Before I get into the subject of getting college credits for mechanics who earned their A&P certificate before August 1, 1989, I must address a couple of major changes that have occurred since my last article "Credit Due" was printed (AMT May/June 2001). These changes affect the college credits for mechanics that were issued their A&P after August 1, 1989.
The first change is to correct a mistake that I made writing the article. Instead of saying that the American Council on Education (ACE) will honor mechanic certificates issued after August 1, 1989, I said, August 1, 1988. The mistake is mine alone and I offer my sincerest apology for the error.
The second change also refers to the same article. I wrote that ACE would be sending out postcards to all eligible mechanics in the September/October time frame. This is not true anymore. ACE changed their mind on the procedures on how to apply for a transcript when they learned from FAA Airman Registry that there were over 172,000 names on the FAA mechanic database. So the sheer numbers of eligible mechanics killed the postcard idea.
Making it happen
With this new procedure change, if you are a mechanic that has been issued an A&P after August 1, 1989, and your current address is in the FAA database, you can petition ACE for a transcript and recommendation for 67 undergraduate credit right now. To make this new change in procedures happen, you need to do the following:
Prepare a letter asking ACE for a transcript that recommends 67 college credits in recognition of your mechanic certificate with airframe and powerplant ratings. The letter must include the statement that the A&P was issued after August 1, 1989 and:
1. Your first, middle and last name
2. Date of birth
3. Social Security number
4. Current address and telephone number
5. Notarized or certified true copy of your A&P certificate
6. A $30.00 check made out to ACE
Identify the address were you want the ACE transcript sent — either to your home or to a college. (Additional transcripts for other colleges are $5.00 each).
After ACE reviews your documentation and confirms your name, certificate number and address with the FAA supplied database, they will prepare a confirmation letter stating your eligibility status and a transcript listing 67 ACE recommended credits. They will send the transcript to you or to the college of your choice.
Send the letter and the documentation to:
ACE A&P Credit
American Council on Education
One Dupont Circle NW, Suite 250
Washington, DC 20036-1193
College credits for pre-August 1989 mechanics
As stated in my last article, ACE will grandfather recommended credit for the FAA A&P exams up to a maximum of a 10 years (August 1989). This left a large number of us older mechanics out in the cold. So, I started calling colleges and universities that I thought might be interested in getting more students. While many schools were familiar with ACE, almost none of the admissions directors ever heard of an A&P mechanic even though they offered aviation courses. One individual thought the A&P had something to do with a supermarket chain. Another problem that I ran into is some colleges used semester hours and others use credit hours, which adds to the confusion of figuring out the total cost of this adventure.
Anyway, enough complaining, after many phone calls, I only came up with two colleges that answered my request for information in writing in time for this article’s deadline and allowed college credits for the A&P rating, and use distant learning for students.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
600 S. Clyde Morris Blvd.
Daytona Beach, FL 32114
Thomas Edison State College
101 West State St.
Trenton, NJ 08608
E mail at email@example.com
Please understand that I cannot recommend either Embry-Riddle University or Thomas Edison State College as "the" college to get a degree. As an FAA employee, I cannot endorse any college or university.
I need a little help
It is my plan that within the next year to get 10 accredited colleges to accept ACE recommended credits for those mechanics who hold pre-August 1989, A&P certificates. If the college you are investigating balks at the idea of granting you the equivalent of ACE’s 67 recommended credits, here is an argument you can use. A college should accept certificates issued before August 1989 because the FAA airframe, powerplant, and general examinations, which the ACE credits are based on, have not changed in content since 1966 when the regulations were recodified into the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) from the Civil Aviation Regulations (CAR). The only thing that the FAA did change routinely was the written test questions, for obvious reasons. However, the required courses of study and levels of training required by Part 147 (content) has not changed because the rule has not changed.
I know that there are approximately 1200 colleges and universities nationwide that will accept ACE recommended credits, in addition there is an unknown number of good colleges that will credit the A&P based on its own validity. Because of the number of schools, there is no way this side of the line that one bureaucrat can research all of them for the best deal. So, I need your help. During your quest for a degree, if you happen to stumble upon a good accredited college that is:
2. Accepts ACE recommended credits, or stand alone credits for the A&P
3. Offers good training for a fair price
4. Has a reasonable time to finish a degree
Please send me the name, address, and telephone number of the college, the degrees offered and the number of credits accepted. My E-mail address is william.o’firstname.lastname@example.org.
When I have the names of 10 colleges, I will publish the list on the PAMA and FAA websites for the world to see.
There are two reasons why I want to list 10 colleges on the Internet. The first reason is to give you, the mechanic, some choices for a degree program to spend your hard-earned money on. The second reason is to stimulate competition between the schools for your dollars. The college that offers the best mechanic-friendly courses, reasonable costs, and reasonable time to earn the degree will win the biggest share of a untapped market of A&P mechanics. The market is a big one consisting of a market potential of 172,000 prospective students working on the hangar floor right now.
Now keep in mind, because of legal entanglements, the publishing of the list is for informational purposes only, and does not mean that PAMA or the FAA supports or promotes in any way the colleges that are on the list.
Getting ACE recommended college credits for the A&P will have a major impact on our profession. I also believe that older mechanics will have at least 10 colleges that will offer them credits based on their A&P within a year.
This college initiative is the first giant step we must take to change public recognition of an aircraft mechanic to a career professional. This change will be a mixed blessing. It will carry with it our hope for a better future for our profession, and at the same time, will also disconnect us from the familiar and the comfortable. It will take time, money, and sweat to change our world and how others perceive us, and we will do it — not because we can do it, but because we must!