What Education Do I Need to Become an Avionics Technician?
In addition to formal education and other requirements, avionics technicians must also have valid licenses or certificates. This article discusses the educational and related requirements to becoming an avionics technician. Schools offering Aviation Management degrees can also be found in these popular choices.
The majority of avionics technicians learn their trade through certified mechanic schools. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA, www.faa.gov) has certified around 170 flight schools throughout the United States. At some of these schools, students are able to obtain two- and four-year degrees in avionics according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). The FAA requires that certified schools provide a minimum of 1,900 class hours of instruction. Coursework typically takes between 18 and 24 months to complete. Instruction covers the practices, materials, procedures, tools, machinery, and equipment generally used to maintain, construct, or alter airframes.
In addition to education, avionics technicians need to be certified as mechanics with an airframe rating by the FAA. Even then, the individual must be qualified, trained, and have the appropriate equipment to work on avionics components and equipment. The exception to the certification requirement, according to the FAA, is if the individual has sufficient avionic repair experience from the military avionics manufacturing or a related industry. To obtain and keep a mechanics license, candidates must meet the following requirements:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Be able to speak, read, write, and understand English
- Have 18 months of work experience
- Pass a written, oral, and practical certification exam
- Take at least 16 hours of continuing education training every 24 months
The 18-month work experience listed above is often supplemented by completing an appropriate program at an FAA-certified mechanic school. Also at such a school, the oral and practical tests listed above are sometimes added into the curriculum.
With experience, avionics technicians earn more money and have better positions. They may become shop supervisors, crew chiefs, lead mechanics, inspectors, or lead inspectors. With additional education, avionics technicians could be consultants, electronics designers or engineers.
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