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Top 10 Avionics Engineer Certifications

This article provides an overview of the most important certifications for avionics engineers, including which qualifications are necessary and how to obtain them.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 18 min read

Certifications are important for avionics engineers in the job market because they demonstrate a level of expertise and professional development. Certifications provide employers with assurance that engineers are knowledgeable, have experience, and can work independently. They also give engineers an edge over non-certified competitors when applying for positions. Additionally, certifications can open doors to higher salaries, better job opportunities, and more responsibility within an organization.

The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of certifications that can help Avionics Engineers advance their careers and gain a competitive edge in the field.

What are Avionics Engineer Certifications?

Avionics engineer certification is a type of professional certification that is designed to provide recognition for individuals who have the knowledge and skills necessary to design, install, maintain, and repair avionics systems. Avionics systems are complex electrical systems used on aircrafts and spacecrafts. They include flight control systems, navigation systems, communication systems, data management systems, and other specialized components.

The certification process for avionics engineers includes passing a written exam and obtaining work experience in the field. The exam covers topics such as aircraft electrical wiring diagrams, troubleshooting techniques, aircraft radio communications principles and techniques, aircraft instrumentation principles and techniques, air traffic control principles and techniques, and more. Once certified, avionics engineers must complete continuing education courses every two years to stay up-to-date with technological advances in the field.

Having an avionics engineer certification can help individuals stand out from their peers when applying for jobs or promotions within the industry. It also demonstrates that they have the knowledge and skills needed to safely install, maintain, repair, or upgrade complex electrical systems on aircrafts or spacecrafts. Additionally, employers may view it as a sign of dedication to their profession since obtaining this certification requires significant effort on behalf of the individual.

Pro tip: Make sure to keep up with the latest industry standards when it comes to avionics engineer certification. Familiarize yourself with the FAA regulations and understand the requirements for obtaining a certification. Additionally, seek out additional training and certifications that can help you stay ahead of the curve in the field.

Related: What does an Avionics Engineer do?

Top 10 Avionics Engineer Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Avionics Engineers today.

1. Certified Avionics Technician (CAT)

A Certified Avionics Technician (CAT) is an individual who has successfully completed a comprehensive training program and achieved certification in the field of avionics. Avionics technicians specialize in the installation, maintenance, and repair of aircraft electronic systems and components. They must understand how to use specialized tools, interpret wiring diagrams, read technical manuals, and troubleshoot complex electrical systems.

It typically takes two to three years of on-the-job experience to become eligible for CAT certification. During this time, technicians must complete a minimum number of hours of formal training from an accredited school or institution. Once they have met the requirements for eligibility, they can take the CAT exam administered by the National Center for Aerospace & Transportation Technologies (NCATT).

The cost for taking the CAT exam varies depending on the institution administering it. Generally speaking, it costs around $400-$500 to take the exam. The fee covers all materials related to taking the exam such as study guides, practice tests, and other resources. It also includes any administrative fees associated with registering for and taking the exam.

Once a technician passes the CAT exam they will receive their official certification card which serves as proof that they are qualified to work as an avionics technician in any aviation environment. This certification is valid for three years after which time it must be renewed by retaking and passing the CAT exam again.

2. FAA Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) Certification

FAA Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) Certification is a certification issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). It certifies that an individual has the knowledge and skills to maintain, inspect, troubleshoot, repair, and overhaul aircraft. This certification is required for individuals who wish to work as an aircraft mechanic or technician in the United States.

In order to obtain an A&P Certification, an individual must complete a two-part exam administered by the FAA. The first part of the exam covers general aviation maintenance knowledge and the second part covers airframe and powerplant systems. The exams are typically taken at an FAA-approved testing center.

The process of obtaining an A&P Certification can take anywhere from several months to a year depending on how much time you have available to study for the exams. Additionally, there may be additional requirements such as completing a certain number of hours of hands-on training or having experience in the field before taking the exams.

The cost of obtaining an A&P Certification varies depending on where you take your tests and any other additional requirements that you may need to fulfill. Generally speaking, it can cost anywhere from $500-$1000 USD for all related expenses including test fees, books, materials, etc.

3. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Radio Operator License

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Radio Operator License is a license issued by the FCC that allows individuals to operate certain types of radio equipment. This includes amateur radios, shortwave radios, and other types of communication devices. The license is required for anyone who wants to transmit signals on any frequency regulated by the FCC.

To obtain an FCC Radio Operator License, applicants must first pass an exam administered by the National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (NCVEC). The NCVEC offers two levels of exams: Technician Class and General Class. The Technician Class exam covers basic rules and regulations as well as operating procedures, while the General Class exam covers more advanced topics such as antenna theory and digital modes.

The cost of taking the exam varies depending on where it is taken; however, most test centers charge between $15-$25 for each exam. It typically takes about two hours to complete both exams.

Once you have passed the exams, you will need to submit an application to the FCC along with a copy of your passing scores and a fee of $35. It usually takes about three weeks for your application to be processed and your license issued.

Once you have obtained your license, it is valid for 10 years before needing to be renewed or upgraded.

4. Aircraft Electronics Technician (AET) Certification

Aircraft Electronics Technician (AET) Certification is a professional certification program designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a high level of expertise in the maintenance and repair of aircraft electronics systems. The certification is offered by the National Center for Aerospace & Transportation Technologies (NCATT).

The AET certification program consists of three levels: Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced. To become certified at any level, applicants must pass an examination that covers topics such as electrical theory, digital circuitry, troubleshooting techniques, and aircraft systems.

The Basic AET certification requires applicants to pass a two-hour written exam. The Intermediate AET certification requires applicants to pass a four-hour written exam in addition to completing an approved training course. The Advanced AET certification requires applicants to pass a six-hour written exam in addition to completing an approved training course.

It typically takes between one and four months to complete the necessary training courses and exams required for AET certification depending on the individual's experience level and their ability to study for the exams.

To get certified, applicants must apply online or by mail with NCATT and pay the applicable fees for each level of certification they are seeking. Fees vary depending on which level of certification is sought but generally range from $150-$500 USD per application plus additional costs associated with taking the required exams.

5. Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) Certification

Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) Certification is a credential that allows an individual to teach others how to fly. It is issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and requires extensive training and experience in order to become certified.

To get a CFI certification, you must first have a valid commercial pilot’s license or higher. You will then need to complete an FAA-approved ground school course, pass a written exam, and complete a practical flight test with an FAA-designated examiner. The ground school course typically takes around 40 hours of instruction and can be completed online or in person at an aviation school or university. The written exam consists of 100 multiple choice questions and must be passed with at least 70% accuracy. The practical flight test includes demonstrating proficiency in aircraft control, navigation, emergency procedures, and other topics related to flight instruction.

The cost of the CFI certification varies depending on the type of training you receive and the number of hours required for completion. Generally speaking, it can range anywhere from $2,500-$7,000 USD. It typically takes between 6-12 months to obtain your CFI certification if you are following the conventional route of completing ground school courses and taking exams/tests as needed.

6. Certified Aviation Maintenance Technician (CAMT)

A Certified Aviation Maintenance Technician (CAMT) is a professional credential issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to qualified aviation maintenance technicians. The CAMT certification is designed to ensure that only highly-qualified and experienced individuals are performing aircraft maintenance work.

To become a CAMT, an individual must first complete an FAA-approved program of study in aircraft maintenance technology. This program typically takes two years to complete and includes courses in airframe, powerplant, and avionics systems. After completing the program, the individual must pass a written test administered by the FAA and then take an oral exam with an FAA inspector. Upon successful completion of these exams, the individual will be issued a CAMT certificate.

The cost of obtaining a CAMT certification varies depending on where you receive your training and other factors such as the cost of materials used for studying. Generally speaking, it will cost around $2,000-$3,000 to obtain this certification.

7. Certified Avionics Systems Technician (CAST)

Certified Avionics Systems Technician (CAST) is a certification program designed to provide an industry standard for avionics technicians. This certification recognizes individuals who have demonstrated the knowledge and skills necessary to install, maintain, troubleshoot, and repair aircraft avionics systems.

The CAST certification is offered through the National Center for Aerospace & Transportation Technologies (NCATT). The course consists of two parts: a written exam and a practical exam. The written exam covers topics such as aircraft electrical systems, digital avionics systems, navigation systems, communication systems, and instrumentation systems. The practical exam tests the candidate’s ability to install, troubleshoot, and repair aircraft avionics systems.

In order to become certified as a CAST technician, an individual must first complete an approved NCATT training program or equivalent experience in the field of aviation electronics technology. Once the training is completed, the individual can then take the NCATT written and practical exams in order to become certified as a CAST technician.

The cost of becoming certified as a CAST technician varies depending on the type of training program chosen by the individual. Generally speaking, it will cost between $2,000 and $4,000 for tuition and materials for an approved NCATT training program. In addition to this cost, there are also fees associated with taking the NCATT written and practical exams which range from $150-$200 per exam.

8. FAA Instrument Rating

The FAA Instrument Rating is a certification that allows pilots to fly in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). This means that the pilot can fly in clouds, low visibility, and other challenging weather conditions. The Instrument Rating requires the pilot to demonstrate knowledge and proficiency in operating an aircraft using only instruments for navigation.

It typically takes between 50-100 hours of flight time to earn an Instrument Rating. In addition to flight time, the pilot must also pass written and practical tests administered by the FAA. The written test consists of 60 questions on aeronautical topics such as air traffic control procedures, navigation systems, and regulations. The practical test requires the pilot to demonstrate their ability to perform maneuvers safely and accurately while relying solely on instruments for navigation.

To get an Instrument Rating, a person must first obtain a private pilot license or higher from the FAA. After obtaining a private license, they must complete ground school training which covers topics such as instrument procedures, weather interpretation, and airspace regulations. Once they have completed ground school training they can begin flying with an instructor who will help them build their flight time and prepare for their written and practical exams.

The cost of getting an Instrument Rating varies depending on factors such as the type of aircraft being used for training, instructor rates, fuel costs, etc. Generally speaking though it can cost anywhere from $5,000-$10,000 or more depending on how much flight time is required to meet all requirements set forth by the FAA.

9. Avionics Installation & Troubleshooting Certification

Avionics Installation and Troubleshooting Certification is a certification offered by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This certification is designed to ensure that technicians who install, maintain, and troubleshoot avionics systems on aircraft are qualified and knowledgeable in the field.

The certification process takes approximately two months to complete. During this time, applicants must pass an FAA written exam as well as a practical test. The written exam covers topics such as electrical theory, system design, installation procedures, and troubleshooting techniques. The practical test requires applicants to demonstrate their ability to properly install and troubleshoot avionics systems.

To become certified, applicants must first meet certain requirements set by the FAA. These include having a minimum of 18 months of experience in avionics maintenance or installation and passing a background check. Applicants must also have at least 40 hours of documented training related to avionics installation or maintenance.

The cost for Avionics Installation and Troubleshooting Certification varies depending on the type of training required. Generally, it can range from $2,000 to $3,500 for the entire process including the written exam and practical test fees.

10. FAA Airline Transport Pilot Certificate

The FAA Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Certificate is the highest level of pilot certification and is required to act as a pilot-in-command for airline operations. It requires a minimum of 1,500 hours of flight time and an extensive knowledge of aviation regulations and procedures. To obtain the ATP certificate, applicants must pass a written exam, an oral exam, and a flight test. The written exam covers topics such as aerodynamics, aircraft systems, navigation, weather, regulations, and more. The oral exam focuses on the applicant's knowledge of aircraft systems and operational procedures. Finally, the flight test evaluates the applicant's ability to safely operate an aircraft in accordance with applicable regulations.

It typically takes between six months to two years to obtain an ATP certificate depending on how quickly an individual can accumulate the required flight time. Applicants must have at least 250 hours of pilot-in-command time in order to be eligible for the ATP certificate. Additionally, they must have completed a ground school course or equivalent training program that covers all areas tested on the written exam.

The cost of obtaining an ATP certificate varies depending on how quickly you accumulate your flight time and which type of training program you choose to pursue. Generally speaking, it costs anywhere from $10,000-$20,000 for all necessary exams and training materials needed to get your ATP certificate.

Do You Really Need a Avionics Engineer Certificate?

Avionics engineering is a highly specialized field that requires extensive knowledge and expertise. As such, it is important to ensure that those who work in this field have the necessary qualifications and experience to do so safely and effectively. An avionics engineer certificate can provide assurance of an individual’s qualifications and ability to perform the job.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that all avionics engineers must be certified by the FAA or a designated organization before they can work on any aircraft systems or components. The type of certification required depends upon the specific job duties the individual will be performing. For example, if an individual will be working with navigation equipment, then they must obtain an Avionics Navigation Systems Certificate from the FAA. A separate certificate may also be required for repair and maintenance activities related to avionics systems.

In addition to obtaining a certificate from the FAA, many employers also require their employees to hold additional certifications from other organizations such as the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA). These certifications demonstrate a higher level of training and expertise in specific areas of aviation electronics.

Having an avionics engineer certificate is not only important for meeting legal requirements but also for ensuring safe operations within the aviation industry. The complex nature of modern avionics systems requires a high degree of skill and knowledge in order to maintain them properly. Without proper training and certification, individuals may make mistakes that could put lives at risk or cause costly damage to aircraft systems.

Overall, having an avionics engineer certificate is essential for anyone seeking employment in this field or who wants to advance their career within it. This certification provides assurance that individuals have met all necessary qualifications and possess the necessary skills needed to safely perform their job duties.

Related: Avionics Engineer Resume Examples

FAQs About Avionics Engineer Certifications

1. What is an Avionics Engineer Certification?

Answer: An Avionics Engineer Certification is a professional certification that demonstrates an individual has the knowledge and skills necessary to design, install, and maintain aircraft avionics systems.

2. What are the requirements for obtaining an Avionics Engineer Certification?

Answer: Requirements vary by country and certifying body, but typically include passing exams related to avionics systems, aircraft regulations and safety standards, electronics theory, maintenance practices, troubleshooting techniques, etc.

3. How long does it take to earn an Avionics Engineer Certification?

Answer: The time it takes to earn a certification varies depending on experience level and individual study habits; however, most certifications can be earned within 1-2 years of dedicated study.

4. How much does an Avionics Engineer Certification cost?

Answer: Costs vary from country to country and certifying body to certifying body; however, most certifications range from $500-$3,000 USD in total expenses (including exam fees).

5. Are there any continuing education requirements for maintaining an Avionics Engineer Certification?

Answer: Yes, some certifying bodies require periodic continuing education courses or recertification exams in order to maintain a valid certification status.