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Degree Overview: Associate’s (A.A.) in Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) Technology

Majors Overview November 19, 2013

A.A. Programs in A&P technology offer training for students to inspect, maintain, and repair aircraft components and systems. These Programs will include classroom and hands-on training on using certain equipment and tools.

A.A. Programs in A&P Technology

Students enrolled in Associate Degree Programs, in A&P Technology, are trained to acquire Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) A&P certification, as the law allows only FAA-certified technicians to work on aircraft.

Those enrolled in these associate degree programs, in A&P technology aircraft maintenance or aviation technology, are trained over three to four semesters in the maintenance and repair of systems, related to various aircraft components including engines. Classroom lectures focus on aerodynamics, hydraulics and electrical circuits; also often included are training in blueprint reading and drafting skills. Extensive hands-on instruction is used to supplement theoretical classroom training towards the development of skills in the use of test equipment and specialized tools. The FAA-required protocols in administrative functions and record keeping are also taught.

Education Requirements

Admissions criteria typically require applicants to hold either a GED certificate or high school diploma. The passage of entrance exams may be mandatory for admission to some programs. Students may also be required to buy related tools once they are admitted into the program. Proficiency in speaking, reading and writing English is a general requirement, as FAA certification requirements include it.


A&P subjects are typically combined with broad academic courses, such as mathematics and English. Coursework is devised to train graduates in working on aircraft parts such as oxygen systems, landing gear, fuel systems, electrical circuits, fuselage and wings and may include:

•Fire protection systems
•Engine systems
•Aviation materials

Career Choices

Graduates from the Program can expect to gain the necessary skills and knowledge to get hired with aircraft manufacturers, executive aircraft servicer and airlines. Various career options include:

•Aircraft restorer
•Maintenance supervisor
•Aircraft technical writer
•A&P technician
•Aircraft mechanic

Certification and Continuing Education Choices

Passage of oral and practical tests, administered by an FAA Designated Mechanic Examiner, is a requirement for FAA certification. Prospective certified mechanics are also expected to pass a written exam administered at an approved computer-testing venue. Certification, which is valid for two years, must be renewed through work experience gained during the previous 24-month period, or training for a certain number of hours.

Schools offer Bachelor’s degree programs in related areas such as aerospace administration and operations, in addition to aviation maintenance technology. Those who graduate from these programs may aspire for management roles in the industry. Degree requirements in some programs may also include norms relating to previous work experience and education.

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