The education needed to become an avionics quality engineer typically involves at least a bachelor's degree in engineering. Through specialized majors like electrical or mechanical engineering, and aerospace, students studying to become an avionics quality engineer often take courses related to digital circuitry, microprocessing, and communications systems.
Avionics quality engineers test and evaluate new aerospace system designs to ensure they are developed to proper standards and specifications. They verify that all avionics and aerospace electronic systems work appropriately and are compliant with regulations. These engineers also oversee inspection and testing procedures to maintain design integrity throughout the manufacturing process.
Individuals are generally required to complete an engineering bachelor's degree program before pursuing employment. Avionics quality engineers can pursue professional licensing, although a license may not be required by all employers. Many of these engineering positions are through the federal government, therefore professionals may have to go through the security clearance process prior to employment.
|Required Education||Bachelor's degree in avionics, aerospace, electrical or mechanical engineering or a related field|
|Other Requirements||Submit to security clearance checks, if necessary|
|Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)||Aerospace engineer: 2%*|
|Median Salary|| Aerospace Engineers (including Avionics Engineers): $115,220 (2018)*
Quality Assurance Engineers: $68,693 (2019)**
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics,**PayScale.com
Aerospace employers typically require the completion of at least an engineering bachelor's degree program. Relevant fields include aerospace, electrical and mechanical engineering. Some schools may offer an avionics engineering program. Common coursework includes signals and systems, microprocessors, digital circuits and communications systems.
Working avionics quality engineers can take continuing education courses provided by professional organizations, such as the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). These training courses can keep professionals up to date with current avionics technology and help an individual specialize in one type of avionics system, such as flight control or missile guidance.
Duties include developing testing methods, evaluating designs, initiating corrective actions and maintaining records. Avionics quality engineers must be familiar with the production standards of the SAE and Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics, as well as the regulatory standards of the Aerospace Industries Association and the Federal Aviation Administration.
Receiving state licensure as a professional engineer (PE) can enhance employment chances, though is not a strict requirement for all job positions. However, if an avionics quality engineer works in public service, a PE license is required. Engineering program graduates begin the licensing process by passing the Fundamentals of Engineering examination. After meeting state requirements for supervised work experience, training and education, individuals can then take the Principles and Practice of Engineering examination to earn the PE designation.
Employment and Wages
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were approximately 67,200 aerospace engineers working in May 2018, with over 22,720 in the aerospace manufacturing industry. Employment was projected to increase by two percent from 2018-2028. The annual median salary for aerospace engineers, including avionics engineers, was $115,220 in 2018, per the BLS. However, these statistics refer to aerospace engineers in general, and the information may not specifically reflect comparable data for avionics and aerospace quality engineers. Similarly, though not specific to the field of avionics, quality assurance engineers in general earned a median salary of $90,158 in 2019, according to PayScale.com.
Many avionics quality engineers take part in some form of continuing education over the course of their careers in order to maintain an up-to-date knowledge of technologies relevant to their field. Some avionics quality engineers specialize in a specific area, such as missile navigation and flight command systems.