How to Find for FAA Testing Centers (All Tests)
Knowledge testing is a major part of the FAA’s Airman Certification Standards. Whether you’re applying to be an Airplane Pilot, Recreational Pilot, Flight Instructor, or Unmanned Aircraft pilot, a knowledge test will ensure that you pass the FAA’s standard for knowledge, skill, and risk management.
While there are so many facets to taking an Airman Certification knowledge test, let’s focus on one thing for this article – WHERE you’re going to take it. Regardless of what test you’re taking, how will you know which testing centers are located near you?
Sign up for the test via PSI
Currently, all certification exams for the FAA are administered by PSI. This partnership has allowed the FAA to extend the reach of their certification exams, as PSI has hundreds of testing centers distributed throughout the US. You might have heard of other companies in the past like CATS and Laser Grade, but everything has now been consolidated under PSI.
Use the PSI test center search function
To look for a test center, simply go to the Find a Test Center page on the PSI website. Just input the postal code for your preferred location, set a distance range where you would like to search for test centers (default setting is 50 miles), and specify which certification exam you’re taking.
This should bring up a list of all testing centers located within your location range. Details will include how far away each testing center is from your preferred location and its exact address. Clicking the address link will bring you to a pinned location in Google Maps. Each testing center also has a “Directions” button which contains information on any specific instructions for that specific testing center.
Sign up for the test
Once you’ve selected a testing center, you can go ahead and sign up for that certification exam you want to get. You will have to sign up for an account on the PSI website to do this. Make sure to check the documents and other requirements needed for your certification exam before signing up. You will also need to sign up for a fixed appointment schedule to take your test.
Take note that your preferred testing center may not show in your options, should it be a mismatch for your preferred schedule. The best thing you can do is to expand the range of your preferred schedule until your testing center of choice shows up on the list. It would be best to have a few testing centers to choose from to not have to go through multiple trial and error cycles.
Other things to remember
Create an FTN first
More recently, the FAA has required all certification applicants to secure an FAA Tracking Number (FTN) first before taking any of the tests. The FTN serves as your unique identifier with the FAA and will stick with you throughout your whole aviation career. This has also helped the FAA streamline their process and avoid errors in spellings of names.
If you don’t have an FTN yet, then sign up for an account on the Integrated Airman Certification and Rating (IACRA) website. You will be assigned a unique FTN upon signing up. You will then need this FTN to sign up for an account on the PSI website so you can use their services.
There are testing centers in US territories
If you live in the US territories of Guam, Puerto Rico, or Northern Mariana Island, then there just might be a PSI testing center near you. The number of testing centers in these places, however, are quite limited. There have been FAA testing centers in Europe and Asia in the past but these have seemingly disappeared from the list as of the last checking.
Check the list of things to bring
Each certification test has a unique list of documents and requirements. Make sure to check the list for the exam you’re taking, both before signing up for an appointment and right before you show up for the test. At the minimum, you will need to bring a government-issued photo ID for the testing center to verify your identity. You may also bring selected test aids and materials.
Take note of the testing fee
Some testing centers may charge a $96 testing fee, while others charge $160. The additional $64 is charged by testing centers outside of PSI’s owned and operated network and covers the cost of delivery of the testing materials. If it’s not bothersome for you, you can always pick a testing center that does not have this add-on cost. It makes no difference in terms of testing quality and experience.
You may cancel or reschedule your appointment.
If you need to reschedule your appointment, you may do so with no extra cost as long the request is done 24 hours or more before your schedule. The rule for cancellation is also similar, and you may get a refund for the testing fee given that cancellation was done within the prescribed period.
The engagement of third-party testing company PSI has expanded the reach of the capacity of the FAA to accept new certification applicants. This has made it easier than ever for US citizens to earn an FAA certification. The PSI website has also made it a lot easier to look for testing centers in or near your preferred location.