Is it helpful to have an A&P certificate as a pilot?

I am new here so this may have already been asked before.

Is it beneficial to have an A&P certificate to become a pilot? Are there any pilots that have this certificate or a degree in the maintenance/engineering field of aviation? I recently read here in another discussion that to become an airline pilot with the known airlines, [such as Delta, American, United, etc.] one will need a degree rather than the regional airlines. Does a certificate even count in this instance? Just wondering and wanted to ask since I am already enrolled in Embry-Riddle for a maintenance degree but since I am also working on my A&P right now, the certificate will be the first thing I get before the degree which will probably be in the future years to come.


Obviously if you want to work on airplanes you need your A&P but if you want to fly them having it won’t help you one lick nor will any “certificate”.

If it’s something you enjoy them by all means but if your goal is to fly then you need to fly.


Understood, it does makes sense obviously. Just knowing the aircraft and the purpose to each component/system and how it all works with each other is something I want to do before I begin flying. It’s true, flying and working on airplanes are two different careers. I am still undecided right now if I will push toward flying for a career or a hobby but, I do still want to get a pilot license in the future, for sure.


The A&P knowledge will help you in the systems specific aircraft training. It will help you more than my journalism degree helped me. However, if you want to fly a degree is the only requirement regardless of the field it’s in. Once you make it to the airlines, the pilots have very little to do with maintenance on the aircraft. Our job is to notice an abnormality, notify Mx through a write up procedure and then verify airworthiness before going flying.


The only time an A&P cert gives you an edge with employers is in the corporate world.

Some smaller companies like having an A&P pilot that can do both jobs when needed. BEWARE, many of these places only pay you for 1 job even though you may be doing 2. Know your worth.

Having an A&P I’ve seen help pilots catch other Mechanics mistakes easier and possibly have a better understanding of systems than other pilots. I’ve seen this regarding wiring and speed tape fixes done incorrectly.

But overall it is not needed and takes years to get.

Chris F

Thank you for the replies, everyone. May have been an obvious question to answer but it doesn’t hurt to ask.


Other than helping with your knowledge of aircraft systems, an A&P certificate will do absolutely nothing to help further your career as a pilot. Flying airplanes and fixing them are very different jobs, there is less overlap than you might think.

No, a certificate is not the same as a college degree. While the majors have relaxed their degree requirements, a four year degree is still a huge advantage when applying for a job with the airlines.



A&P mechanic here. I’ve been on the maintenance side for about 6 years. I’m switching over to the “dark side” as my fellow mechanics would call it (ATP start date 01 May).

The work is interesting and rewarding. You’ll never know everything and there is always something new to learn. The pilot shortage is bad, but I would be willing to bet that there is a bigger mechanic shortage. Right now is an amazing time to get into aviation! Pay is decent, but you will constantly hear complaints about how much more pilots get paid.

That being said, your body will hate you. There are so many tight spaces in an airplane. I’ve spent hundreds if not thousands of hours working in very awkward positions. Not to mention the amount of jet fuel showers and hydraulic fluid shots to the face(10/10 would not recommend, that stuff is spicy!). You spend years working third shift (around 9 pm to 7 am). I’ve heard many stories of mechanics dropping dead of cancer at relatively young ages.

I’m not trying to discourage you from being a mechanic. Just informing you of things that people don’t really consider.

Side note:
Embry-Riddle is super expensive compared to the other options out there. An A&P from a community college will get you to pretty much anywhere you want to go in aviation MX (at way under 1/2 the cost of Embry-Riddle).

Good luck with whatever you decide.


1 Like