How to Become an Avionics Technician

Here are the essential steps for becoming an avionics technician:

 

1. Excel at math, computer science and electronics in high school

2. Determine if this career field will suit you

3. Complete an FAA (U.S.) or Transport Canada (Canada) approved avionics program

4. Get work experience as an apprentice

5. Take an FAA - A&P or FCC (both in U.S.), or AME “E” Rated (Canada) licensing exam

 

Below we've expanded on these points, to give you a good idea of what you'll need to begin a career as an avionics technician in the United States or Canada. We've also included helpful information for this career, such as an overview of salary level expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!

 

 

 

Education You'll Likely Need

In Canada, you'll need to complete a basic training program in avionics or aircraft maintenance that’s approved by Transport Canada. These programs are typically 2-3 years in duration. You will then need to accumulate work hours doing specific tasks, and pass a licensing exam.

 

To become an avionics technician in the U.S., you need to earn a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved associate’s degree in aircraft electronics, or avionics. You will then need to earn an A&P (Airframe & Powerplant) Certificate or an FCC radiotelephone license.

 

Success Tip: This field requires a good foundation in math, computer science and electronics. Be sure to excel in these areas during your high school years.

 

 

 

 

What is an Avionics Technician?

An essential part of the aviation industry, avionics technicians are technical specialists that maintain, inspect and repair aircraft components such as software, electronic instruments and electrical control panels. Without them, airplanes’ radar systems, navigation systems and radio communications would be unreliable, and aircraft would not be safe or airworthy.

 

 

 

What Do They Do?

Avionics technicians are responsible for performing scheduled maintenance, making repairs, and completing inspections of electrical systems on aircraft. This involves the installation, inspection, testing and repair of radar, radio, navigational, missile control systems and other avionics equipment.

 

 

 

What are Some Typical Job Duties?

Avionics technicians are typically responsible for the following tasks:

 

• Carrying out performance tests, preventive/corrective maintenance, and calibration of following systems and their associated components

• Fabricating and testing parts as directed

• Using various hand tools to assemble components such as switches, electrical controls and junction boxes

• Connecting, adjusting, repairing or replacing malfunctioning components or assemblies

• Installing various electrical and electronic components, assemblies, and systems in aircraft

• Maintaining comprehensive records of maintenance and installation work performed

• Diagnosing malfunctions and systemic performance problems by interpreting flight data

• Setting up and operating ground support and test equipment to perform functional flight tests of electrical and electronic systems

 

 

 

Am I Suited for This Career?

Being an avionics technician requires certain personal traits and characteristics, including:

 

• An interest in a career in the aviation industry

• The ability to work alone and with team members

• An interest in keeping up to date by taking additional training as required

• Good colour vision for distinguishing component parts

• An interest in working with tools and equipment at tasks that require precision

• An interest in having clear rules and organized methods to guide your activities

• Willingness to work in different weather conditions

• Interest in a career that may involve travel, and will likely involve relocation

 

 

 

What Licensing/Certification is Needed?

Canada: In Canada, you will need an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) license with an “E” rating (aircraft electronics systems) to work independently as an avionics technician. You do not need a license to be hired for an apprenticeship, as you are required to work under the supervision of a licensed technician until you earn your license.

 

United States: In the United States, you will need a A&P (Airframe & Powerplant) mechanic’s certificate from the FAA, and/or an FCC radiotelephone license to work independently as an avionics technician.

 

 

 

How Do I Become Licensed as an Avionics Technician?

Canada

 

In Canada, you must meet the following requirements to earn an AME “E” license :

 

•  Be at least 21 years of age

•  Complete an approved basic training program or acceptable basic training program, which includes 1000 hours of Electronics theory

•  Record 48 months of supervised maintenance tasks

•  Pass a series of exams

 

 

United States

 

Earning an FAA - A & P, or FCC license can be done in one of 3 ways:

 

• Completing an FAA-approved avionics/aviation maintenance technician program and passing the chosen licensing exam.

• Working under the certification of a licensed mechanic for 18 months (for each license, or 30 for both - no post-secondary education needed).

• Joining the Armed Forces and getting training and experience in aircraft maintenance, in an FAA approved occupational specialty.

 

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What Skills Are Needed in this Career?

You will need to make use of certain skills in a career as an avionics technician, including:

 

• Strong knowledge of general aviation electrical and electronic systems, flight instruments, and components

• The ability to read and interpret schematics, blueprints, and installation instructions

• Good mathematical abilities

• Analytical ability, persistence and excellent troubleshooting skills

• The strength and agility to carry heavy equipment or parts, as well as balance or reach without falling

• Manual dexterity for handling tools and small parts

 

 

 

Who Hires Avionics Technicians?

Avionics technicians typically work for the following types of organizations:

 

• Airlines and general aviation companies

• Federal government transportation departments

• The armed forces

• Ground based communications and navigation organizations

• Maintenance repair and overhaul companies

• Aircraft manufacturers

 

 

 

What is the Average Salary in This Profession?

Avionics Technicians earn a median salary of around $60,000 per year in the United States. Their salary can vary based on factors such as their level of experience, the specific region in which they work, level of responsibility involved in the job, and other factors. 

 

  

 

More About Salary Levels

As mentioned above, the salary level you could earn as an avionics technician can vary, typically depending on the following factors:

 

• Your level of education

• Your level of experience

• The specific responsibilities of your job

• The size and type of your employer

• The region in which you work

• Many other factors

 

Avionics Technician Salary in Alberta: According to the 2015 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans in the Aircraft instrument, electrical and avionics mechanics, technicians and inspectors occupational group earn an average salary of $71,046 per year. Unfortunately, no reliable salary information can be found for civilian jobs outside of Alberta.

 

Avionics Technician Salary for the Canadian Forces: The starting salary for a fully-trained Avionics Systems Technician is $49,400 per year in the Canadian Forces. 

 

Avionics Technician Salary in the United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of Americans working in the Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians occupational group is $58,390 per year.

 

 

Avionics Technician Jobs

Our job board below has "Avionics Technician" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

What Career Advancement Opportunities Exist?

As you gain experience and prove your competence, you could move into roles of greater responsibility, including:

 

• Being transferred to work abroad

• Moving into civilian roles from the military, or vice versa

• Moving into supervisory roles, such as lead inspector, or shop supervisor

• Moving into regulatory roles, such as with the FAA or Transport Canada

• Opening your own maintenance facility

 

 

 

What are Careers Similar to This One?

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to Avionics Technician; they may be in the same field, or they may involve many of the same skills, competencies and/or responsibilities:

 

• Aircraft Performance Engineer

• Airline Pilot

• Circuit Designer

• Computer Service Technician

• Computer Systems Engineer

• Electrical Engineer

• Electrician

• Helicopter Pilot

• Robotics Technologist

 

 

 

Relevant Scholarships 

All of the scholarships on our Any Field of Study ScholarshipsCivil Engineering Scholarships, and Environmental Engineering Scholarships pages are relevant for becoming an avionics technician.

 

Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!

 

 

 

References

Please consult the following resources to learn more about what it takes to become an avionics technician:

 

• Canadian Armed Forces Jobs: “Avionics Systems Technician” (n.d.). Government of Canada - National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. Retrieved January 30, 2017.

• Occupational Profile: “Avionics Technician.” (n.d.). Alberta Government - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved January 30, 2017.

• Occupational Outlook Handbook: “Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians.” (n.d.). United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved January 30, 2017.

Become a Mechanic. (n.d.). Federal Aviation Administration. Retrieved January 30, 2017.

• AME Licensing and Training: “Obtaining an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (AME) Licence.” (n.d.). Government of Canada - Transport Canada. Retrieved January 30, 2017.

 

 

 

Relevant Fields of Study

We have career guides for over 60 university majors in our system. Below we've outlined those that are most relevant for getting a proper educational foundation for this profession. Click on the link(s) to see what else you can do with these majors!

 


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