What Does It Take to Find a New Avionics Job?
Aircraft are very complicated machines that need to operate safely in extreme conditions, and avionics technicians help build and maintain aircraft by working on aviation electronics, such as navigation and communications systems.
Electronic systems are an essential part of any aircraft and have a massive effect on the capability of a given aircraft. With the ever-growing integration of computers and digital technology in aircraft, avionics technicians have only become more valuable. While most avionics technicians work in maintenance, some in this field develop systems for new aircraft or to solve various aviation issues.
The typical workplace of an avionics technicians is in a repair station or airfield hanger. Technicians must often do their job with flight schedules and customers in mind. Therefore, they tend to be deadline driven. Because they are also responsible for maintaining high safety standards, an avionics technician must be extremely efficient and responsible.
Training and Certification
For training, an avionics technician will usually attend a technical school that has been certified by the Federal Aviation Administration. To become certified, an avionics technician must complete at least 1,900 class hours, which generally takes 12 to 24 months. Some technical schools offer both 2- year and 4-year degrees in avionics and aviation maintenance management.
Traditionally, avionics programs have focused on standard electronics and turbine engines. But now, technicians are expected to have a strong background computer and digital technology. The typical degree program includes classes on electronics, physics, computer science, math, chemistry, communication and technical drawing.
According to FAA guidelines, maintenance on any aircraft must be performed by either a certified technician, or some being observed by a certified mechanic. Therefore, aviation companies tend to hire technicians and mechanics with the necessary FAA certification.
Certification requires working 18 to 30 months or finish an FAA-certification program. To preserve their certification status, avionics technicians have to continue working in the field and taking classes. Because computer technology and avionics are constantly evolving, technicians must stay up to date on the latest developments and practices.
Generally, avionics technicians also need to earn an airframe mechanic certification to legally be allowed to work on avionics systems. Technicians may not need this certification if they come from a military background or a background in avionics manufacturing. Technicians who work on communications systems must have the proper radio license from the Federal Communications Commission.
In addition to being technically competent and certified, avionics technicians should be hard-working, dependable, self-motivated and adept at problem solving.
Opportunities for Advancement
With experience in the field, technicians earn a promotion into supervisor or inspector positions. Some technicians go into the regulatory side of the aviation industry, while others translate their technical know-how and experience into other technical fields. Those willing to continue their education can go on to become engineers or consultants.