Avionics TechnicianJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends

Avionics technicians inspect and test all the electrical and computer systems that keep airplanes, helicopters, and spacecraft flying. They assemble and install the avionics equipment on various aircraft and aerospace projects, including radar systems, radio communications equipment, and flight controls. In addition to servicing and installing avionics equipment, avionics technicians test avionics systems to ensure they function properly before an aircraft can take off. They also repair malfunctioning systems.

Avionics technician candidates should be computer-minded and enjoy working with their hands. They should also have experience using electronic testing equipment and reading wiring diagrams and schematics. An avionics technician needs to be a critical thinker, analytical problem solver, and an organized person, to maintain equipment and service records.

Sample job description

[Your Company Name] is looking for an avionics technician. Your position is going to be crucial to maintaining the electronics in our planes. You will be in charge of maintaining, upgrading, and modifying radio devices and navigation equipment. At [Your Company Name] we value hard work, talent, and the ability to be a team player. You will have to regularly review our plane’s electronic systems in this position to ensure proper functioning. Transportation and the proper certifications are required. If this sounds like the job for you, go ahead and apply!

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Test and implement avionics systems and products based on specifications
  • Monitor maintenance and inspection plans
  • Repair and maintain avionics systems as needed
  • Set up ground support and testing equipment to check flight-readiness
  • Assemble avionics components using hand tools or soldering irons

Education and experience

This position requires a high school diploma or its equivalent and an Airframe and Powerplant License certificate from a program approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Some employers prefer candidates to obtain an associate degree for certain positions.

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

  • Bachelor’s degree in avionics or aviation technology
  • Certification from the FAA or FCC
  • 4+ years of experience

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for an avionics technician is $65,800 per year in the United States. Compensation will vary based on experience, geography, industry, and company size.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$65,450 $88,550
Los Angeles, California$73,850 $99,900
Denver, Colorado$61,500$83,250 
Washington, DC$74,950$101,400 
Miami, Florida$61,250$82,850
Orlando, Florida$56,500$76,450 
Tampa, Florida$57,050$77,200
Atlanta, Georgia$59,850$80,950 
Chicago, Illinois$68,800$93,050 
Boston, Massachusetts$74,400$100,650
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$59,300$80,200 
New York City, New York$78,300 $105,950
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$63,750$86,250
Dallas, Texas$62,100$84,000
Houston, Texas$61,500$83,250
Seattle, Washington$71,600$96,850
National Average$55,950$75,650

Typical work environment

Avionics technicians will usually work full-time in order to maintain the planes and keep their electronics up to date. This means the technicians will be required to move physical locations often, only spending a few hours at a desk location. Technicians are often responsible for the repair, maintenance, and inspection of avionics equipment. Avionics technicians specialize in repairing plane equipment, but their broad understanding of electronics and wiring, in general, allows them to modify and understand required aspects that delve beyond the specifics of avionics. They may be required to work high above the aircraft, use scaffolding, or work in intense heat or cold to ensure planes are being fixed on schedule.

Typical hours

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

Available certifications

Companies looking to hire an avionics tech will require some sort of relevant certification, such as the following:

  • Avionics Electronics Technician (AVN). This certification offers coverage of many of the mechanisms and electronics required in any common avionics position. It is designed to test the knowledge of any avionics technician in multiple fields, including the installation or maintenance of equipment and cable.
  • Aircraft Electronics Technician (AET). Offered by the ASTM’s National Center for Aerospace & Transportation Technologies, this certification offers the ability to commit and prove yourself through testing and certifying requirements. The technical standards for this certification are reviewed and verified by the ASTM technical committee.
  • CompTIA A+ Certification. The CompTIA certification evaluates the technical skills and computer maintenance knowledge of technicians and is a certification that is recognized as valid by many major companies and businesses.
  • Certified Technical Professional (CTP). The CTP certificate is created for graduates. It tests on a variety of general concepts which are useful for technical positions and similar work fields.

Career path

This position requires a high school diploma or its equivalent and an Airframe and Powerplant License certificate from a program approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Some employers prefer candidates to obtain an associate degree for certain positions or career advancement. Successful avionics technicians can advance into leadership roles such as lead mechanic, lead inspector, or shop supervisor.

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 avionics technicians will have 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 aircraft or companies seeking more modern, more 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

  • Do you have any previous avionics experience?
  • How do you handle working under pressure?
  • Can you describe how you would successfully fix [Equipment Here]?
  • How would you diagnose a problem if you didn’t have a manual?
  • Name a time where you encountered a problem with avionics equipment. How did you fix it?
  • Do you know what crimpers are?
  • What do you consider to be your greatest strength in avionics?
  • Are you willing to learn and solve problems?
  • How long have you been working in avionics?
  • What certifications do you have that are relevant to this current position?

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