Online degrees in the avionics field may be hard to come by, as they are primarily designed for professionals already working in the field. That said, students who are still interested in the available online programs may want to consider what kind of hands-on training is required in the program and whether it is suitable for meeting FAA regulations.
How to Select an Online Avionics School
Students considering online avionics schools must make their decision based on several key factors. Online avionics programs are extremely rare, primarily because of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations about aircraft maintenance. Online aviation maintenance programs with avionics components are available, but these are designed primarily for students who already have some experience or a license from the FAA.
Legal Requirements and Degree Purpose
Most avionics programs are designed to educate students in aircraft maintenance. Aviation maintenance technicians must be licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration in order to work in the United States or on U.S. aircraft. Because of FAA regulations, aircraft maintenance programs are not delivered via a completely online program.
Students who wish to study aircraft electronics online can enroll in an electrical engineering or electronics program with an engineering focus that deals with aircraft electronics to some degree. They can also attend a hybrid program that offers some courses via the Internet and some in person. There are also a few aviation maintenance degree programs designed for those who already have experience in the industry and wish to use their experience to get a degree.
Hands-on Training Requirements
Depending on which area a student is studying, avionics may require a great deal of hands-on experience with aircraft in order to best provide for a future career. This means that students should compare their options carefully when choosing an avionics program. Programs that are designed specifically for aviation maintenance or avionics engineering may provide the best education in such cases.
Online Avionics Program Availability
Bachelor of Science in Aviation Maintenance
A Bachelor of Science in Aviation Maintenance program is designed primarily for students who are already professionals in the aviation maintenance industry. Degree programs normally provide an option for students to substitute aviation maintenance certificates or an FAA license combined with experience for certain degree requirements. Classes are presented via unified online learning software that combines e-mail and message boards for communication with online testing capabilities. Areas of study for the major include:
- General aeronautics
- Inspection and service
Schools with Online Avionics Programs
Vaughn College offers an online Bachelor of Science in Aviation Maintenance and an online Bachelor of Science in Aviation Maintenance Management. Students can choose between programs based on their overall career goals. Before enrolling in the aviation maintenance program, students most already possess their FAA Airframe and Powerplant Certificate. In the aviation maintenance management program, students can complete the requirements to earn this certificate or complete the certification courses through the Aviation Training Institution. Courses are available to students 24/7 and students can stream lectures or order DVD copies of them.
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has designed a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Maintenance that students can complete online. The program is very flexible, as there are 12 different start dates throughout the year so students don't have to wait when they are ready to start their studies. For students who already have their FAA Airframe and Powerplant Certificate, they can transfer up to 30 credits to be used toward earning their degree. The program allows students to specialize in either management or safety and students in the program are eligible to complete internships if they can find opportunities close to them.
For individuals who want to study avionics in an online setting, there are only a few fully online programs. These programs often are specifically in the field of avionics maintenance. Students may want to consider how the program is delivered, whether they meet admission requirements, and if there are any hands-on training requirements.