Your Guide to Obtaining an A&P “License”

Are you interested in becoming an aircraft technician/mechanic, but don’t know where to start? In this beginner’s guide, we’ll discuss what an A&P (Airframe and Powerplant) Certification is and the steps on how to get an A&P “license”.

Accepted worldwide, an A&P “license” is one of the most respected mechanical and technical credentials that an individual can obtain. The certification is highly sought after in the aviation industry, as it indicates a fundamental level of technical expertise and knowledge.

What is an A&P Certification/”License”?

In order to sign off on much of the work preformed on US aircraft, aircraft mechanics are required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to prove their knowledge by obtaining specific certifications. Individuals who earn both the Airframe and Powerplant certifications are authorized to perform maintenance, repairs, or tests on an aircraft.

Note that the A&P are certifications, although the term “license” is often used instead throughout the industry.

PIA’s curriculum includes theoretical knowledge as well as practical hands-on training to ensure individuals possess the necessary expertise to work on aircraft engines safely and effectively.

What is an Airframe?

In the aviation industry, the Airframe refers to the structure of an aircraft, including the fuselage, wings, empennage (tail assembly), and other structural components. Airframe technicians/mechanics are responsible for performing maintenance and repair work on these components to ensure that the aircraft is safe and in good working order.

What is a Powerplant?

A Powerplant refers to the engine and its associated components, including the fuel system, ignition system, lubrication system, cooling system, and other engine-related systems. These are critical components of an aircraft that require specialized knowledge and skills to maintain and repair.

Once individuals obtain a Powerplant Certificate, they are authorized to perform maintenance, repairs, inspections, and alterations on aircraft engines within the scope defined by their “license”. This includes tasks such as engine troubleshooting, component replacement, and engine overhaul.

Requirements for Obtaining an A&P Certificate1

To obtain an A&P “license”, an individual must meet certain requirements set forth by the FAA. These requirements include:

  1. Age: Applicants must be at least 18 years old.
  2. Education/Language: Applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent. Applicants must be able to speak, read, write, and understand English.
  3. Training/Experience: You can graduate from an FAA-Approved Aviation Maintenance Technician School like PIA, which includes both classroom instruction and hands-on experience. As an alternative to a formal training program, you must have 18 months of practical experience with either powerplants or airframes, or 30 months of practical experience working on both at the same time.
  4. Exam: Applicants must pass a series of examinations administered by the FAA. These exams are divided into three sections; General, Airframe, and Powerplant. For each of these sections, there is an oral, practical, and written examination.

Benefits of Obtaining an A&P Certificate

Obtaining an A&P “License” can provide numerous benefits for individuals interested in pursuing a career in aviation. Some of these benefits include:

  1. Job Opportunities: An A&P certification can lead to is highly respected in the aviation industry and can open many job opportunities, including working for airlines, maintenance facilities, and manufacturing companies.
    Boeing has projected that 134,000 technicians will be needed in North America in commercial aviation alone, from 2022-20412. Long-term demand for newly qualified aviation personnel remains strong, with projections that 610,000 new maintenance technicians will be needed to fly and maintain the global commercial fleet over the next 20 years.
  2. Salary: The median yearly salary for Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians in 2022 was $65,5503 with many opportunities for overtime and advancement.
  3. Job Security: The ATEC 2022 Pipeline Reports4 that currently, 38 percent of the Aviation Technician workforce is at or nearing retirement creating demand worldwide for individuals credentialed with an Airframe and Powerplant “license”.

Should I get my A&P Certification?

Respected worldwide, an A&P is a highly in-demand credential that qualifies an individual for a wide variety of career possibilities. Take our free Career Readiness Quiz to help you determine if a career in aviation is right for you:


An admissions representative will contact you with more information about becoming an aviation technician.

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