Avionics is a common, industry-accepted term for the field of Aviation Electronics. The main areas of concentration in this field include: communications, navigation, air traffic control, instrumentation and automatic flight control. Avionic technicians can work in maintenance, repair, manufacturing and installing new systems. A graduate of Avionics are not only trained in basic electronics, but in advanced aircraft communication and navigation equipment and their specialized test equipment.
Avionics play a key role in the development and construction of satellites, helicopters and aircraft of all types and sizes. Technicians in the avionics field are responsible for the assembly, maintenance, troubleshooting, repair and installation of these airborne and space-related components.
Learn in a simulated work environment in our facilities, equipped with lab equipment featuring::
- Nearly 8,000 sq. ft. of classroom and lab space
- A large variety of test equipment
- More than 40 types of test equipment including more than 100 digital oscilloscopes
- Four custom auto pilot trainers
- Six Garmin 1000 training kiosks
- Wide range of test benches
“The classes were great as were the instructors. I loved the hands-on part of the program. From my Redstone education, I'm confident in my knowledge of electronics.”
Avionics Course Work
Redstone’s career-focused education helps you develop the technical skills employers seek. Aircraft are highly complex machines and they must function safely. Avionics technicians work with avionics electronics systems, which are instruments and computers that control engine, flight and other primary functions including aircraft navigation and radio communications. These systems are now an integral part of aircraft design and have had a huge influence on aircraft capability.
Graduates of the Redstone College Avionics program will master essential avionics concepts in courses such as:
- AC Electronics – Covers the concepts of voltage, current, and resistance along with various circuit components and how they react in series, parallel, and series-parallel circuits.
- Communication and Navigation System – Teaches VHF, HF and SatCom forms of communication and aviation systems as well as cockpit display and enhanced vision systems.
- DC Electronics – Explores the concepts of voltage, current, and resistance along with various DC circuit components and how they react in series, parallel, and series-parallel circuits.
- Digital Electronics – Discusses digital electronic concepts including number conversion, gates, flip/flops and counters and requires application of these in lab projects.
- Gyroscopes and Autopilot Systems – Gain an understanding of basic flight theory, flight controls, gyroscopes and gyroscopic systems and requirements including the ACD and pilot/static systems.
- Instrumentation and Control – Teaches the various components of an analog circuit, basic soldering techniques and how to read wiring diagrams and schematics.
- Pulse Microwave Systems – Gain a fundamental understanding of the theory, operation and practical usage of pulse microwave systems and their relationship to safety in aviation.
- Solid State Electronics – Describes the basic concepts of solid state theory and how to troubleshoot solid state electronics using common test equipment.
Since many industry employers prefer graduates with important certifications, our training also helps you prepare for selected Federal Communications Commission (FCC) certification tests.1 Avionics students have the opportunity to take certification exams in elements 1, 3, and 822 under the auspices of the FCC exams. Additional certifications are available through the National Center for Aerospace and Transportation Technologies (NCATT)3. For students who choose NCATT status, Redstone instructors will help prepare you for required tests. All tests are administered on the Redstone campus.
Today’s aircraft are highly complex machines that require reliable components and systems to fly safely. To keep aircraft in peak operating condition, aircraft and avionics equipment technicians perform scheduled maintenance, make repairs and complete inspections. They must follow detailed federal regulations set by the FAA that dictate maintenance schedules for a variety of different operations.
Avionics technicians typically do the following:
- Test electronic instruments, using circuit testers, oscilloscopes, and meters
- Interpret flight test data to diagnose malfunctions and performance problems
- Assemble components, such as electrical controls and junction boxes, and install software
- Install instrument panels, using hand and power tools
- Repair or replace malfunctioning components
- Keep records of maintenance and repair work
Typical entry-level positions for Redstone graduates of this program include:1
- Avionics technician
- Field technician
- Bench technician
Contact a Representative at 1-888-547-4037 to enroll today!
Learn more about our career development services and important program disclosures and occupations the Department of Labor lists as potential careers for graduates of this program.
At Redstone College you can graduate with an associate degree in avionics in just 15 months, which can provide you with rich opportunities to work in the avionics industry. Interested in seeing the training facilities? Request program info online or call 888-547-4037 today for more information.
As the economy and population grows, passenger air traffic will also increase, spurring the growth for avionics technicians. That said, most jobs over the next decade will arise due to retirees and workers leaving the field for other careers.4
Aerospace giant Boeing released a long-term market outlook report predicting that as global economies grow and tens of thousands of new commercial jetliners are produced, the demand for pilots and educated technicians will also grow exponentially. The company anticipates more than 584,000 new maintenance technicians will be needed over the next 20 years.5
What is avionics? Avionics is a term that journalist and electronics engineer Philip Julian Klass created by combining the words aviation and electronics. It describes the communications, navigation and flight management systems aboard aircraft, spacecraft and satellites. These electronic systems may be as simple as a single airplane radio or as complex as the tactical mission equipment installed in a high-tech fighter jet. Avionics play a key role in the development and construction of satellites, helicopters and airplanes of all types and sizes. Technicians in the avionics field are responsible for the assembly, maintenance, repair and installation of these airborne and space-related components.
Many of today’s modern systems trace their origin to the radios, navigational beacons and autopilots developed for World War II bombers. These systems were considered standalone components until the 1970s. The aviation industry enhanced the efficiency of aircraft by integrating their electronic systems. This endeavor led to the creation of the computer-controlled, fly-by-wire aircraft that are currently in operation. Civilian avionics also includes cockpit displays, weather avoidance systems and the flight data recorders or black boxes. Military avionics include laser designators, infrared jammers and heads-up displays. In addition to radios and autopilots, avionics that are found in the civilian and military sector include searchlights, forward-looking infrared and real-time video displays.
Avionics developments, such as advanced communications, data collection and transmission and directional guidance systems, have enabled scientists to explore the outer reaches of the universe. Avionics systems are crucial for the safe, ongoing operation of an aircraft or satellite. They enable airplanes to travel faster and in closer proximity than was previously possible. Terrain avoidance systems, proximity warning devices, improved landing control systems and other avionics have increased the safety of flying for the public. Avionics systems continue to evolve as the industry seeks new and improved methods of air travel and scientists attempt to extend their reach further into outer space.
Does the science of flight fascinate you? Are you curious about the aircraft mechanics or the power behind the propeller? Would you like to tackle difficult avionics problems, find unique solutions, and feel pride in a job well done? Then perhaps a career as an avionics specialist is right for you.
The field of aviation today is far more advanced than ever before, primarily due to the use of sophisticated digital systems, electronic computer devices, autopilot equipment, communication and navigation radios and weather radar. A career as an avionics specialist is highly technical.
Those who are interested in entering this field should begin by taking courses in physics, mechanical drawing, math, electronics, computer science and chemistry. Through these classes, students can acquire a basic working knowledge of the science behind flight and aircraft mechanics.
To begin your actual training as an avionics specialist, you should first enroll in a certified avionics school. At this institution you’ll learn the skills you need to work on a vast array of avionics equipment.
Once your avionics training has been completed, you will qualify to take the necessary FAA exams for certification as an avionics specialist. Additional licenses may be necessary depending on individual job duties and requirements. In addition, avionics specialists often need to be certified through various avionics associations or organizations.
Once you have received certification from all necessary parties, you will be ready to begin your career as an avionics specialist. Ongoing courses or training will be required to help you stay up-to-date on the latest avionics technologies, mechanics, repair techniques or changes in aviation law.
Most avionics training programs offer hands-on, focused learning, allowing you to learn in well-equipped labs, on computers, in classrooms, and inside actual avionics repair shops to gain valuable skills and experience. According to FAA guidelines, students are required to complete a minimum of 1,900 class hours.
The average avionics specialist training program will last anywhere from 18 to 24 months, during which students will receive practical, hands-on avionics instruction. Students enrolled in a certified avionics training program should expect to take courses covering the following topic areas:
- Satellite Communications
- Avionics Troubleshooting
- Test Tools and Equipment
- Network Infrastructures and Topologies
- Aviation Components
- Transmission Lines and Antennas
- Cables and Cabling
- Avionics Systems
If these classes sound appealing and you have always been fascinated with airplanes, consider pursuing a career as an avionics specialist.
If you are one of the many students who are fascinated with the science of aircraft and are interested in a career working with avionics technology, you may be interested in learning how to become an avionics technician.
An initial interest in computer technology, mathematics, electronic science and physics is very helpful if you are considering becoming an avionics technician. These and related areas of study are incorporated daily into the tasks a certified avionics tech must perform. Modern aircraft technology is exceedingly advanced and complex. A strong background and comprehensive understanding of electronics is a necessity.
Because knowledge of aircraft operation is crucial to the ability to repair them, you will need to enroll in a two year or four year technical school that offers programs in avionics technology. It is important to ensure that the school of your choice is accredited by the Federal Aviation Administration, also known as the FAA. These schools support the education and training of certified avionics technicians as well as other students aspiring to become part of the aviation industry.
Most avionics schools require you to accrue a minimum of 1,900 class hours in order to graduate. These hours are spent participating in hands-on projects alongside other students with goals like your own. You will learn to properly and effectively manipulate advanced electronic equipment and cockpit controls, troubleshoot with diagnostic tools and repair common technical issues inside and outside of various types of aircraft.
Following graduation, you will want to apply to take the exams required for certification and licensure. These include the FAA examinations that must be passed before you can become an avionics technician and the radiotelephone license exam provided by the Federal Communications Commission, or the FCC. Obtaining the FCC radiotelephone license represents your knowledge and abilities in radar and radio communications, both of which are increasingly important in the avionics industry. Other certifications that may be necessary can be obtained through the International Society of Certified Electronics Technicians and the National Association of Radio and Telecommunications Engineers.
After you have received your avionics technician’s license, you will be required to complete additional training every 24 months in order to maintain that license. These continued training courses, often provided through your current employer, ensure that you keep in touch with all of the latest technological advancements in the industry.
Avionics jobs and careers present the opportunity for trained and educated men and women to earn a living in avionics. As the technology associated with the avionics industry becomes more advanced, more training will be needed to stay up-to-date. Deciding what type of avionics job is the best fit for you is the first step toward obtaining a position in this field.
The following is a list of some of the most common careers held by individuals with training and certification in avionics.
A&P mechanics are responsible for inspecting, repairing, maintaining and servicing aircraft. Any faulty equipment or damaged parts must be replaced according to the aircraft’s maintenance manual, so the ability to comprehend complex instructions is vital. The A&P mechanic is also responsible for running diagnostic tests on various parts and the aircraft as a whole. Knowledge of specialized tools and the ability to use them properly and safely is also required, and the practical training necessary to perform these and other duties is often available onsite at the employer’s facility.
The interior aircraft mechanic specializes in improving every aspect of the aircraft’s interior. Duties include removing, inspecting, cleaning, repairing and reinstalling interior components such as cabinetry, carpeting and seat upholstery. When overhead bins, tray tables, seats and interior doors require repair or replacement, the interior aircraft mechanic performs these tasks as well. The position may also require the experience and skills necessary to repair the sheet metal that comprises interior walls.
This type of avionics technician receives training that is similar to that of airplane technicians but specializes in the inspection, maintenance and repair of helicopters exclusively. Duties might include installing, repairing and replacing electric systems within the aircraft. You might also collaborate with sheet metal installers to ensure proper integration of electrical systems and wiring, or troubleshoot electrical problems by using specialized diagnostic equipment and your ability to interpret blueprints and work orders.
A structural mechanic is primarily responsible for the planning, fabrication, assembly and repair of the sheet metal structures that comprise an aircraft. If any sheet metal component of the craft is in need of repair or replacement, the structural mechanic assesses the issue and addresses it with the required tools. Work orders and blueprints provide the mechanic with the information needed to sand, bond, cure, weld or rivet sheet metal components for proper assembly or repair.
The flight test pilot is responsible for testing all aspects of an aircraft’s operation during flight. Regular flight testing of aircraft helps to ensure the safety and comfort of both the pilot and future passengers. Testing includes the evaluation of all mechanical and electrical systems, particularly the proper functioning of pilot instruments.
These are only a few of the interesting career opportunities for professionals in the field of avionics.
Aerospace giant Boeing released a long-term market outlook report and it contains good news for those interested in a career in avionics. The report predicts that as global economies grow and tens of thousands of new commercial jetliners are produced, the demand for pilots and educated technicians will also grow exponentially. The company anticipates more than 533,000 pilots and 584,000 airline maintenance technicians will be needed over the next 20 years.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics1, job prospects will be best for technicians who hold an Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) certificate and keep up with technical advances in aircraft electronics and composite materials. The BLS states many older aircraft mechanics are expected to retire between 2010 and 2020, allowing management and entry-level positions to open up for younger mechanics.
Boeing predicts that as next-generation airplanes begin to dominate fleets in the coming years, reliability will improve and maintenance check intervals will lengthen. This trend is likely to moderate the growth of technician positions, but overall hundreds of thousands of new jobs will be created as the global fleet rapidly expands.
The Asia Pacific Region is predicted to lead the spike in technician job growth, with approximately 224,000 new technician personnel needed. North America is predicted to see the second largest growth in demand with 109,000 new technicians required. Airlines in Europe will require 102,000, the Middle East 62,000, Latin America 44,000, the Commonwealth of Independent States (former Soviet Republics) 24,000 and Africa 19,000, according to the report.
In the United States all aircraft mechanics must have specialized schooling and receive certification through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in order to secure a job in the field. There are separate tests for airframe mechanics and engine mechanics as well as the combined A&P certificate. According to the BLS, the majority of aircraft mechanics and technicians work in the scheduled air transportation industries such as shipping and passenger transportation, with a smaller number working for aerospace companies or the federal government.
1Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Aircraft and Avionics Equipment Mechanics and Technicians (visited May 10, 2013).
From Don Sonago, senior manager of technical operations for United Airlines, Inc.
Aircraft designs and technology have come a long way over time, which has proved very demanding for current and upcoming aviation maintenance technicians. In addition, the FAA is predicting a shortage of technicians to fill the void in our aging workforce.
In years past, AMTs mostly performed engine work. Now that engineers have developed engines that run without issues for thousands of hours, our primary focus has turned to repairing the new material being used to fabricate the fuselage, avionics and electrical systems.
The Boeing 787 is the latest introduction into commercial aviation with these highly sophisticated systems and structural developments. The aircraft had its challenges along the way, but is proving to be an industry leader in passenger comfort and fuel economy, which are areas emphasized throughout the aviation industry.
In order to keep this new technology flying, we need people who are highly trained to maintain these systems and produce a clean, safe, reliable and affordable product our customers can appreciate and are willing to pay for. You can price yourself out of the market if you don’t do your job correctly. Troubleshooting a pilot report incorrectly, which causes delay and inconvenience, is a primary example of this. As an AMT, many people rely on you to do your job as quickly as possible while ensuring it gets done correctly so they can get to their destination as scheduled. Bad troubleshooting leads to cost overruns, delayed flights, and very disappointed customers, who ultimately pay the price for mistakes made.
The new AMT must be an individual who can think outside the box and be a leader. We don’t need technicians who have to be told what to do and how to do it. Most of an AMT’s time is unsupervised, but all work closely with their peers to accomplish these tasks. This obviously requires them to be good team players because it is a group effort to accomplish these goals.
I firmly believe this industry has the most diversity to offer anyone looking for a challenge, since it tests your knowledge and abilities every day. This career field isn’t for a person who wants to go into work expecting to do the same tasks each day. It is a good match for a person who is ready to face whatever is thrown at him or her daily.
If you’re willing to take on this challenge, the rewards are tremendous, and you will have a career which will surpass anything you can imagine. You’re not just a technician; you’re an Aviation Maintenance Technician who can make a difference by making decisions and repairing multi-million dollar equipment. You will be envied by other technicians in different career fields and respected by other industries for what you do throughout the world.
Forbes’ list of the Top 15 Blue-Collar Jobs includes Avionics Technicians with an average annual income of $56,940. Forbes found these high-paying blue-collar jobs by examining data collected each year by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a division of the Labor Department. The BLS defines blue-collar and service occupations in the following way: “precision production, craft, and repair occupations; machine operators and inspectors; transportation and moving occupations; handlers; equipment cleaners, helpers, and laborers; and service occupations.” The data is collected through surveys that are mailed to businesses, and each spring the Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates are released. If you prefer a career that gets you up and out of the office, far away from briefcases and neckties, check out the list.
1 Graduates without experience in the field will likely start in entry-level positions. Westwood College does not guarantee employment or salary. Please refer to westwood.edu/disclosures for important information about our programs, including salary information, job titles and employers of our graduates, as well as information about median loan debt and potential occupations from the Department of Education. Redstone prepares graduates for certification. Graduates wishing to attain certification must take and pass any applicable test/exams.
6 Rate is based upon graduates from July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014, as reported on the Denver and Denver East ACICS Campus Accountability Reports. Detailed employment figures for graduates of each campus is available.