Embry-Riddle has an avionics engineering tech program that I almost did a few years ago (1995). The classes looked interesting. I didn't do it because I wanted a 4-year degree. Not sure about pay rates. As far as opportunity, I think there is a lot. There is a Lockheed refit facility here that hires lots of avionics techs, and I hear the pay is decent.
My father in law was an avionics engineer in Denver. I think he was making somewhere around $65,000/year after working with the company for about 15 years. It seemed that he had more or less a 9-5 type schedule except for an occasional late evening or weekend. He also had to travel quite a bit (if the avionics don't work the plane can't come to him). He was working for Bombardier(sp?) but after 9-11 they shut down the entire Denver office and he was laid off. He was out of work for almost a year. He is now working as a certification engineer in Tucson. He's making a little less than he was but the cost of living is quite a bit lower in Tucson. Haven't spoken with him about the working conditions but I immagine they are about the same.
I've been in avionics for the last 10 years. Yes I was in the Navy, then got out after 7, got my A&P and the FCC, then went to work for SkyWest for 4 months until I had to move for family reasons. I worked for BFGoodrich Airframe Services Division in Everett, WA as an installer on 777's. I loved that job, but contracts started to run out for the company 3 months before 9/11, so I did what I had to do to support my Family and went back into the Navy. They have allpayed me roughly the same rcently after my experience was up. As an E-6 with full benies that the Navy has I make around 40K. I made 16.50 @ SkyWest and 18.35 @ BFG with a lot of mando overtime
. The jobs are definitely there. But, as it goes, there is a price with experience. I am really just an over-paid babysitter now who gets treated like dirt-sorry Navy guys. I really love working on airplanes and even building my own, but in 2 years I am going to take the plunge and become a commercial pilot-already have a private. Hope this helps you-Jerry