Become an IA

What is an IA
To begin with people often ask what is an IA. An IA is an FAA licensed Airframe and Power plant Mechanic with authorization to do inspections, the FAA term is Inspection authorization which is added to the FAA mechanics license. A mechanic with this addition or designation on his FAA mechanics license is commonly called an “IA”. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) initiated the issuance of the Inspection Authorization (IA) more than 35 years ago. This system of allowing qualified mechanics the privilege of performing certain inspections has served well in the maintenance of aircraft. Receiving an IA designation and performance of the duties of that certificate greatly enhance the privileges and responsibilities of the aircraft mechanic. The permits the Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) mechanic with Inspection authorization designation to perform a greater variety of maintenance and alterations than any other single maintenance entity. 

FAA Licensed Airframe and Powerplnat mechanics also know as Aviation Maintenance Technicians, after a minimum of three years of working in their field, May acquire an Inspection Authorization, which is an additional rating that is added to their Airframe and Powerpolant Mechanic Certificate. These AMTs are allowed to perform annual inspections on aircraft and sign off for return to service on major repairs and alterations on the required block of the FAA form 337.

What are the FAA Regulations for Becoming and working as an IA:
FAR Part 65.91: Applicants must meet FAR Part 65.91which include:
An application for an inspection authorization is made on a form and in a manner prescribed by the Administrator.
An applicant who meets the requirements of this section is entitled to an inspection authorization.
To be eligible for an inspection authorization, an applicant must -
Hold a currently effective mechanic certificate with both an airframe rating and a powerplant rating, each of which is currently effective and has been in effect for a total of at least 3 years;
Have been actively engaged, for at least the 2-year period before the date he applies, in maintaining aircraft certificated and maintained in accordance with this chapter;
Have a fixed base of operations at which he may be located in person or by telephone during a normal working week but it need not be the place where he will exercise his inspection authority;
Have available to him the equipment, facilities, and inspection data necessary to properly inspect airframes, powerplants, propellers, or any related part or appliance; and
Pass a written test on his ability to inspect according to safety standards for returning aircraft to service after major repairs and major alterations and annual and progressive inspections performed under part 43 of this chapter.
An applicant who fails the test prescribed in paragraph (c)(5) of this section may not apply for retesting until at least 90 days after the date he failed the test.
For more Information on FAA regulations for Inspection Autrhorization See the following:
FAR Part 65.92: Duration
FAR Part 65.93: Renewal
FAR Part 65.95: Privileges and limitations
Click Below for: Checklist, Guides and Application Forms for Becoming an IA:
FAA-G-8082-11 Inspection Authorization Knowledge Test Eligibility Requirements
Inspection Authorization Knowledge Test Guide
Inspection Authorization Application Form
Helpful Steps to Becoming an IA
Make sure you had your FAA airframe and powerplant (A&P) license for at least three years before applying to get an IA certification. The FAA wants to know that you have experience in the field and expects you to have your A&P license for at least three years. You should have actively worked on aircraft for at least the last two years preceding your application. Before you take your FAA written exam you must submit your application for your IA (FAA form 8610-1) to the FAA office in the area you will be working in.
Make sure you can show to the FAA you have a fixed base of operation. You should be able to be contacted there during normal business hours via telephone or in person.
Make sure you have the necessary equipment at your disposal to perform inspections. You need to own a basic set of hand tools and any specialty items required by the FAA to perform the tasks at hand.
Study for the FAA written exam. You need to obtain study materials to brush up on the basics and learn all there is to know about passing the IA certification test. Some parts of the country offer study courses with hands-on practice, while others offer DVDs or written materials to help you pass the exam.
After you Pass the FAA IA certification written exam. You will then go to the FAA office in the area you will be working and you must be able to prove to inspectors that you can adhere to the FAA guidelines ensuring that you know the safety standards necessary for returning aircraft to service.