Life As an Air Traffic Controller
Air Traffic Controller Definition 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.
A Day in the Life of an Air Traffic Controller
- Relay air traffic information, such as courses, altitudes, or expected arrival times, to control centers.
- Provide on-the-job training to new air traffic controllers.
- Monitor or direct the movement of aircraft within an assigned air space or on the ground at airports to minimize delays and maximize safety.
- Monitor aircraft within a specific airspace, using radar, computer equipment, or visual references.
- Transfer control of departing flights to traffic control centers and accept control of arriving flights.
- Maintain radio or telephone contact with adjacent control towers, terminal control units, or other area control centers to coordinate aircraft movement.
What Skills Do You Need to Work as an Air Traffic Controller?
Air Traffic Controllers state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.
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:
- Aircraft Communicator
- Radar Air Traffic Controller
- Flight Communications Officer
- Airways Control Specialist
- Chief Communications Officer
Are There Job Opportunities for Air Traffic Controllers?
There were about 24,900 jobs for Air Traffic Controller in 2016 (in the United States). 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. The BLS estimates 2,400 yearly job openings in this field.
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.
What is the Average Salary of an Air Traffic Controller
The salary for Air Traffic Controllers ranges between about $68,090 and $178,650 a year.
Air Traffic Controllers who work in Illinois, Virginia, or New Hampshire, make the highest salaries.
How much do Air Traffic Controllers make in different U.S. states?
|State||Annual Mean Salary|
|District of Columbia||$75,670|
What Tools & Technology do Air Traffic Controllers Use?
Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Air Traffic Controllers:
- 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
How to Become an Air Traffic Controller
Education needed to be an Air Traffic Controller:
How Long Does it Take to Become an Air Traffic Controller?
Who Employs Air Traffic Controllers?
The table below shows the approximate number of Air Traffic Controllers employed by various industries.
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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