Associate in Aviation Electronics Technology (AET): Degree Overview

Oct 12, 2019

Aviation electronics technology (AET) associate's degrees combine hands-on training and classroom instruction to teach students how to calibrate, test, install and repair electronic aircraft equipment. This field is also known as avionics.

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Essential Information

Associate's degree programs in AET teach students to work with radar, navigation systems, communications, cockpit instruments, and autopilot systems. Since the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) licenses aviation technicians, students should look for a program that meets FAA standards. Following program completion, graduates typically must obtain certification before they begin working in the field.

Associate's Degree in Aviation Electronics Technology

Admission requirements to this 2-year program include a high school diploma or GED. Some schools require applicants to pass placement exams, and some also require completion of math courses as academic prerequisites. Avionics associate's degree programs, which take two years to complete, typically provide instruction in academics in addition to core aviation technology concepts. Common course subjects include:

  • Electronic circuits
  • Pulse and digital systems
  • Radar components
  • Navigation systems
  • Autopilot controls
  • FAA regulations

Popular Career Options

Employers who seek qualified AET workers may include airlines, aircraft manufacturers, and the military. Job titles may include:

  • Avionics technician
  • Avionics installer
  • Avionics tester
  • Avionics systems integration specialist
  • Avionics manager

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Avionics technicians earned a median annual salary of $64,140 in 2018, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Employment growth predicted by the BLS for avionics technicians from 2018 to 2028 was 3%.

Continuing Education Information

FAA regulations permit only certified technicians, or individuals being supervised by certified technicians, to work on aircraft. Aspiring technicians can be prepared to earn certification by completing an FAA-approved aviation technology program, such as an associate's degree. Some schools combine avionics and airframe training into a single program. The FAA alternatively will accept relevant military service or civilian work experience in lieu of FAA airframe certification for avionics technicians. Programs typically also prepare graduates for Federal Communications Commission (FCC) certification.

An aviation technician may pursue a bachelor's degree in related fields such as aviation maintenance management or aerospace engineering. Some bachelor's degree programs, such as in aircraft operations, are designed for aspiring pilots.

An associate's degree in aviation electronics technology prepares students for careers in the private sector and the military as avionics technicians, systems integration specialists and installers. These programs help prepare graduates to earn certification from the FAA in order to work professionally in the industry without supervision.

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