Find Trade Colleges

Study Area & Zipcode

Air Traffic Controller

Find Schools Near

Life As an Air Traffic Controller

Air Traffic Controller Job Description Control air traffic on and within vicinity of airport and movement of air traffic between altitude sectors and control centers according to established procedures and policies. Authorize, regulate, and control commercial airline flights according to government or company regulations to expedite and ensure flight safety.

Daily Life Of an Air Traffic Controller

  • Monitor or direct the movement of aircraft within an assigned air space or on the ground at airports to minimize delays and maximize safety.
  • Direct ground traffic, including taxiing aircraft, maintenance or baggage vehicles, or airport workers.
  • Analyze factors such as weather reports, fuel requirements, or maps to determine air routes.
  • Monitor aircraft within a specific airspace, using radar, computer equipment, or visual references.
  • Conduct pre-flight briefings on weather conditions, suggested routes, altitudes, indications of turbulence, or other flight safety information.
  • Complete daily activity reports and keep records of messages from aircraft.

Skills Needed to be an Air Traffic Controller

These are the skills Air Traffic Controllers say are the most useful in their careers:

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

  • Enroute Controller
  • Communications Operator
  • Airway Traffic Controller
  • Air Traffic Coordinator
  • Air Traffic Controller (ATC)

Air Traffic Controller Employment Estimates

In the United States, there were 24,900 jobs for Air Traffic Controller in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 3.6% which is below the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 900 new jobs for Air Traffic Controller by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 2,400 job openings in this field each year.

undefined

The states with the most job growth for Air Traffic Controller are Nevada, Nebraska, and Louisiana. Watch out if you plan on working in Michigan, Wisconsin, or West Virginia. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Air Traffic Controller Average Salary

The typical yearly salary for Air Traffic Controllers is somewhere between $68,090 and $178,650.

undefined

Air Traffic Controllers who work in Illinois, Virginia, or New Hampshire, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Air Traffic Controllers in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Alabama $94,370
Alaska $112,260
Arizona $110,370
Arkansas $93,370
California $132,300
Colorado $128,210
Connecticut $88,360
District of Columbia $75,670
Georgia $136,210
Hawaii $110,050
Idaho $94,910
Illinois $136,390
Indiana $122,470
Iowa $82,460
Kansas $122,510
Kentucky $104,890
Louisiana $86,070
Maryland $117,610
Massachusetts $109,430
Michigan $111,830
Minnesota $131,330
Mississippi $84,240
Missouri $101,280
Montana $77,150
Nebraska $92,720
Nevada $119,600
New Hampshire $147,350
New Jersey $118,380
New Mexico $114,890
New York $130,840
North Carolina $109,000
North Dakota $85,760
Ohio $131,180
Oklahoma $109,280
Oregon $95,570
Pennsylvania $115,040
South Carolina $92,070
South Dakota $82,580
Texas $133,260
Utah $118,410
Vermont $81,630
Virginia $139,520
West Virginia $79,710
Wisconsin $100,500

What Tools & Technology do Air Traffic Controllers Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Air Traffic Controllers may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Office
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft Access
  • Adobe Acrobat
  • Enterprise resource planning ERP software
  • SAP software
  • Really Simple Syndication RSS
  • Flight simulation software

Becoming an Air Traffic Controller

Individuals working as an Air Traffic Controller have obtained the following education levels:

undefined

What work experience do I need to become an Air Traffic Controller?

undefined

Where Air Traffic Controllers Are Employed

undefined

The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.

undefined

References:

Image Credit: Tech. Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol via U.S. Air Force photo

More about our data sources and methodologies.

Featured Schools

Find Trade Schools Near You

Our free school finder matches students with accredited trade schools across the U.S.