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.
Related Job Titles for this Occupation:
- 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.
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.
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|
|District of Columbia||$75,670|
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:
What work experience do I need to become an Air Traffic Controller?
Where Air Traffic Controllers Are Employed
The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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