Schooling lasts 12 months and 24 months, usually less than what is required by the FAA for on-the-job training. If the applicant wishes to take the test with a DME in another district, additional FAA approval will be required. To put this into perspective, you'll likely need experience with airframe and power plant maintenance to get a high-paying mechanical job. The FAA has strict regulations for obtaining your license in this way and requires you to be supervised by a licensed technician until you can obtain your own license.
Currently, SUU Aviation is the only AMT school authorized by the FAA to do this, as far as I know. Other AMT schools have to train students with obsolete techniques and materials because the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not yet updated the old regulations. With the exception of the JSAMTCC certification program, the experience of the a&p certification program gained in the military, work as a fuselage or power plant mechanic or work on an experimental aircraft built by an amateur on his own merits will be evaluated to determine whether it meets the requirements of experience. Attending a regular AMT school will provide you with rigorous training and feedback and prepare you for any situation, but will not train you in the newest techniques and materials due to outdated FAA regulations.
The FAA requires that each student needs a total of 1900 hours of hands-on and classroom training in order to take airframe and powerplant tests (license A&P). The JSAMTCC A&P certification program allows military applicants to obtain authorization to take the airframe and powerplant knowledge test (A&P) upon submission of a military eligibility certificate (see Figure 5-13) and a job performance certification form (see figure 5-13). Schools continue to operate under old FAA regulations that do not allow students to be taught new technologies and updated procedures. Refer to the current version of AC 65-11, Fuselage and Power Plant Mechanics Certification Information, for guidance.
Sample copies of the FAA Certification and Work Task Performance and the Certificate of Eligibility are found in Figures 5-136 and 5-137, respectively. SUU Aviation is the first school approved by the FAA to train AMT students in new and updated curricula and practices. FAA Manual 8900.1, Volume 5, Chapter 5, Section 2, Paragraph 5-1135 states that work performed on an experimental, amateur-built aircraft must be evaluated on its own merits to determine whether it meets the experience requirements. The FAA can interview an aircraft mechanic who meets this requirement and grant him approval to perform airframe and powerplant tests.
To qualify for the license, mechanics need 18 months of experience with airframes or power plants or 30 months of experience working on both at the same time.