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How to Become an Avionics Technician

If you have experience with aviation technology and want to work on various aircrafts, then a job as an avionics technician may be a great option. Avionics technicians work alongside engineers and aircraft maintenance staff to maintain and repair aircraft equipment. Successful individuals in this position have excellent math skills and manual dexterity in order to perform this job well.

An avionics technician is primarily responsible for installing, testing, and repairing avionics equipment and electronics. This includes running cables, connecting instruments for navigation, and installing radios and passenger entertainment systems.

This career path is incredibly rewarding since it offers opportunities for professional development and growth in the workplace. It is important for avionics technicians to earn the right certifications and licenses from the Federal Aviation Administration to practice in this position.

Sample job description

[Your Company Name] is looking for an avionics technician. Your position is going to be crucial to maintaining the electronics in our planes. You will be in charge of maintaining, upgrading, and modifying radio devices and navigation equipment. At [Your Company Name], we value hard work, talent, and the ability to be a team player. You will have to regularly review our plane’s electronic systems in this position to ensure proper functioning. Transportation and the proper certifications are required. If this sounds like the job for you, go ahead and apply!

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Test and implement avionics systems and products based on specifications
  • Monitor maintenance and inspection plans
  • Repair and maintain avionics systems as needed
  • Set up ground support and testing equipment to check flight-readiness
  • Assemble avionics components using hand tools or soldering irons

Education and experience

This position requires a high school diploma or its equivalent and an Airframe and Powerplant License certificate from a program approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Some employers prefer candidates to obtain an associate degree for certain positions.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Analytical, problem-solving, and critical-thinking skills
  • Teamwork and interpersonal communication skills
  • Mechanical aptitude and ability to understand wiring diagrams and schematics
  • Strong hand-eye coordination and proficiency in using tools like soldering equipment
  • High-level organization skills

Preferred qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in avionics or aviation technology
  • Certification from the FAA or FCC
  • 4+ years of experience

Typical work environment

Avionics technicians will usually work full-time in order to maintain the planes and keep their electronics up to date. This means that these technicians will be required to move physical locations often, spending very few hours at a desk location. Technicians are often responsible for the repair, maintenance, and inspection of avionics equipment. Avionics technicians specialize in repairing plane equipment, but their broad understanding of electronics and wiring, in general, allows them to modify and understand required aspects that delve beyond the specifics of avionics. They may be required to work high above the aircraft, use scaffolding, and work in intense heat or cold to ensure planes are being repaired on schedule.

Typical hours

Avionics technicians usually work rotating, 8-hour shifts. That means overnight, weekend, and holiday shifts are common in this field.

Available certifications

Companies looking to hire an avionics tech will require some sort of relevant certification, like one of the following:

  • Avionics Electronics Technician (AVN) – This certification offers coverage of many mechanisms and electronics required in any common avionics position. It is designed to test the knowledge of avionics technicians in multiple fields, including the installation or maintenance of equipment and cables.
  • Aircraft Electronics Technician (AET) – Offered by the ASTM’s National Center for Aerospace & Transportation Technologies, this certification offers the ability to commit and prove yourself through testing and certifying requirements. The technical standards for this certification are reviewed and verified by the ASTM technical committee.
  • CompTIA A+ Certification – The CompTIA certification evaluates the technical skills and computer maintenance knowledge of technicians and is recognized by many major companies and businesses.
  • Certified Technical Professional (CTP) – The CTP certificate is created for graduates. It covers a variety of general concepts which are useful for technical positions and similar work fields.

Career path

This position requires a high school diploma or its equivalent and an Airframe and Powerplant License certificate from a program approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Some employers prefer candidates to obtain an associate’s degree for certain positions or career advancement. Successful avionics technicians can advance into leadership roles such as lead mechanic, lead inspector, or shop supervisor.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 49-2091

2020 Employment21,200
Projected Employment in 203023,200
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 10% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift2,100 increase

According to the trade publication, Industry Week, increasing advancements in aviation technology is one major trend that will impact the aviation industry in the coming years. Specifically, the conversions to new, more efficient electronics systems will mean avionics technicians must stay educated on the latest technological improvements.

Another trend in the aviation and aerospace industry is the need for new aircraft. Whether it’s mature markets looking to replace aging aircraft or companies seeking more modern, fuel-efficient aircraft, many companies are looking to replace their fleets. That could mean an increase in job opportunities on the design and manufacturing side, rather than an increase in opportunities for repair and maintenance professionals.