Find Schools

Study Area & Zipcode

Air Traffic Controller

Find Schools Near

What Does it Take to Be an Air Traffic Controller?

Occupation 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

  • Determine the timing or procedures for flight vector changes.
  • Review records or reports for clarity and completeness and maintain records or reports as required under federal law.
  • Monitor or direct the movement of aircraft within an assigned air space or on the ground at airports to minimize delays and maximize safety.
  • Organize flight plans or traffic management plans to prepare for planes about to enter assigned airspace.
  • Maintain radio or telephone contact with adjacent control towers, terminal control units, or other area control centers to coordinate aircraft movement.
  • Relay air traffic information, such as courses, altitudes, or expected arrival times, to control centers.

Air Traffic Controller Required Skills

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.

  • Airway Traffic Controller
  • Air Traffic Control Operator
  • Airport Tower Controller
  • Flight Radio Operator
  • Air Traffic Controller (ATC)

Job Demand for Air Traffic Controllers

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. The BLS estimates 2,400 yearly job openings in this field.

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.

How Much Does an Air Traffic Controller Make?

The salary for Air Traffic Controllers ranges between about $68,090 and $178,650 a year.

undefined

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

How much do Air Traffic Controllers make in each U.S. state?

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 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

Are there Air Traffic Controllers education requirements?

undefined

How Long Does it Take to Become an Air Traffic Controller?

undefined

Air Traffic Controllers Sector

undefined

Below are examples of industries where Air Traffic Controllers 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 Schools Near You

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