Avionics Engineer: Job Description, Duties and Requirements
Avionics engineers work in the aerospace industry. Their work encompasses tasks related to designing and programming electrical systems on board spacecraft, aircraft and satellites. Avionics engineers provide computer system support for all communication, navigation and guidance systems and perform testing to ensure that those systems are working properly.
Working in the aerospace engineering subspecialty field of avionics, Avionics engineers design and develop aircraft and spacecraft avionic instrumentation. They also conduct research to address problems associated with flight safety systems, landing gear and electronic navigation systems.
Avionics engineers may assist in installing and servicing avionics communications equipment. They ensure that newly installed systems and those that have been repaired meet requirements mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration and specifications set by aircraft manufacturers. They participate in designing, purchasing, testing and calibrating avionic systems such as computer and electronic communication panels.
Avionics engineers must have engineering, computer and technical knowledge. They must also be adept at understanding how to solve problems and to implement ideas. Generally, avionics engineers work as members of a team. As such, they are required to have effective communication and interpersonal skills.
In order to become eligible for employment, an avionics engineer must either be a citizen or a permanent legal resident of the U.S. Also, due to the sensitive nature of some jobs, avionics engineers may be required to pass a security clearance check.
The minimum requirement to obtain a job in avionics engineering is completion of training and certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Some avionics engineers have completed an associate's degree in avionics technology. Typically, avionics engineers complete a bachelor's degree in aviation engineering, aerospace engineering or electrical engineering from an accredited college or university.
Some avionics engineers may decide to obtain licensure in order to become a Professional Engineer. In order to receive this credential, the avionic engineer must have earned a 4-year degree from a school accredited through the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, have four years of post-college work experience, and pass the licensing exams given by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveyors.
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), the demand for aerospace engineers should increase by five percent between 2010 and 2020. Most employers look to hire avionics engineers with a 4-year degree in avionics engineering or a related field. The annual median salary for employees in this occupation was $103,720 in 2012 (www.bls.gov).
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