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Aviation Electronics Technician: Job Description & Requirements

Learn about the education and preparation needed to become an aviation electronics technician. Get a quick overview of the requirements, including training programs and job duties, to find out if this is the right career for you.

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Aviation electronics technicians work with electronic monitoring systems in aircrafts and airports. They require FAA approved training and certification. This position is predicted to see no job growth in the coming decade.

Essential Information

Aviation electronic technicians maintain the electronics equipment on airplanes and at airports. They run frequent diagnostic tests on all technological devices and perform repairs as needed. AETs must receive training from an institution certified by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), often leading to a degree in a field like aviation electronics or computer science. The FAA reports that AETs also need to possess good vision, be comfortable with heights and be able to bend or stoop for extended periods.

Required Education Associate's or bachelor's degree from an FAA-approved program
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 0% for all avionics technicians
Average Salary (2015)* $60,200 for all avionics technicians

Source:*U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Aviation Electronics Technician Job Description

Aviation electronics technicians (AETs) work with all electronic equipment on airplanes and at airports to ensure the safety of air travel. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), AETs are specialized avionics equipment mechanics who focus on technological components of aviation, including onboard computerized systems (www.bls.gov).

AETs frequently inspect, diagnose and replace electronic components in accordance with standards set by the FAA. AETs often use specialized equipment, such as signal generators and oscilloscopes, to test each piece of electronic equipment during pre- and post-flight checks. The FAA notes that many AETs may also spend significant time traveling to another airport or to an off-site plane.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), avionics technicians earned an average of $60,200 per year in 2015 and should experience an employment no change between 2014 and 2024.

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Job Duties of Aviation Electronics Technicians

Before and after each plane flies, AETs must go through a full systems check. This includes diagnosing and testing all electrical systems and lights. If repairs are needed, AETs must act quickly to take care of the problem and avoid flight delays, according to the BLS. Other than planes, AETs regularly check the equipment in the control towers, such as the RADAR array, and maintain the electronics equipment of the entire airport.

Depending on the types of aircraft, AETs must at times make repairs in uncomfortable positions on a tall scaffold or ladder. Most repairs are made inside a flight hangar or near the runway, but AETs must have their equipment ready at all times to make repairs at any location. AETs also travel frequently around the airport installing and testing equipment.

Requirements

Standards set by the FAA require that AETs receive training from a certified institution. Aviation maintenance technician programs, including those that specialize in electronics, last 12-24 months with a minimum of 1,900 hours spent in the classroom, according to the BLS. FAA-approved programs award either an associate's or a bachelor's degree in fields such as computer science, aviation electronics or engineering. Graduates receive certification from the institution and the FAA on successfully completing these programs. The BLS notes that AETs must log a certain amount of hours annually to keep their certification active.

Due to the nature of the job, AETs must meet certain physical requirements. For instance, the FAA reports that AETs need to possess good vision, be comfortable with heights and be able to bend or stoop for extended periods. AETs should also be able to lift 20-50 pounds.

Aviation electronics technicians must complete FAA coursework that usually results in an associate's or bachelor's degree. They must also receive certification from the FAA. Their average annual salary is about $60,000.

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