What Will I Learn at an Airplane Mechanic School?

Attending airplane mechanic school can help you prepare for certification as an airframe and powerplant mechanic. Read on to learn more about airplane mechanic programs and employment prospects. Schools offering Aviation Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Airplane Mechanic School Overview

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most airplane mechanics -- also called aircraft mechanics or aviation mechanics -- get their education at a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)-approved aircraft maintenance technician school (www.bls.gov). After successfully completing such a program, you receive a certificate of completion that qualifies you to take the FAA exams to become certified in airframe and powerplant mechanics. The FAA provides a list of approximately 175 approved schools across the country (www.faa.gov).

Degree programs in aviation maintenance technology are also an option and include 2-year associate and 4-year bachelor's degree programs. In order to earn a degree, you must complete general education courses in addition to the required aviation maintenance courses. Some bachelor's degree programs require you to already have your FAA license in airframe and powerplant mechanics.

Less commonly, aircraft mechanics receive their training on the job. In such cases, you must have a high school diploma and work under supervision until you have the knowledge and skills necessary to become certified. Military training in aviation maintenance may also qualify you to enter this occupation.

Important Facts About Airplane Mechanic Schools

Prerequisites High school diploma, or equivalent
Specializations Management, safety
Online Availability Fully available for certificate programs, associate's and bachelor's degrees
Possible Careers Development engineering; electrical power generation; hydraulic components and system designing; manufacturing engineering; technical writing

What You'll Learn

An airplane mechanics program is designed to teach you how to diagnose, adjust and repair aircrafts, including engines and assemblies like hydraulic and pneumatic systems. Many of these systems are electronic, and electronic technology is often a major focus. Certificate and associate degree programs focus more intently on maintenance skills, while bachelor's degree programs include a broader educational focus. Coursework may include:

  • Engine systems
  • Fuel systems
  • Sheet metal and composite materials
  • Aircraft structures
  • Airframe systems

Certification Requirements

You aren't required to have a license or certification to become an aircraft mechanic, but without it you must work under the supervision of a certified mechanic. Thus, becoming certified often improves employment options and earning potential.

The FAA offers two certifications, or ratings, for airplane mechanics. The airframe mechanics (A) certification covers body work, whereas the powerplant mechanics (P) certification covers engine work. Although these certifications are awarded separately, employers may prefer that you have both A&P ratings.

You must have 30 months of experience in order to sit for the A&P exams. If you are pursuing only one of these ratings (A or P), you need 18 months of experience to take the certification test. If you complete a Part 147 FAA-approved aviation maintenance program, your education may substitute for the experience requirement, allowing you to become eligible for the exams more quickly.

The A&P exams consist of written, oral and practical components, designed to demonstrate that you have the basic knowledge and skills to become an airplane mechanic. You must pass the exams within two years. You must then complete relevant maintenance work within the following two years in order to keep your certification.

Salary Information

According to the BLS, aircraft mechanics and service technicians earned a mean annual wage of $65,230 as of May 2018. Texas and Florida were the top employers of airplane mechanics, whereas Kentucky and Nevada awarded the highest yearly salaries -- $79,590 and $78,380, respectively. Job growth for this profession is predicted to be 5% over the 2016-2026 decade.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
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  • Purdue University Global

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    Popular programs at Purdue University Global:

    • Associate Programs

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  • Penn Foster

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  • Kansas State University

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    • Kansas: Manhattan
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    • Illinois: Carbondale
  • University of Alaska

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    • Alaska: Anchorage
  • Milwaukee Area Technical College

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    • Wisconsin: Milwaukee
  • Wichita Area Technical College

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    • Kansas: Wichita
  • Utah State University

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    • Utah: Logan
  • Western Nebraska Community College

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    • Nebraska: Scottsbluff