Skip navigation

Air Traffic Controllers

Also called: Air Traffic Control Specialist (ATCS), Air Traffic Controller (ATC), Air Traffic Controller (Enroute Option), Certified Professional Controller (CPC)

What they do:
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.
On the job, you would:
  • Inform pilots about nearby planes or potentially hazardous conditions, such as weather, speed and direction of wind, or visibility problems.
  • Issue landing and take-off authorizations or instructions.
  • Transfer control of departing flights to traffic control centers and accept control of arriving flights.

Knowledge

Transportation
  • movement of people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road
Arts and Humanities
  • English language
Education and Training
  • teaching and course design
Safety and Government
  • public safety and security

Skills

Basic Skills
  • listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
  • talking to others
Problem Solving
  • noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
People and Technology Systems
  • thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one
  • figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it

Abilities

Attention
  • pay attention to something without being distracted
  • do two or more things at the same time
Visual Understanding
  • quickly know what you are looking at
  • see hidden patterns
Verbal
  • communicate by speaking
  • listen and understand what people say
Ideas and Logic
  • notice when problems happen

Personality

People interested in this work like activities that include leading, making decisions, and business.
They do well at jobs that need:
  • Attention to Detail
  • Stress Tolerance
  • Dependability
  • Adaptability/Flexibility
  • Persistence
  • Achievement/Effort

Technology

You might use software like this on the job:

Flight control software
  • Direct-To Tool software
  • En route descent advisor EDA
Expert system software
  • Advanced technologies and oceanic procedures ATOP
  • Automated radar terminal systems ARTS

Education

Education: (rated 3 of 5)
high school diploma/GED or
certificate after high school
usually needed

Get started on your career:

Find Training Find Certifications Registered Apprenticeship

Job Outlook

Below Average Outlook
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.
Salary
$121,280
per year, on average
Check out my state Local Salary Info Find Jobs

Explore More

See more details at O*NET OnLine about air traffic controllers.