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Avionics Technician Career Guide

What is an avionics technician?

Avionics technicians are the tech wizards of the aircraft world. They install, maintain, fix, and troubleshoot the electronic systems in aircraft that handle everything from communication and navigation to flight control. These systems are crucial for the plane to fly safely and efficiently.

They can work for airlines, aircraft manufacturing companies, maintenance companies, or even government agencies like the military or the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Duties and responsibilities

Avionics technicians have a bunch of important tasks:

  • Check and maintain systems: They regularly inspect and maintain the aircraft’s electronic systems.
  • Troubleshoot and repair: When something’s not working right, they figure out the problem and fix it.
  • Install new systems: Sometimes, they put in new electronic systems.
  • Keep records: They document everything they do to keep track of maintenance and repairs.
  • Stay updated: They keep up with new technology and changes in aviation rules to keep their skills sharp.

Work environment

They usually work in hangars, repair stations, or other places focused on aircraft maintenance. It can be pretty noisy, and they might deal with some tough weather or hazardous materials. The job can be physically challenging too—they might lift heavy stuff, work in tight spaces, or stand a lot.

Typical work hours

Most avionics technicians work about 40 hours a week, but their schedules can vary. They might sometimes need to work late, on weekends, or on holidays, especially if there’s an urgent repair needed or a big project deadline.

How to become an avionics technician

Want to be an avionics technician? Here’s how you can get started and work your way into this cool job.

Step 1: Get educated

Start by enrolling in a program that teaches you about avionics. This could be a FAA-approved aviation maintenance school or getting an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in fields like avionics, electronics, or aviation maintenance.

Step 2: Get certified

To work as an avionics technician, you’ll need specific certifications:

  • FAA Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) Certification: Shows you understand aircraft maintenance.
  • FCC General Radiotelephone Operator License (GROL): Important for working with communication and navigation systems.

You’ll need to pass exams to get these certifications, proving you’ve got the necessary knowledge.

Step 3: Gain practical experience

Hands-on experience is crucial. Try to get internships, apprenticeships, or entry-level jobs in aviation to put what you’ve learned into practice. Working under experienced technicians is a great way to learn the ropes.

Step 4: Specialize your skills

Being a great avionics technician means being good at problem-solving, understanding complex systems, and paying close attention to detail. Learn about the tools and techniques you’ll use daily.

Step 5: Keep learning

The aviation field changes fast, so you need to keep up with new technologies and regulations. Attend conferences, take additional courses, and stay connected to what’s new. Here are a few courses that could help:

Step 6: Network and grow

Building connections can open up more opportunities. Join professional groups, go to industry events, and keep in touch with mentors and peers. Always look for chances to grow, like taking on new certifications or aiming for higher positions.

How much do avionics technicians make?

The compensation for avionics technicians can vary depending on factors such as geographic location, level of education, years of experience, industry, and company size. 

Highest paying industries

  • Aerospace: $76,890
  • Scheduled Air Transportation: $69,580
  • Nonscheduled Air Transportation: $68,450
  • Federal Executive Branch: $68,120
  • Support Activities for Air Transportation: $67,770

Highest paying states

  • Alaska: $84,390
  • New Jersey: $79,900
  • Connecticut: $77,650
  • Massachusetts: $75,390
  • California: $74,930

Browse avionics technician salary data by market

Types of avionics technicians

  • Line maintenance avionics technician: These technicians keep the plane’s electronics in top shape. They do routine checks, figure out problems, and fix things to make sure everything works safely when the aircraft is flying.
  • Bench avionics technician: Sometimes, parts need to be taken out of the plane for repairs. Bench technicians use special tools and software to fix things like the aircraft’s radio transmitters and radar systems at a workbench.
  • Installation avionics technician: These techs work on putting new electronic systems into planes. They handle all the technical details of getting new systems up and running.
  • Avionics systems engineer: As tech evolves, new systems for navigation, communication, and flight control are developed. Systems engineers design these setups, working closely with technicians and product managers to ensure they meet all safety and performance standards.
  • Flight test avionics technician: Love the idea of flying? Flight test technicians test and fix electronics on aircraft while they’re actually in the air. 
  • Avionics instructor: If teaching is your thing, you might like being an avionics instructor. They train new techs and help experienced ones keep up with the latest in electronics installation, maintenance, and repair. 

Top skills for avionics technicians

  • Expertise in avionics systems: Avionics technicians need to know the ins and outs of aircraft electronic systems like navigation, communication, radar, and flight controls. Understanding how to maintain, repair, and calibrate these systems is crucial.
  • Strong troubleshooting skills: When something goes wrong with an aircraft’s electronics, these techs have to figure out what’s wrong and fix it quickly. Using tools like oscilloscopes and signal generators, they diagnose and resolve issues, ensuring everything works perfectly.
  • Effective communication: Technicians work with a lot of different people, from pilots to other maintenance staff. They need to listen well and share important information accurately.
  • Attention to detail: This job requires careful and precise work. Technicians must ensure that every part of their work—from inspections to installations—is done correctly to avoid errors that could affect the aircraft’s safety.
  • Commitment to safety: Following safety rules is non-negotiable. Avionics technicians must always adhere to strict safety protocols, use the right protective gear, and keep up-to-date with the latest standards and regulations in the aviation industry.

Avionics technician career path

Gain hands-on experience

Early career stages often involve working as an apprentice, trainee, or junior technician. This is where you really start to apply what you’ve learned and get comfortable with the day-to-day tasks of maintaining and repairing avionics systems.

Move into leadership roles

With experience and a proven track record, you could move up to roles like avionics supervisor or manager. These positions involve overseeing avionics operations, managing teams, and making sure everything runs smoothly and safely, all while keeping costs in check.

Advance to senior positions

As you continue to grow in your career and show your skills, you might become a lead technician. This senior role comes with more complex responsibilities, including installing advanced systems, leading maintenance teams, and ensuring that all work complies with FAA regulations and safety standards.

Specialize or diversify

Some technicians choose to specialize in particular types of aircraft or avionics systems, which can make them highly sought after in specific sectors of the industry. Others might branch out into related fields like avionics engineering or even sales roles within the aviation industry.

  • Technological advancements: There’s a strong need to stay updated with the latest electronic systems and tech improvements. As planes get outfitted with newer, more efficient electronics, technicians must be well-versed in these technologies to install and maintain them effectively.
  • Demand for new aircraft: There’s also a growing demand for new, modern aircraft that are more fuel-efficient and equipped with the latest technology. While this might shift some focus toward design and manufacturing roles, it still underscores the importance of skilled technicians for installation and initial setups.

Employment projections

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians is expected to grow by 6% through 2031. This growth rate reflects the steady demand for air travel and the essential role these technicians play in maintaining and repairing aircraft to ensure safe and efficient operation.

Avionics technician career tips

Get the right education and credentials

Attending an FAA-approved avionics maintenance technician school or getting an associate degree in avionics technology, electronics, or computer science is a great way to boost your qualifications. Also, obtaining an A&P certificate from the FAA can really help prove your skills and make you eligible to work on an aircraft.

Gain practical experience

Nothing beats real-world experience. Start as an apprentice or junior technician to get hands-on with avionics maintenance—everything from inspections and servicing to testing and troubleshooting. This experience is invaluable for building your skills.

Develop analytical and problem-solving skills

Being an avionics technician means solving complex problems regularly. Sharpen these skills through hands-on work, case studies, or extra avionics analysis and diagnostics training.

Enhance your technical proficiency

Avionics relies heavily on specific tools and technologies. Become an expert in using equipment and systems related to radar, communication, and navigation to troubleshoot and fix issues accurately.

Focus on safety and compliance

Avionics work must adhere to strict safety and regulatory standards. Make sure you’re well-versed in FAA regulations and maintenance standards to ensure your work is compliant and safe.

Improve your communication and interpersonal skills

Clear communication and good relationships make everything smoother. Work on your verbal and written skills to ensure you can explain technical issues clearly and professionally. Building strong relationships with your team and clients is also crucial.

Never stop learning

The aviation industry is always evolving, so staying current is a must. Participate in workshops, conferences, and seminars to keep up with new technologies, trends, and best practices.

Network, network, network

Connecting with others in your field can open doors and provide valuable insights. Join professional groups like the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA) or the Professional Aviation Maintenance Association (PAMA). Networking can lead to job opportunities and professional growth.

Where the avionics technician jobs are

Top companies

  • Lockheed Martin
  • The Boeing Company
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Raytheon Technologies
  • General Dynamics

Top states

  • California
  • Texas
  • Florida
  • Washington
  • Arizona

Top job sites

  • Zengig
  • Indeed
  • LinkedIn
  • SimplyHired
  • JSfirm


What are the educational requirements for an avionics technician?

You typically need to complete a formal education program, such as a two-year associate degree or a certification program in avionics or electronics technology from an accredited institution. You may also gain relevant experience through military training or apprenticeships. Obtaining an FAA A&P certificate is beneficial but only sometimes required for specific jobs.

What industries employ avionics technicians?

Avionics technicians can find employment in various industries, including commercial airlines, cargo airlines, general aviation, aerospace manufacturing, and military aviation. They may work for aircraft maintenance and repair companies, airports, or directly for aircraft operators.

What skills are essential for an avionics technician?

Essential skills include strong electrical and electronic aptitude, attention to detail, problem-solving abilities, and manual dexterity. Good communication skills and the ability to work well under pressure are required, as safety and accuracy are critical in the aviation industry. Knowledge of aircraft systems, avionics equipment, and maintenance procedures is also important.

What are the typical daily tasks of an avionics technician?

Daily tasks may include inspecting aircraft avionics systems and components, performing routine maintenance, troubleshooting and repairing issues, and testing system performance. Other responsibilities may include installing new avionics equipment, documenting maintenance activities, adhering to safety regulations, and staying current with technical updates and industry standards.

How can I stand out when applying for avionics technician positions?

Make sure your resume and cover letter highlight your education, relevant experience, and any additional certifications or specializations. Emphasize your knowledge of specific avionics systems or aircraft models and your ability to work in a team and handle high-pressure situations. Networking through industry events, conferences, and online platforms can connect you with potential employers and learn about job openings.

What are the opportunities for career advancement for avionics technicians?

You can advance by gaining experience with various avionics systems and aircraft models, pursuing additional certifications or specializations, and developing strong leadership and communication skills. You may progress to supervisory or managerial roles, such as lead technician, avionics supervisor, or avionics manager. After obtaining the necessary qualifications, you may transition to related positions, such as quality control inspector or aviation safety inspector.

What are the typical working hours for an avionics technician?

Working hours can vary depending on the employer and location and may include standard daytime hours or shift work, including evenings, weekends, and holidays. Aircraft maintenance is often performed around the clock to minimize downtime and ensure operational efficiency. Sometimes, you may be required to work overtime to address urgent maintenance issues or to complete repairs within tight deadlines.

Is it possible to work as a freelance avionics technician?

Freelance work is possible, but finding consistent work and building a steady client base can be challenging. Freelance technicians may work on a contract basis for aircraft maintenance companies, smaller airlines, or general aviation operators. To succeed as a freelance avionics technician, you should have a strong network within the industry, excellent technical skills, and the ability to market your services effectively.