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Degree Overview: Associate of Arts (A.A.) Degree in Aviation Electronics Technology

Majors Overview February 12, 2014

Students can be prepared for entry-level jobs as aviation and aircraft mechanics and service technicians when they take an Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree program in aviation electronics technology (AET), also called avionics. The program features a combination of hands-on training and classroom instruction.

A.A. Programs in Aviation Electronics Technology

Students enrolled in programs leading to the associate degree in aviation technology or avionics are trained in the installation, testing, calibration and repair of electronic equipment on aircraft such as autopilot systems, cockpit instruments, communications, navigation systems and radar.

Coursework typically combines classroom lectures and lab instruction. Government regulations and theory are usually covered in classroom sessions with application of the theory done in lab sessions where students can use specialized tools and test equipment. It usually takes about two years to complete these programs.

Education Requirements

Admission criteria typically require applicants to hold a GED certificate or high school diploma. Passage of a placement exam may be expected in some programs, while in others, math courses may have to be complete before students are allowed to begin the program.

Coursework

Students enrolled in Avionics associate degree programs are typically provided instruction in academics to augment core concepts of aviation technology. Coursework typically includes subject areas such as:

•Radar components
•FAA regulations
•Autopilot controls
•Pulse and digital systems
•Electronic circuits
•Navigation systems

Career Choices

Qualified AET technicians may seek entry-level jobs with employers such as the military, aircraft manufacturers, and airlines and aspire for various job titles including:

•Avionics tester
•Avionics manager
•Avionics installer
•Avionics technician
•Avionics systems integration specialist

Certification and Continuing Education Choices

Graduates of an aviation technology program may choose to continue their education by earning a bachelor’s degree in related fields such as aerospace engineering or aviation maintenance management. Aspiring pilots may enroll into specific bachelor’s degree programs devised for them, as for instance, in aircraft operations.

Only certified technicians, or individuals under supervision of certified technicians, are permitted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations to work on aircraft. Certification can be earned by aspiring technicians through the completion of aviation technology programs – including associate degrees – approved by the FAA. Airframe and avionics training are combined by some institutions into a single program. Relevant civilian work experience or military service is accepted by the FAA in the absence of FAA airframe certification. Graduates are also typically prepared by programs for certification by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

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