FAA Basic Aircraft Mechanic Licensing Glossary

I'm a US Citizen. What requirements must I meet to get a mechanic's certificate?
  1. You must be
    • at least 18 years old;
    • able to read, write, speak, and understand English.
  2. You must get 18 months of practical experience with either power plants or airframes, or 30 months of practical experience working on both at the same time. As an alternative to this experience requirement, you can graduate from an FAA-Approved Aviation Maintenance Technician School.
  3. You must pass three types of tests;
    • a written examination
    • an oral test
    • a practical test
There is a fee for the test. A Designated Mechanic Examiner gives you the oral and practical test. You can get a list of these examiners at the local FAA office. The oral and practical tests cover 43 technical subjects. Typically tests for one certificate--airframe or power plant--takes about 8 hours.

To apply to take the written test, you must present your proof of experience to an FAA inspector at the local FAA office. There are separate tests for airframe and power plant mechanic certificates, as well as a general test covering both. If the inspector decides you meet the requirements to take one of the tests, you may make an appointment for testing at one of the many computer testing facilities (PDF) world-wide. You can get a list of sample general, airframe, and power plant test questions.

If you fail part of a test, you have to wait 30 days before you can take it again, unless you give a letter to the Examiner showing you've gotten additional training in the areas you failed.

You must pass all the tests within a 24-month period. The FAA will then issue you a certificate.

I'm not a US Citizen, and I live outside the United States. How do I get a mechanic's certificate?
You must meet all the requirements listed above for United States citizens. You must also meet the following requirements:

  1. Demonstrate you need a mechanic certificate to maintain U.S.-registered civil aircraft and you are neither a U.S. citizen nor a resident alien.
  2. Show the examiner your passport.
  3. Provide a detailed statement from your employer saying what specific types of maintenance you preformed on each aircraft, and how long you performed it.
  4. Provide a letter from the foreign airworthiness authority of the country in which you got your experience, or from an advisor of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), validating your maintenance experience.
  5. Make sure all the documents you provide are signed and dated originals.
  6. Pay the fee for the document review.

What if I can't meet the English language requirements?
We may waive the language requirement if you live outside the United States. We would stamp your certificate "Valid only outside of the U.S."

Do I need any other certificate to work on avionics equipment?
Not necessarily. If you do not have a mechanic’s certificate or a repairman’s certificate with appropriate rating from the FAA, you may only perform aviation related work when supervised by a person with a valid mechanics certificate with airframe rating, power plant rating or airframe and power plant ratings (A&P).. Also, without a certificate you are not authorized to approve aircraft, airframes, aircraft engines, propellers, appliances, or component parts for return to service and you are less likely to advance to the top of the aviation career field.

How do I get a repairman's certificate?
To get a repairman's certificate, you must be recommended by a repair station, commercial operator, or air carrier. You must

  • be at least 18 years old;
  • be able to read, write, speak, and understand English
  • be qualified to perform maintenance on aircraft or components
  • be employed or a specific job requiring special qualifications by an FAA-certified Repair Station, commercial operator, or air carrier.
  • be recommended for the repairman certificate by your employer
  • have either 18 months practical experience in the specific job or complete a formal training course acceptable to FAA.

For further information see:  FAA official requirement