(WACO, Texas) – Jason Macon, of Boerne, wants one day to fly for a living. But first he wants to understand how the electrical systems in airplanes work.
The Texas State Technical College student is working toward an Associate of Applied Science degree in Avionics Technology and is scheduled to graduate this summer. He is also doing an avionics internship at JAG Aviation in McGregor.
“Don’t give up,” Macon said his advice to aspiring avionics students would be. “It will be difficult, but keep strong and keep focused.”
Marty Segraves, an instructor in TSTC’s Avionics Technology program, recommended Macon for the internship because it would provide good work experience. Segraves said students have done internships and been hired at various businesses throughout Texas.
“They get to see and validate what they are learning in the classroom is actually done in the field,” Segraves said.
Austin Harless began working at JAG Aviation after he graduated from TSTC’s Avionics Technology program in 2021. He chose Avionics Technology because he likes airplanes and working with his hands.
Harless said there are some people who have to ask him what avionics is when he mentions what his occupation is.
“I just usually say aircraft electrician,” he said. “That is how I say it to people.”
He said he has learned a lot while working at the company, including how to do complex installations and testing of aircraft systems. Work is done under Federal Aviation Administration guidelines.
“I do like this company,” Harless said. “It’s a nice family environment.”
James Isenhour, avionics director at JAG Aviation, said TSTC’s Avionics Technology program is great for students to pursue because there is not a slowdown in commercial and general aviation, with space travel showing much promise.
Isenhour said TSTC’s Avionics Technology program offers trainable interns and potential employees who can work on equipment similar to what the JAG Aviation staff uses.
“The nice thing is we have that potential there,” he said. “We get to pick the best because they are here. It gives us an opportunity to shape and keep the curriculum up to date, and if we have excess equipment, we can donate to (TSTC).”
Isenhour said people pursuing the avionics field should enjoy solving problems and have an appreciation for aviation and flying. He said workers should have sound integrity, good hand-eye coordination, mathematics skills and the ability to help customers understand what work will take place.
“Every plane has its own little quirks and differences,” he said.
Avionics skills can also be used in the marine industry, Isenhour said.
“There are so many opportunities for avionics technicians to work,” he said.
According to Zippia.com, a career expert website, there are more than 15,000 avionics technicians nationwide, with 87.4% of them being men and 8.8% being women. The average age for an avionics technician is 37.4 years old.
Avionics technicians make a yearly median salary of more than $67,000 in Texas, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s CareerOneStop website. Texas will have a need for more than 1,900 avionics technicians by 2028.
For more information on JAG Aviation, go to jagaviationinc.com.
For more information on TSTC, go to tstc.edu.