Train To Be An Avionic Technician
Avionic technicians perform maintenance and repairs on aircraft systems and components. Read information on how to train to be an avionic technician fast.
Aircraft are reliant on perfectly calibrated electronic operational systems to function properly. The job of an avionic technician involves the maintenance and repair of these systems and their individual components. Specific training and/or education are required to pursue a career in this field. While obtaining an associate degree or higher is beneficial for job placement and salary range, completing an FAA-approved training program is a common requirement. Understanding what aviation technicians do and what duties/responsibilities are required is an important first step to pursuing this career. Read ahead for an informative guide about how to train to be an avionic technician in 2021.
Avionic Technicians - Job Tasks and Duties
An avionics technician performs a wide variety of tasks and duties related to the maintenance and repair of aircraft-related electronic systems. Responsibilities for this career field are demanding and intense because the safety of any aircraft under maintenance is dependent on the quality of all applicable work performed. Parts and wiring are routinely checked for quality, functionality, current issues and potentially imminent problems. Any issues discovered must be corrected before an aircraft is able to fly again. Even perceived issues require examination to rule out possible flight hazards.
Avionic technicians work to ensure wiring and components function individually and in cooperation with each other. New equipment is installed as needed. Compliance with local, regional, state and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) safety regulations is required. The ability to safely operate power/hand tools is necessary, as is an unwavering work ethic and commitment to excellence on the job. Additional job tasks and duties performed by aviation technicians include:
- Cleaning dirty components.
- Repairing wings and brakes.
- Interpreting flight test data to predict and prevent any malfunctions.
- Installing instrument panels.
- Inspecting all completed work for quality/accuracy.
- Maintaining accurate records and logs of all work/repairs performed.
How to Become an Avionic Technician
Some candidates begin the process of becoming an aviation technician at an early age. Others discover an interest in the field through military experience or later in life. If you are prior military, it helps. For example, growing up working on vehicles and learning how to change oil and perform basic repairs does not have the same safety implications as working on aircraft systems and components. Employers require candidates to have an FAA-approved certificate and/or college degree in related fields in most cases because the safety of passengers, flight crew and people on the ground is dependent on the quality of work performed.
Some candidates for aviation technician careers know in high school what vocational path they intend to follow. Leaning skills and gaining valuable experience with electronics early becomes invaluable to your job prospects later. Many high schools offer vocational-technical (vo-tech) school programs, which include training in the basics of electronics and various associated terminology. Getting a head start on your career by taking advantage of early learning opportunities only improves your chances of success overall.
Minimum Required Education (FAA Certification)
An FAA-issued certification/operational license comprises the minimum required education for getting hired as an aviation technician in 2021. These specialized training programs are available through any FAA-certificated Aviation Maintenance Technician School (AMTS). Certification programs generally last eighteen to twenty-four months, although accelerated schedules might be available for students with military or other related experience. Accelerated programs generally take six to eight months to complete.
An associate or higher degree in Avionics Maintenance Technology (AMT) or related fields is not required to gain employment as an aviation technician. It does increase your value to employers, however, as well as your entry-level earning potential. Degree programs tend to focus on the powerplant of the aircraft, while certificate programs train students on applicable electrical components. Therefore, a related college degree also expands your knowledge and career advancement potential.
Aviation technician jobs are available with commercial airline companies, private airports and various aircraft facilities around the world. Many aviation technicians are employed in the Aerospace industry as well. Organizations such as JSfirm, Indeed and ZipRecruiter make the online job search process simple and convenient. The FAA also posts job openings for qualified aviation technicians in 2021.
Continued Certification Requirements
Updating your certification status is often required for compliance with new rules/regulations. It also keeps you apprised of advances in technology. Obtaining additional voluntary certifications helps bolster salary/promotion opportunities.
Avionic Technician Schools 2021
Schools available for aviation technician training are available at certificate and degree levels in 2021. Locating credible institutions is possible by using the FAA-facilitated online search portal. Tuition costs range between $2,000 and $37,500 or more depending on type of degree pursued and your status as an in/out-of-state student. Certificate programs last eighteen to twenty-four months or less if accelerated scheduling is permitted. Associate degree programs take two years to complete. It requires four years total to obtain a related bachelor’s degree.
Most schools offer discounted tuition to students who remain in-state to study. Choosing the best school for you depends on your career goals, ability to afford tuition (or receive financial aid) and location preferences. Some of the top aviation technician schools for certificate and degree programs include:
- Aviation Institute of Maintenance.
- Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics.
- San Joaquin Valley College-Fresno Aviation.
- National Aviation Academy of Tampa Bay.
- Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology.
- WSU Tech.
Aviation Technician - Salary Expectations and Financial Aid
Aviation technicians earn an average of $32+ per hour, although salaries range from $20-50 per hour or $35,000-$110,000+ per year. Entry-level salaries vary based on company needs, candidate skillsets/experience and market conditions. Median salary for aviation technicians is $66,680 per year with a projected job growth rate of five percent through 2029.
Financial aid to help pay for tuition expenses might be available by completing the Free Application for Federal School Aid (FAFSA) form. This form guides you to applications for Federal Pell Grants and other resources for possible tuition assistance. The FAA also provides resources for grants and scholarships, as does scholarships.com.