Air Traffic Controller
Types of Degrees Air Traffic Controller Majors Are Getting
The following table lists how many air traffic controller graduations there were in 2018-2019 for each degree level.
|Education Level||Number of Grads|
What Air Traffic Controller Majors Need to Know
O*NET surveyed people in occupations related to air traffic controller and asked them what knowledge areas, skills, and abilities were important for their jobs. The responses were rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being most important.
Knowledge Areas for Air Traffic Controller Majors
According to O*NET survey takers, a major in air traffic controller should prepare you for careers in which you will need to be knowledgeable in the following areas:
- Transportation - Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
- Public Safety and Security - Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
- English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Skills for Air Traffic Controller Majors
A major in air traffic controller prepares you for careers in which the following skill-sets are crucial:
- 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.
- 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.
- Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Abilities for Air Traffic Controller Majors
As a air traffic controller major, you will find yourself needing the following abilities:
- Oral Expression - The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Problem Sensitivity - The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
- Oral Comprehension - The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Deductive Reasoning - The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Inductive Reasoning - The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
What Can You Do With a Air Traffic Controller Major?
People with a air traffic controller degree often go into the following careers:
|Job Title||Job Growth Rate||Median Salary|
|Air Traffic Controllers||3.6%||$124,540|
|Airfield Operations Specialists||9.0%||$52,200|
Who Is Getting an Associate’s Degree in Air Traffic Controller?
At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of air traffic controller majors is as follows:
|Race/Ethnicity||Number of Grads|
|Black or African American||18|
|Hispanic or Latino||29|
Air Traffic Controller appeals to people across the globe. About 10.7% of those with this major are international students.
How Much Do Air Traffic Controller Majors Make?
Salaries According to BLS
Air Traffic Controller majors often go into careers where salaries can range from $56,760 to $120,830 (25th to 75th percentile). This range includes all degree levels, so you may expect those with a more advanced degree to make more while those with less advanced degrees will typically make less.
To put that into context, according to BLS data from the first quarter of 2020, the typical high school graduate makes between $30,000 and $57,900 a year (25th through 75th percentile). The average person with a bachelor’s degree (any field) makes between $45,600 and $99,000. Advanced degree holders make the most with salaries between $55,600 and $125,400.
Amount of Education Required for Careers Related to Air Traffic Controller
Some degrees associated with air traffic controller may require an advanced degree, while others may not even require a bachelor’s in the field. In general, the more advanced your degree the more career options will open up to you. However, there is significant time and money that needs to be invested into your education so weigh the pros and cons.
Find out what the typical degree level is for air traffic controller careers below.
|Education Level||Percentage of Workers|
|Less than a High School Diploma||0.8%|
|High School Diploma - or the equivalent (for example, GED)||26.4%|
|Post-Secondary Certificate - awarded for training completed after high school (for example, in agriculture or natural resources, computer services, personal or culinary services, engineering technologies, healthcare, construction trades, mechanic and repair technologies, or precision production)||17.1%|
|Some College Courses||6.6%|
|Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree)||16.7%|
|Post-Baccalaureate Certificate - awarded for completion of an organized program of study; designed for people who have completed a Baccalaureate degree but do not meet the requirements of academic degrees carrying the title of Master.||3.5%|
Online Air Traffic Controller Programs
In the 2018-2019 academic year, 28 schools offered some type of air traffic controller program. The following table lists the number of programs by degree level, along with how many schools offered online courses in the field.
|Degree Level||Colleges Offering Programs||Colleges Offering Online Classes|
|Certificate (Less Than 1 Year)||3||0|
|Certificate (1-2 years)||3||0|
|Certificate (2-4 Years)||0||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Research)||0||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Professional Practice)||0||0|
|Doctor’s Degree (Other)||0||0|
Is a Degree in Air Traffic Controller Worth It?
The median salary for a air traffic controller grad is $56,760 per year. This is based on the weighted average of the most common careers associated with the major.
This is 42% more than the average salary for an individual holding a high school degree. This adds up to a gain of about $337,200 after 20 years!
Explore Major by State
Trades Related to Air Traffic Controller
You may also be interested in one of the following majors related to air traffic controller.
|Major||Number of Grads|
|General Aeronautics/Aviation/Aerospace Science & Technology||3,517|
|Airline/Commercial/Professional Pilot & Flight Crew||2,009|
|Aviation/Airway Management & Operations||1,306|
|Other Air Transportation||343|
|Airline Flight Attendant||71|
*The racial-ethnic minorities count is calculated by taking the total number of students and subtracting white students, international students, and students whose race/ethnicity was unknown. This number is then divided by the total number of students at the school to obtain the racial-ethnic minorities percentage.
- College Factual
- College Scorecard
- National Center for Education Statistics
- O*NET Online
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Usual Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers First Quarter 2020
More about our data sources and methodologies.
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