Bachelor's degree programs in Avionics focus on practical design, hands-on testing and analysis of aviation equipment, in conjunction with classroom theory. Graduates will be proficient in the sophisticated avionics systems found on today's aircraft and will be qualified for employment with the government and commercial agencies.
While not required by law, certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is a condition for employment at most airlines. Certification calls for completing an approved avionics training program and passing exams.
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Bachelor's Degree in Avionics
Since this program is so heavily oriented toward science and mathematics, students typically need a solid background in these areas; the entry-level math requirement is usually calculus. Incoming freshmen unsure about the strength of their academic background may want to contact the department chair of their chosen program for guidance on course selection.
Students in this degree program are exposed to engineering and technical skill sets necessary to the industry, such as:
- Avionics systems design
- Computer aided design (CAD)
- Aircraft pulse and radar systems
- Flight instrument systems
- Traffic alert and avoidance systems
- Aircraft power and distribution systems
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) defines an avionics technician's job as installing, inspecting, testing, adjusting, testing, or repairing equipment such as radar, radio, navigation and missile control systems in aircraft or space vehicles (www.bls.gov). In May 2015, the median salary for this position was $58,540 per year. Employment was expected to show no change for avionics technicians between 2014 and 2024, according to the BLS. Graduates with a bachelor's degree in avionics are also qualified for a wide range of other positions in the aeronautics industry, such as:
- Aviation technician
- Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) technician
- Aircraft maintenance supervisor
- Accident investigator
- Safety inspector
- Certified airline mechanic
While certification isn't required, the BLS reports that most airlines won't hire avionics specialists who aren't certified by the FAA. The FAA offers certification based on either work experience or completion of a degree program such as this one. In addition to experience or formal training, certificate applicants must also pass oral, written and practical exams.
Avionics programs are available at the bachelor's level and provide students with knowledge and skills relating to avionics systems design, computer aided design, and other aviation equipment. Graduates have several career options to consider, including aviation technician, safety inspector, and certified airline mechanic.