Advanced Electronics Technology Degree

With all the focus on college education, many people forget there also are plenty of technical degrees for jobs with a good salary. One such degree is the Advanced Electronics Technology degree, offered by many vocational and specialty schools. This degree allows graduates to work on the complex electronics systems contained in commercial and military aircraft.

What Does An Advanced Electronics Technology Specialist Do?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics lists typical job duties of an advanced electronics technology specialist as:

  • Testing electronic equipment with specialized tools
  • Interpreting flight test data to diagnose problems
  • Assembling components of airplane electrical systems
  • Installing instrument panels
  • Repairing malfunctioning electronic components
  • Keeping records of maintenance work and repairs

Aviation electronics is a complex field. Students begin with a study of general electronics then move to hands-on work with aircraft electronic systems. According to this source, electronics specialists for aircraft should be prepared to work with:

  • Navigation and communication systems, including those that allow inter-plane communication and discussion between ground crews and pilots
  • Digital instrumentation, including the multitude of readouts present in any commercial jet
  • Advanced electronics systems including computerized flight aids such as automatic pilots and satellite-based communication

How Can I Become An Advanced Electronics Technology Specialist?

Aviation electronic specialists usually require at least 17 months of training followed by 2100 hours of real-life practice. The Bureau of Labor Statistics takes in a much broader category of aviation mechanics and lists requirements as 18 to 24 months of schooling followed by practical experience.

Individuals interested in an advanced electronics technology specialist degree should check with their choice of local junior college or technical school to find out about specific degree requirements.

The school you choose should also be one that is certified by the Federal Aviation Administration. It is very important that your degree be endorsed by the FAA to enable you as qualified to work in the aviation industry.

You will also have to pass a FAA test in order to be certified as an advanced electronics technology specialist. This test is offered only to those who have at least 30 months experience or who have completed and FAA-approved training course. The tests are given by computer at various locations around the country.

Candidates for this job must also meet basic physical requirements. You must be able to climb on airplanes without fear of heights to reach certain areas of the aircraft and possess precise manual dexterity to enable them to work with small component parts. Advanced electronics technology specialists must also be conversant with computer programs required to do their job and possess a basic level of reading to enable them to understand complex written technical instructions. Good candidates often have strong trouble-shooting skills and analytic ability.

Where Can I Find A Job As An Advanced Electronics Technology Specialist?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that aviation technology specialists are employed in the following capacities by percentage of employees:

  • Aerospace parts manufacturing, 31 percent
  • Support for air transportation at airports, 26 percent
  • Federal government, 12 percent
  • Scheduled air transport, 11 percent
  • Navigational and electronic instrument manufacturing, 4 percent

Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that job growth industry-wide between now and 2020 will be about 6 percent. The largest growth areas will be in the private sector, although government jobs may still be available outside the military.

How Much Can I Earn As An Advanced Electronics Technology Specialist?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics gives the annual median salary for aviation electronics specialist as $52,320. Those working in scheduled air transportation had the highest median salaries at $56,550; aerospace production employees earned $54,050; federal government workers earned $53,140; those who worked in navigational and electronics manufacturing earned $51,120; and those who worked in support activities, including working at airports, earned $46,160.

Salaries will be largely determined by demand. As more outsourcing occurs, aviation electronics specialist jobs may decrease in number but salaries may increase based on fewer qualified employees available for these jobs.

Becoming an advanced electronics technology specialist requires a certain degree of mathematical and technical knowledge. However, for those interested in complex mechanics, it can be a rewarding and lucrative career that requires a relatively short time period of education and training when compared to other jobs, especially those requiring four-year degrees.

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