A skilled avionics technician plays a crucial role in the safety of your next passenger flight. Before the flight crew and passengers board the aircraft, an avionics technician settles into the cockpit with her aviation electronics test equipment. She confirms that the aircraft's engine, navigation, radio and weather radar systems operate correctly. If she discovers a minor electronic hiccup, she may be able to perform repairs and send the aircraft on its way. For a system-wide problem, she'll send the plane to the airline's maintenance hangar for extensive troubleshooting work.
You'll need a top-notch technology aptitude for an avionics technician job. To install and test an aircraft's computer-controlled operating and electronics systems, you'll need a strong command of circuit board, processor and chip operations. Plan to put your high-level computer skills to good use as you work with electronics equipment's hardware, software and applications programs. Finally, your calculus, statistics and geometry knowledge will prepare you to tackle real-world technology challenges.
The Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, mandates that an FAA-certified mechanic, or a worker under her supervision, must perform all aircraft maintenance and avionics work. The FAA issues separate airframe and engine certifications, although airlines and other aviation employers prefer a two-part Airframe and Powerplant, or A&P, certification.
Obtain your A&P credentials if you're at least 18, have English fluency and can document 30 months of related aircraft maintenance experience. Replace the employment requirement with certification from an FAA-Approved Aviation Maintenance Technician training school. Finally, you must pass a computer-based written exam, along with rigorous oral and practical examinations given by an FAA Mechanic Examiner. Once you receive your A&P certification, you can legally work on avionics equipment.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 6 percent employment growth for aircraft and avionics mechanics and technicians between 2010 and 2020. Reduce the effect of this slower-than-average growth rate by adding a bachelor's degree in aircraft maintenance to your resume. Finally, you may find more avionics tech jobs at major airlines' maintenance hubs or at larger airport-based maintenance operations.
Avionics Technician Programs
If an avionics technician job sounds like a top-flight career option, evaluate United States-based avionics training programs. Choose an institution that is exclusively focused on aviation career training; or select a multidisciplinary technical school that features a credible aviation training program.
An avionics technician program features courses in electrical theory as well as digital and analog circuits. You'll study aircraft electrical, navigation and radar systems operation. You'll learn correct avionics systems installation methods, essential soldering skills and test equipment calibration techniques.
2016 Salary Information for Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians
Aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians earned a median annual salary of $60,230 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians earned a 25th percentile salary of $48,370, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $73,680, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 149,500 people were employed in the U.S. as aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians.
- CollegeSurfing.com: Avionics Technician: Duties & Salary
- O*Net OnLine: Summary Report for Avionics Technicians
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: How to Become an Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanic or Technician
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians
- Career Trend: Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians
Based in North Carolina, Felicia Greene has written professionally since 1986. Greene edited sailing-related newsletters and designed marketing programs for the New Bern, N.C. "Sun Journal" and New Bern Habitat ReStore. She earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Baltimore.