Avionics Technicians


Education and Training Requirements

High School

Persons interested in pursuing a career in avionics should take high school mathematics courses at least through solid geometry and preferably through calculus. Also take English, speech, and communication classes in order to read complex and detailed technical articles, books, and reports; to write technical reports; and to present those reports to groups of people when required. Many schools offer shop classes in electronics and in diagram and blueprint reading. Other important classes include physics and computer science (especially computer-aided design).

Postsecondary Training

Avionics technicians must have completed a course of training at a postsecondary technical institute or community college. Many avionics technicians earn an associate's degree. Some technicians learn their trade through programs offered at aviation maintenance technician schools approved by the Federal Aviation Administration. These schools award technicians with a certificate of completion, which grants the certificate holders the right to take relevant FAA exams. Wherever avionics technicians learn, their training should include at least one year of electronics technician training. If not trained specifically in avionics, students should obtain a solid background in electronics theory and practice. Further specialized training will be done on the job, where technicians work with engineers and senior technicians until they are competent to work without direct supervision.

Larger corporations in the aerospace industry operate their own schools and training institutes. Such training rarely includes theoretical or general studies but concentrates on areas important to the company's functions. The U.S. armed forces also conduct excellent electronics and avionics training schools; their graduates are in high demand in the industry after they leave the service.

Other Education or Training

Various professional associations offer helpful courses for avionics technicians. For example, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics offers instructor-led, Web-based, and CD-ROM-based training; correspondence courses; conference sessions; and webinars. Topics include aerospace electronics and power systems, design engineering, digital avionics systems, management, production engineering, space logistics, and space systems.

Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

Avionics technicians who service aircraft must be certified by the Federal Aviation Administration. Service technicians may receive certification in bodywork (Airframe mechanics, or "A") or engine work (Powerplant mechanics, "P"). Many avionics technicians are certified through a repair station for the specific work they perform. They may hold the Airframe certification to work on aircraft electronic and flight instrument systems. They may also be certified as aircraft electronics technicians through the National Center for Aerospace and Transportation Technologies.

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations require that anyone who works with radio transmitting equipment have a restricted radiotelephone operator's license. Such a license is issued upon application to the FCC and is issued for life.

Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits

To be successful in the avionics technician field, you should have strong science and mathematics skills. In addition, you will need to have good manual dexterity and mechanical aptitude and the temperament for exacting work. Because this work is very precise, avionics technicians must have a personality suited to meeting exact standards. Technicians sometimes work in closely cooperating teams. This requires an ability to work with a team spirit of coordinated effort. Other important traits include good communication, organizational, and problem-solving skills.