How Do I Become an Airframe Mechanic?

Jeremy Laukkonen
Jeremy Laukkonen
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The career of an airframe mechanic is typically regulated by governmental authorities, so specific requirements for this type of job can differ depending on where you live. You will typically need to complete a training program at a technical school and pass a written examination, though it is sometimes possible to substitute practical work experience for the educational requirements. If you want to become an airframe mechanic in the United States, you will also need to demonstrate a proficiency with the English language.

Airframe mechanics are responsible for performing a wide range of maintenance and repair operations on a majority of the systems found in modern airplanes. In most cases, they are trained to repair everything but instruments and powerplants, which are considered separate specialties. Some training courses do cover powerplants though, and many airframe mechanics are also certified to do that type of work. In the United States, airframe and powerplant certifications are issued by the FAA.

Before you can become an airframe mechanic, you need to have graduated from high school and be older than 18. You will also need to understand and speak English fluently if you want to be licensed in the United States. Employees of US-based airlines can typically have this requirement waived if they work exclusively in other countries. In those cases, their licenses will typically state that they are not allowed to work as airframe mechanics inside the US.

The other main requirement to become an airframe mechanic is to have the proper training or experience. One way to receive this type of training is to attend an airframe mechanic program at a technical school. These programs typically last between 12 and 24 months, after which you will be ready to take the certification exam. There are also exceptions for experienced people who have worked as unlicensed mechanics, technicians, or helpers. According to FAA regulations, you need 18 to 30 months of applicable work experience before you can take the certification exam.

After you have met all of the prerequisites, the final step to become an airframe mechanic is to pass an exam and pay a licensing fee. Depending on where you live, you may have the opportunity to take a number of tests to receive different ratings. The FAA offers general certification in addition to specific airframe and powerplant certifications.

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