What to Know Before Aircraft Maintenance Technician Training

Posted: April 20, 2021 | Author: Jaidyn Crookston | Read Time: 10 minutes

What to Know Before Aircraft Maintenance Technician TrainingAre you thinking of becoming an aircraft maintenance technician (AMT)? If you want to become an AMT, there are some things you need to know before you begin training. Becoming an AMT is a great career for those who prefer working with their hands, want to work in an exciting environment, and love airplanes and helicopters.

Many potential students ask what they need to know before becoming an AMT, so we created a guide to help you out. Here’s everything you need to know before becoming an aircraft maintenance technician.

How to Qualify for AMT Training

Even before you attend AMT school, you’ll need to meet at least two qualifications:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Read, write, and speak English

These are the only requirements given by the FAA before you start your training. Before you get your license you’ll have to meet a few more qualifications, but otherwise, there shouldn’t be anything holding you back from becoming an AMT.SUU Aviation technician working on a plane

AMT School or On-the-Job Training

The FAA specifies that to get your A&P license, you must graduate from an FAA-approved aviation maintenance technician school, or you must get 18 months of practical experience with either powerplants or airframe, or 30 months of practical experience working on both at the same time.

This means that you can technically skip AMT school and get a job working as an AMT without a license, and then take the exams and get your license once you have enough experience.

The drawback to this is that it will probably be pretty difficult to get a job without already having an A&P license. If you’re able to get a job working as a mechanic without a license, then this is the cheaper option, although it will be more difficult to learn correct procedures and techniques without proper instruction in a classroom setting. It will also be much more difficult to pass the FAA exams without going through a part 147 school, because these schools prepare you specifically for the exams you must pass to be licensed as a mechanic.

Most people who want to become an AMT go to an FAA-approved AMT school. There are AMT schools all over the country and you should be able to find one that fits your budget and has a good program.

Choosing An AMT School

SUU Aviation technician

When it’s time to choose an AMT school, there are a couple of things you should look for. It’s always a good idea to research multiple schools and compare them to one another before deciding which AMT school will be best for you. Not everyone will enjoy the same programs, so it’s important that you find the school that best fits your goals, personality, and work ethic.

Here are a couple of things to look for while researching AMT schools:
  • University program vs non-university program
  • Price vs quality of education
  • Job placement rate
  • Industry connections
  • Length of program
  • Training techniques and curriculum
  • Past student reviews
  • University program vs non-university program

Something you definitely need to think about when looking for an AMT school is whether or not you want to attend a program that’s attached to a university. When you go to a university AMT school you’ll get an associate or bachelor’s degree along with your A&P license. While having a degree isn’t essential when becoming an aircraft maintenance technician, it’s definitely helpful and may open doors for you in the future. Employers like to see candidates who have a degree, and you may be able to get a job as a mechanic more easily when you spend the time required to get a degree. Also, if it’s your goal to hold some kind of management position in the future, you will almost definitely need a degree. While every program is different, university AMT programs come with the added benefit of having high standards set by both the FAA and the university. You know you’re getting a high quality education when you go to a good university AMT program.

You can learn more about the benefits of attending a university AMT school here. While this article is geared towards future helicopter pilots, many of the same ideas and principles apply to the AMT program as well.

Price vs Quality of Education

Keep in mind that the best AMT programs will probably be more expensive. If you want top-of-the-line training and the best chances for success, you’ll need to be willing to pay a little extra for a program that will give you what you’re looking for. Cheaper programs may give you the required hours and experience needed to take the FAA AMT exams, but they won’t give you much else. If you want a program that will support you and give you the best training possible, you’ll end up paying a little extra now, but will likely end up making more money in the future. Also, you’ll need to go through some kind of schooling, so you might as well go the extra step and get a degree.

Job Placement Rate

Something to look for when researching AMT schools is the job placement rate of the program. It’s always a good idea to attend a program that has a high job placement rate. If technicians graduating from the program are easily able to get jobs in the industry right out of school, then the school must be doing something right.

Industry Connections

This also goes along with looking at the school’s connections in the industry. If a school has strong connections or partnerships, students will likely have some advantage from that connection, such as a guaranteed interview or resources that otherwise wouldn’t be available to them. Having strong industry connections certainly isn’t a guarantee that you’ll get a job in the industry right away, and it shouldn’t necessarily be a top priority when looking for an AMT school, but it’s a good thing to know.

Length of Program

The length of a program may also help determine what AMT school you attend. Most AMT programs will take about two years to complete because that’s the time frame given by the FAA. Some programs may be a little shorter or longer than this. You need to know how long you’ll be training before choosing a school.

Learn more about how long it takes to become an A&P Mechanic.

Training techniques and curriculum

Learning about the program’s training techniques and curriculum can be very helpful when narrowing down schools. Something to keep in mind is that almost all AMT programs train students using outdated techniques and materials. This is regulated by the FAA and the schools have no say in what techniques and materials they’re able to teach to students. The first AMT school that is authorized by the FAA to train students using updated techniques and materials is Southern Utah University Aviation. Other schools may begin training with new regulations as the FAA updates old policies, but for now SUU Aviation is the first AMT school with the proper authorization.

Past Student Reviews

One of the best things you can do when looking for an AMT school is ask other students, past or present, what they think of the program. If you know someone in person who has gone to a certain AMT program or if you’re able to connect with them via social media, you should definitely find out as much about their experience as possible. Just keep in mind that even if someone didn’t have a positive experience, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a great program. Everyone will have different experiences and someone else may not enjoy the same parts of a program that you will. So while it’s great to talk to other students and get their opinions, make sure that in the end you’re making your own decision about what AMT school to attend.

More tips on how to choose the right AMT school.SUU Aviation, aircraft maintenance technician school

Finding Funding For AMT School

Once you’ve found the perfect AMT school, you’ll need to find a way to fund your training. AMT training may not be cheap, but it’s definitely worth it. There are many ways to fund your training, so don’t let the financial obstacle hold you back from your dream.

There are lots of scholarships available to AMT students. The more scholarships you apply for, the better your chance of getting funding. University students have access to university scholarships as well as AMT scholarships that aren’t specifically for university students. This means that if you go to a university AMT school you’ll have access to more scholarships than you will otherwise. Another perk of going to a university AMT school is that you’ll also have access to federal financial aid and student loans. Many AMT students pay for their training entirely through scholarships and financial aid.

What To Expect During Technician Training

Aircraft maintenance technicians need to be able to maintain and repair aircraft quickly and expertly. During AMT school you’ll go through intense training that will fully prepare you to take the AMT exams and get your A&P license. You’ll practice working on actual aircraft and will learn the different techniques needed to properly maintain any aircraft. The school you attend will determine which types of aircraft you’re working on and getting experience with, but chances are that you’ll get some experience in multiple types of aircraft.

Some AMT schools focus solely on fixed wing maintenance, and some include rotor maintenance at an extra cost. Very few schools include rotor maintenance as part of the standard curriculum for every student. If you want to work someday maintaining rotor aircraft, you should find an AMT school that offers this as part of the standard training.

Earning a degree while in AMT training won’t be much different than if you were in any other university program. You can expect to have homework and exams, just like any other university program. You’ll have to take standard classes such as math and English, in addition to all your AMT courses. You’ll have access to campus resources such as financial advising, academic advising, writing centers, tutoring centers, and anything else the university offers to students.

Options After You Finish Training

Once you’ve completed your AMT training, you’ll have the opportunity to take the A&P written, oral, and practical exams. You should be adequately prepared for all parts of the test, but if you do fail one or more sections you’ll have to wait 30 days to take the test again.

This license is what qualifies you to work as an AMT. Once you pass the test, you’ll be a licensed A&P mechanic. You’ll now be able to get a job working on aircraft anywhere in the world. Depending on your circumstances and the jobs available, you may be required to move across the country for a job, or even out of the country if that’s something you’re interested in. AMTs are in very high demand, and it probably won’t be hard to get a job as a mechanic, as long as you have the experience needed and are willing to relocate.
Once you’ve established yourself as an AMT you’ll be able to get a high paying job. As an experienced jet mechanic, you can make an average of $88,000 a year, according to salary.com.

Looking for an AMT school?

If you want to become an AMT, consider training at SUU Aviation. SUU Aviation is one of the top AMT schools in the country and is the only school authorized by the FAA to train students using updated techniques and materials. This updated training will give you an edge when looking for a job because your employer won’t have to spend time and money retraining you on the new techniques.

If becoming an AMT is your dream, SUU Aviation can help make it your reality. If you have any questions about the program or to learn more about what’s needed to qualify to become an aircraft maintenance technician, contact SUU Aviation.

Produced by SUU Aviation
The university's fleet includes 16 airplanes, 23 helicopters by the end of 2020, and state-of-the-art maintenance training facilities. SUU Aviation offers advanced and relevant flight training in the safest and most efficient way possible. The program continues to be on the cutting edge of the industry, training tomorrow's aviation leaders. With SUU Aviation, you’ll get a high-quality education and have the experience needed to get a job in the aviation industry.

Tags: Aviation

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