The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issues mechanics certificates. Certificated mechanics can have either an airframe rating (A) or a power plant rating (P) – most mechanics have both (A&P). To become an aircraft mechanic, you must pass three (3) types of tests; a written examination, an oral test and a practical test in each of three curriculum areas. There are separate curriculums for airframe and power plant mechanic certificate ratings, as well as a general curriculum requirement for either rating or both.
FAA-designated written testing centers perform knowledge-based written exams for General, Airframe, and Powerplant curriculums. To apply to take the written test, you must present your proof of graduation to an FAA inspector at the local FAA office. The inspector will determine that you meet the requirements for certification and sign off on required documentation. You may now make an appointment for testing at one of the many computer testing centers. The FAA has established a minimum passing grade of 70% on each of the exams.
FAA Designated Mechanic Examiners (DME) give you the oral and practical (O&P) tests. After the appropriate written exams have been passed (70%), all required documentation and written test results can be taken to a DME and the O&P can be scheduled. You can get a list of these examiners at the local FAA office. The O&P tests cover 43 technical subjects in the three curriculums. Typically tests for one certificate – airframe or power plant – take about 8 hours.
There are fees (approximately $1500) for all testing for A&P certification and are subject to change and beyond the control of the graduating institute.