Radio Mechanic: Salary and Career Facts

Radio mechanics install, maintain and repair radio transmitting and receiving equipment. Continue reading to learn about relevant degree programs, common job duties and earning potential for radio mechanics. Find out what licensure and certification is needed for this career. Schools offering Electronics Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Is a Radio Mechanic?

Radio mechanics repair malfunctions and issues in radio communications systems. They may also install or maintain devices over a period of time. If necessary, they're able to replace or reassemble parts. They're responsible for providing fee estimates to their clients and documenting their work. In the table below, you can learn some additional details about this field:

Degree Required Associate's
Education Field of Study Avionics engineering technology, electronics engineering technology
Key Responsibilities Maintaining radio technology equipment, repairing broken equipment, installing radio communication systems
Licensure Requirements Must seek licensure though FAA
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% (for all radio, cellular, and tower equipment installers and repairers)
Median Salary (2015)* $51,660 (for all radio, cellular, and tower equipment installers and repairers)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Education Programs Are Available to Me as an Aspiring Radio Mechanic?

One popular educational pathway to a career as a radio mechanic is an associate's degree in avionics or avionics engineering technology. These programs teach you the fundamentals behind airborne radio communications systems. You'll explore the electronic theory and practice of alternating current, direct current and digital circuits, as well as solid-state devices and microprocessors. You'll learn how to calibrate and use the test equipment needed to perform your radio mechanic duties.

You might also consider pursuing an associate's degree program in electronics engineering technology. This curriculum will resemble that of an avionics technology degree in that it covers circuits, solid-state devices and microprocessors. However, this degree may better prepare you for a wider range of employment. Upon completing the program, you should be able to install and repair transmitting and receiving equipment in emergency vehicles, ships and taxis.

What Will My Job Duties Be?

As a professional radio mechanic, your primary responsibility will be maintaining and repairing radio transmitting and receiving equipment. This includes repairing and replacing circuits, replacing burned-out components and reconnecting loose or broken wires. You will also use instruments, such as oscilloscopes and wattmeters, to test signal strength and transmission capacity. You may also have to install radio communication systems in transmission towers or mobile communication stations.

Do I Need to Be Licensed or Certified to Get a Job?

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) must license you before you work as an aviation or marine radio mechanic. The licensing process consists of several exams covering various topics, such as electronics principles, radio law and maintenance procedures.

Certification, on the other hand, isn't generally required before entering the profession. An exception would be the certification needed by radio mechanics to operate specific equipment. Otherwise, voluntary certification allows radio mechanics to improve their current abilities by staying on top of new technology and equipment. Certification typically consists of successfully completing a proficiency exam.

What Could I Expect To Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the median annual salary for radio, cellular, and tower equipment installers and repairs was $51,660 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). The BLS predicted 6% job growth for this field between 2014 and 2024. With enough experience, you can advance to supervising or managing positions.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Careers related to electrical and electronics installers and repairers include electricians, elevator installers and repairers, and general maintenance and repair workers. Electricians handle the installation and maintenance of electrical power wiring. Elevator installers and repairers fix and input elevator units. General maintenance and repair workers fix and maintain a number of item, which may include plumbing, flooring or machinery. All of these fields require a high school diploma.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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