Avionics technicians specialize in working on the electronics systems of aircraft. As traditional cockpit instrumentation is increasingly replaced with “glass cockpits,” or sophisticated electronic instrument displays, the demand for qualified avionics technicians will increase. Though some aircraft and powerplant (A&P) mechanics are also trained as avionics technicians, more often that is not the case. The job of an avionics technician involves troubleshooting, repairing, replacing, and installing avionic equipment. Calibration of the equipment may also be required. Tools of the trade include soldering irons, oscilloscopes, voltmeters, and computer diagnostics. Avionics technicians are well versed in referring to airplane wiring diagrams, blueprints, and manuals.
Many find the challenge of working as an avionic technician to be reward in itself. Working in the airline industry is exciting, and in this job people are exposed to new technology all the time.
The job of an avionic technician is highly technical and requires a good grasp of many areas including advanced math, physics, aircraft engineering, electronics, and computers. Because aviation technology is continually advancing, a good avionics technician must work to keep up and will never stop learning. Because flight crews rely on the aircraft’s avionics system in order to safely control and fly the plane, an avionics technician has a great responsibility to ensure the quality of his or her work. An avionics technician must work well under pressure and remain focused while in stressful conditions. Because aircraft fly at all hours, an avionics technician will often have to work long hours, on nights, weekends, and holidays, especially if there is an urgent need for their services.
An understanding of and familiarity with advanced math, physics, aircraft engineering, electronics, and computers is recommended for anyone seeking employment as an avionics technician. Experience with the tools of the trade is also preferred.
To gain employment as an avionics technician, a minimum of two years vocational training or on-the-job experience is usually required. Some avionics technician positions will require additional education in the form of a four-year undergraduate or an advanced degree.
Due to the highly technical aspect of avionics, technicians typically attend vocational schools, or undergo years of on-the-job training and experience. The fastest career path for an avionics technician involves first obtaining formal training in an avionics curriculum.
Salary and Benefits
Through 2017, projected need for avionics technicians is 9,000 additional employees. Benefits may include paid vacation and holidays, insurance, retirement plan, discounted or free airfares.