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Air Traffic Controller Major

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Air Traffic Controller

187 Associates's Degrees Annually
82 Bachelor's Degrees Annually
#112 in Popularity (Associate's)
$56,760 Median Salary

Types of Degrees Air Traffic Controller Majors Are Getting

The following table lists how many air traffic controller graduations there were in 2019-2020 for each degree level.

Education Level Number of Grads
Associate Degree 141
Bachelor’s Degree 75
Basic Certificate 46

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

Air Traffic Controller majors often go into careers in which the following knowledge areas are important:

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  • 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

When studying air traffic controller, you’ll learn many skills that will help you be successful in a wide range of jobs - even those that do not require a degree in the field. The following is a list of some of the most common skills needed for careers associated with this major:

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  • 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

A major in air traffic controller will prepare for your careers in which the following abilities are important:

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  • 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?

Below is a list of occupations associated with air traffic controller:

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?

141 Associate's Degrees Annually
23% Percent Women
38% Percent Racial-Ethnic Minorities*
This major attracts more men than women. About 77% of the graduates in this field are male.

Racial-Ethnic Diversity

At the countrywide level, the racial-ethnic distribution of air traffic controller majors is as follows:

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Race/Ethnicity Number of Grads
Asian 12
Black or African American 11
Hispanic or Latino 24
White 72
International Students 14
Other Races/Ethnicities 8

Geographic Diversity

Students from other countries are interested in Air Traffic Controller, too. About 9.9% of those with this major are international students.

How Much Do Air Traffic Controller Majors Make?

Salaries According to BLS

Average salaries range from $56,760 to $120,830 (25th to 75th percentile) for careers related to air traffic controller. This range includes all degree levels, so the salary for a person with just a bachelor’s degree may be a little less and the one for a person with an advanced degree may be a little more.

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.

Median Salary for an Air Traffic Controller Major  ( 56760 to 120830 )
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250K
Median Salary for a High School Graduate  ( 30000 to 57900 )
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250K
Median Salary for a Bachelor's Degree Holder  ( 45600 to 99000 )
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Median Salary for an Advanced Degree Holder  ( 55600 to 125400 )
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250K

Some careers associated with air traffic controller require an advanced degree while some may not even require a bachelor’s. Whatever the case may be, pursuing more education usually means that more career options will be available to you.

How much schooling do you really need to compete in today’s job market? People currently working in careers related to air traffic controller have obtained the following education levels.

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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%
Bachelor’s Degree 27.6%
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 2019-2020, 25 schools offered a air traffic controller program of some type. 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) 0 0
Certificate (1-2 years) 0 0
Certificate (2-4 Years) 0 0
Associate’s Degree 18 0
Bachelor’s Degree 0 0
Post-Baccalaureate 0 0
Master’s Degree 0 0
Post-Master’s 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!

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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 4,312
Airline/Commercial/Professional Pilot & Flight Crew 2,076
Aviation/Airway Management & Operations 1,389
Other Air Transportation 329
Airline Flight Attendant 73
Flight Instructor 49

References

*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.

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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