Aircraft ElectricianJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends

An aircraft electrician installs and repairs electrical wiring in an aircraft, including cutting and stripping wire and insulating electrical connections. They also service the electrical components. In addition, aircraft electricians run tests on equipment to locate issues and install needed replacement parts. That can include reassembling circuit boards, motor components, or other parts of a system.

Aircraft electrician candidates should know about computer hardware and software, as well as other electrical components such as circuit boards and processors. They should enjoy working with their hands and have experience using electronic testing equipment and reading wiring diagrams and schematics. An aircraft electrician needs to be a critical thinker and analytical problem solver, as well as an organized person, to maintain equipment and service records.

Sample job description

Air travel is used by thousands of people each day, and everyone expects the aircraft to be in top condition. Aircraft electricians play a key role as they inspect and repair aircrafts according to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations. An effective aircraft electrician will take pride in the quality of their workmanship and be able to work under difficult circumstances, such as on uneven surfaces, at heights, or where dust or fumes may be present.

[Your Company Name] is looking for someone with strength and stamina who can work alone or with a team and who can follow directions. You will need to be confident using personal protective equipment and have at least one year of experience in the field.  

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Monitor maintenance and inspection plans
  • Repair and maintain electrical systems as needed
  • Perform system testing to evaluate performance and functionality
  • Maintain inventory control of electrical components and tools
  • Recommend upgrades and modifications to improve system performance

Education and experience

This position requires an associate degree in aviation maintenance technology or an Airframe and Powerplant License certificate from a program approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Required skills and qualifications

  • Analytical, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills
  • Teamwork and interpersonal communication skills
  • Mechanical aptitude and ability to understand wiring diagrams and schematics
  • Strong hand-eye coordination and proficiency in using tools like soldering equipment
  • High-level organization skills

Preferred qualifications

  • Working knowledge of military, commercial, or general aviation aircraft
  • Reliability, communications skills, workmanship, and good judgment are essential traits
  • Bachelor’s degree or 3+ years of experience

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for an aircraft electrician is $72,500 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$72,100$97,550
Los Angeles, California$81,350$110,050
Denver, Colorado$67,800 $91,700
Washington, DC$82,600$111,700
Miami, Florida$67,500$91,300 
Orlando, Florida$62,250$84,200 
Tampa, Florida$62,850$85,050 
Atlanta, Georgia$65,950$89,200
Chicago, Illinois$75,800$102,550
Boston, Massachusetts$81,950 $110,900
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$65,300 $88,400 
New York City, New York$86,300$116,750
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$70,250 $95,050 
Dallas, Texas$68,400 $92,550 
Houston, Texas$67,800 $91,700
Seattle, Washington$78,900$106,700 
National Average$61,650 $83,350

Typical work environment

Most aircraft electricians will work in rotating 8-hour shifts and could be in hangars, airfields, or aircraft repair stations. They need the ability to handle heights as well as both hot and cold weather. Aircraft electricians often need to wear personal protective equipment while also carrying tools, and ascending ladders, scaffolding, or ramps. Aircraft electricians will be required to lift and move heavy objects and will frequently stand up, sit down, and use repetitive hand motions.  

Typical hours

Aircraft electricians usually work rotating, eight-hour shifts. That means overnight, weekend, and holiday shifts are common in this field.

Available certifications

Most companies will need an aircraft electrician to increase sales, so many institutions offer different certifications to help. Check out the following: 

  • Avionics Electronics Technician (AVN). This course tests those who work with installing and repairing electronic equipment and accessories in aircrafts. Topics covered include antennas, network topologies and infrastructures, optical cabling, and test equipment and tools. The test costs around $80 and the passing score is 75% or higher. This certification must be renewed every four years and requires two years of work experience. 
  • Certified Environmental Professional: Environmental Operations. This prestigious certification is for those who want to further their career in the environmental profession. It says to employers that you are someone with a history of excellence, knowledge, and experience. This is often awarded to someone who has a bachelor’s or more than nine years of experience. There is a mentor program available to applicants who would like to have a point of contact during their application process.  
  • Master Certified Electronics Technician (CETma). This certification is available for aircraft technicians with six or more years of experience and is used to demonstrate proficiency to potential employers. A test score of 85% or higher is needed to be eligible for this certification. A renewal of the certification is required every year.

Career path

The path to becoming an aircraft electrician starts with earning an associate degree in aviation maintenance technology or an Airframe and Powerplant License certificate from a program approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Aircraft electricians can obtain a Radiotelephone Operator License from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) or an Aircraft Electronics Technician (AET) certificate from the National Center for Aerospace and Transportation Technologies (NCATT) to become more attractive to employers and advance in their careers.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 49-2091

2020 Employment21,200
Projected Employment in 203023,200
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 10% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift2,100 increase

According to the trade publication Industry Week, one major trend impacting the aviation industry in the years to come is the increasing advancements in aviation technology. Specifically, the conversions to new, more efficient electronics systems in aircraft will mean aircraft electricians will need to stay educated on the latest technological improvements.

Another trend in the aviation and aerospace industry is the need for new aircraft. Whether it’s mature markets looking to replace aging airplanes or companies seeking more modern, fuel-efficient aircraft, many companies are looking to replace their fleets. That could mean an increase in job opportunities on the design and manufacturing side, rather than an increase in opportunities for repair and maintenance professionals.

Sample interview questions

  • What motivates you at work?
  • What qualities does an excellent aircraft electrician have?  
  • Where do you see your career heading in the next five years?
  • Tell me about a time you had to work under difficult circumstances (such as bad weather, on a high scaffold, etc.). How did it go for you?
  • What kinds of aircrafts have you worked on in the past?
  • What do you like about working as an aircraft electrician?
  • What do you dislike about working as an aircraft electrician?
  • Can you tell me a time you removed defective equipment using hand tools and manual equipment?  
  • What part of maintenance training did you excel in?
  • Tell me about a time where your actions didn’t line up with your core values.
  • What is your ideal workspace environment?
  • Are you able to work as part of a team? 
  • Can you describe how you read and interpret the manuals, service bulletins, and other documentation to determine the best method of repairing or replacing malfunctioning or damaged components?     
  • Tell me about a time you made a mistake. How did you handle it? 
  • Can you tell me how you know an aircraft is ready to fly based on FFA standards?  
  • Describe a time you received criticism from your supervisor. How did you respond to it? 
  • Can you explain ways to best maintain, repair, and rebuild aircraft structures, functional components, and parts, such as wings and fuselage, rigging, gaskets, and seals?

Aircraft Electrician Jobs in Ashburn

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