. However, now you’ve seen what doors it can open for you. If you’re interested in becoming an aircraft maintenance technician, check out our site. And if you have any questions about what it takes to become A&P certified, you can contact us today! It’s never too late to get your career off the ground with NCI!