While enrolled in a degree program in aviation electronics, students may have opportunities to build hands-on competencies in laboratory environments. Related associate's and bachelor's degree programs focus on aircraft engines and electrical systems, navigational equipment troubleshooting and electronic communication systems. Individuals who aspire to work with communications equipment must first obtain a license. Professional certification credentials can be earned through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Prerequisites for these programs include high school level competencies in mathematics and the sciences.
Associate's Degree in Aviation Electronics
Associate's degree programs in aviation electronics prepare students to work with such equipment as flight management computers, transponders and communication radios. Coursework generally lasts 12-24 months and involves a significant amount of hands-on learning. Before entering into an aviation electronics associate degree program, a student should have completed high school-level courses in physical science, English and algebra.
In addition to aviation electronics coursework, many colleges and universities require students to take courses in mathematics, science and English. Core coursework may include:
- Installation of electric systems
- Components of electronic communication
- Avionics equipment
- Navigational equipment repair
- RF equipment repair
- Aviation electronics troubleshooting
Bachelor's Degree in Aviation Electronics
A bachelor's degree program in aviation electronics can allow a student to further develop his or her skills in avionics systems through courses in a traditional classroom or a laboratory setting. As with associate's degree programs, those seeking to enter a bachelor's program in aviation electronics should have a strong background in science, namely physics and chemistry, as well as mathematics.
Curricula for bachelor's degree programs in aviation electronics build upon concepts learned in an associate's degree program, including aviation practices and airframe inspection. Possible coursework may consist of:
- Aviation electricity and physics
- Aircraft engine systems and structures
- Electrical systems
- Aviation physics
- Aircraft propellers
- Blueprint reading and drafting
Popular Career Options
After earning a bachelor's degree, an avionics technician might find work in the following sectors:
- Commercial and general aviation organizations
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of avionics technicians is not projected to grow at all in the decade spanning 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). The lack of growth is due in part to the outsourcing of maintenance work to other countries. Avionics technicians earned a median annual salary of $58,540 in May 2015, based on BLS figures.
Continuing Education Information
Aviation electronics technicians planning to work on communications equipment must earn a Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit from the Federal Communications Commission. Qualifications for this licensure include the ability to maintain a written log and familiarity with applicable laws and treaties, as well as station-specific rules (wireless.fcc.gov).
Some employers also prefer job candidates who hold their Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) mechanics certification through the FAA. However, FAA certification is not required for all aviation electronics technicians.
Students enrolled in degree programs in aviation electronics are prepared for employment in the avionics, aerospace and commercial aviation industries. Additionally, some employers prefer technicians who hold A&P certification.