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. Upon graduation, you may 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 FAA website. 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.