The Advanced Guide to AMT and AMTE Training
Aircraft maintenance technicians (AMTs) are essential to the airline industry. AMTs are commonly referred to as A&Ps which is an abbreviation for Airframe and Powerplant technicians. They perform pivotal maintenance on aircraft and aircraft systems. AMTs also perform aircraft inspections as required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). They work at repair stations, in aircraft hangars and on airfields.
Aircraft maintenance is a demanding responsibility. Planes fly in and out of airports around the world 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. So, beginning AMTs will often be required to work long hours, sometimes during the early hours of the morning, late at night and even on weekends. According to the FAA’s website, approximately 37,000 mechanics are employed in general aviation. Yet there is a payoff for all of the hard work and odd hours. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the 2012 median pay for AMTs was $55,230 or $26.55 per hour.
Aviation Maintenance Technician Requirements
There are a few basic requirements that an individual will need to become an AMT. According to the FAA, you must be a United States citizen, be at least 18 years old, be able to communicate in English and have 18 months of practical experience with either powerplants 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. You must also pass a written exam, a practical test and an oral test. Those without a mechanic’s certificate can only conduct aviation-oriented work if supervised by someone who does hold a mechanics certificate. They will not be able to approve any aircraft or its parts for a return to operation.
To become a certified AMT, individuals have three options. After obtaining a General Education Diploma (GED) or high school diploma, an individual can attend one of the 170 FAR part 147 Aviation Maintenance Technician Schools nationwide as referenced above. Students will have to partake in studies for one to two years and upon graduation, they can take the required FAA exams. According to the FAA, graduates often get higher starting salaries than individuals who get their required experience in one of the other two ways. Or, an individual can work for 18 months at a FAA Repair Station or a Fixed Base Operator (FBO) under the guidance and supervision of a certified aircraft mechanic. The last option is to join the military to obtain the proper aircraft maintenance training and experience. Yet those who opt to jump right into on the job style training will still need to pass the FAA’s three exams in order to become a certified AMT.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of AMT jobs in the United States in 2012 was 138,900. In terms of future AMT job growth, the future doesn’t look bright, nor does it look gloomy. While aviation isn’t exactly a booming industry, it isn’t going anywhere either. People will likely continue to fly for the foreseeable future. This bodes well for the stability of AMT jobs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians is projected to show little or no change from 2012 to 2022. Job prospects will be best for mechanics that hold an Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) certificate.
For more information about aviation maintenance training, the Aviation Institute of Maintenance Aircraft Mechanic School Programs is where you can learn more. Visit our Consumer Information Disclosure page, Gainful Employment Disclosure and Consumer Information.