Associate's degree programs in avionics are 2-year programs incorporating general education with intense training in the field of aviation electronics. These associate programs are split into two sub-fields which are navigation systems, and aircraft radar systems. Regardless of which subfield chosen, students will learn about electrical theory, circuits, technical diagrams, industry regulations and electronic communications.
To be considered for admission, the applicant must have earned a high school diploma or GED. Prior coursework in electronics or physics can increase chances of being admitted to the program, but is not required. Upon entry into this associate's program, students may be required to pass an assessment test or receive minimum scores on a placement exam. Studies typically combine classroom instruction with simulated lab exercises wherein students receive hands-on training on aircraft instrumentation. Graduates are prepared for careers as avionic technicians and can pursue certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Avionics Degree Programs
In an avionics degree program, students will learn electrical theory and how it applies to aircraft electrical systems, such as navigation, communication, radar, flight controls and instrumentation. A significant amount of time is usually devoted to hands-on instructional laboratory classes. Topics of study include:
- Electronic devices
- Technical drawings and diagrams
- AC/DC circuits
- Electronic communications
- FAA regulations
- Aircraft instrument systems
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Employment for avionics technicians and other aviation technicians is expected to show little to no change during the 2014-2024 time period, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Avionics technicians with the ability to work on complex systems or with additional training as aviation mechanics may have the best prospects. In May 2015, the BLS reported a median annual salary of $58,540 for avionics technicians.
Certification and Continuing Education
Certification requirements for avionics technicians vary. Those with military training or avionics manufacturing work experience do not need Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification. However, avionics technicians working with communications equipment need a Federal Communications Commission restricted radio-telephone operator license. Avionics technicians might consider additional training and education in order to earn FAA airframe mechanic and power plant mechanic certification.
Associate's degrees in avionics are available in navigation systems and aircraft radar systems. These degree programs prepare students for a career as avionics technicians, which may require additional certification upon completion of the program.