How to Become an Aircraft Maintenance Technician (AMT) in the U.S.A. (Part 2)
When deciding to become an Airframe and Powerplant mechanic, most people hear and think their only option is to go to school. But did you know there was a second way to become a certified A&P? That’s right! There are two ways! Yes, it is true that the majority of those who decide to become an A&P technician choose to go the school route. Unfortunately, this route does not always work for everyone. For that reason, the FAA authorizes the second option, and that is by working at an Airframe and Powerplant facility, full time (40 hours a week), as an apprentice, or through military service experience.
During your time here, working at a facility, you must accomplish 18 months of either airframe or powerplant experience, also known as on-the-job training (OJT). However, if you hope to attain both certifications without going to school, you will need to accomplish 30 months of OJT. It does not matter if you worked 12 hours a day, seven days a week. The FAA does not accept anything short of the 18 months or 30 months as specified in Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations. It seems easy, right?
Remember, it is crucial that you keep written documentation of all your OJT activities. This means:
- Maintenance tasks performed
- Time spent on each task
- Signature of a certified A&P Technician verifying the job was completed.
Some employers who have apprenticeship programs will have their own OJT form for you to use. However, if your employer does not have a form to help you document your experience, there are other options you can consider. These include purchasing your own logbook, creating a logbook, or using a log template sample that you find online.
If there is any advice we can give you for filling your logbook out, it would be to make sure to fill your logs out as you go. Doing this removes any later frustration from trying to remember the details of what job you worked and when. Writing out your log as you go makes it easier to remember what the job was, when you performed the job, and how long you worked it.
Once you have satisfied these requirements, you will call your local FAA office to schedule an interview with an ASI for your approval to test. You will need to bring with you all of your documentation that proves that you have met and completed the required amount of training and two completed FAA Forms 8610-2 applications. Other items that you can bring with you to show proof of your completed work experience include, but are not limited to:
- Aviation- related course completion certificates
- Training records
- AMT logged and signed forms
- A statement from your employer that you have met the required qualifications
- Letters of recommendation
- Evidence of Military qualifications
The more documentation you bring with you, the easier it will be. Once the ASI feels that you have satisfied the requirements, they will sign your 8610-2 form authorizing you to take the AMT knowledge test.
Remember, if you decide that becoming a certified aircraft technician is the route you would like to take, whether you go the school route or the work experience and OJT’s, you still need to meet the requirements prescribed in Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 65. The applicant must:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Able to read, write, speak, and understand the English language.
- Able to pass all the prescribed tests within 24 months
- Meet the experience, knowledge, and skill requirements for at least one rating.
For further questions, head to the FAA.GOV website for a list of questions and answers about becoming a certified mechanic