Air Traffic Controllers

enterprising flight information resolve problems flight plan aircraft airport emergency issue landing air space

Air Traffic Control Specialist (ATCS), Air Traffic Controller (ATC), Certified Professional Controller (CPC), Enroute Air Traffic Controller (Enroute ATC)

Where in the military? Select a military branch to see samples.
Air Battle Manager; Air Battle Manager, Other; Air Traffic Control Superintendent; Airfield Operations; Airfield Operations, RPA; Battle Management Operations Craftsman, Weapons Director; Combat Control Craftsman; Command and Control Operations Helper; Heavy Aircraft Integrated Avionics Journeyman, C4ISR Mission Systems (E-3, E-4, E-7, E-8, EC-130H, RC-135, VC-25); Special Warfare, Special Tactics Officer
Air Defense Artillery Officer; Air Traffic and Air Space Management Technician; Air Traffic Control (ATC) Operator; Aviation Operations Specialist; Command and Control Systems Integrator; Intelligence Analyst; Joint Fire Support Specialist
Aviation Maintenance Technician; Operations Specialist
Air Command and Control Officer; Air Support Control Officer; Air Traffic Controller; Air Traffic Controller-Radar Arrival/Departure Controller; Aviation Operations Specialist; Forward Air Controller (Airborne) Instructor (FAC(A)I) Qualification; Joint Terminal Attack Controller Evaluator; Naval Flight Officer (NFO), FRS Basic F/A-18D Weapons Systems Officer (WSO); Small Unmanned Aircraft System Specialist; V/STOL Training Landing Signal Officer
Advanced Radar Traffic Controller; Air Traffic Control Officer; AOC Airspace Control Team Member; AOC Personnel Recovery Coordination Team Chief; Carrier Air Traffic Control Center (CATCC) Operator; Conversion NEC AC Air Traffic Controller Basic; Joint Terminal Attack Controller (JTAC); Naval Tactical Data System--Combat Information Center Watch Officer, Carrier Controlled Approach Controller; Operations Officer, Aviation Shore Activity; Rated Tactical Air Traffic Control Center (TACC) Controller
Air Traffic Control; Air Traffic Control Apprentice; Air Traffic Control Craftsman; Air Traffic Control Helper; Air Traffic Control Journeyman; Air Traffic Control Manager; Air Traffic Control Superintendent
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.



  • 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


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



  • 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


  • communicate by speaking
  • listen and understand what people say

Ideas and Logic

  • notice when problems happen


People interested in this work like activities that include data, detail, and regular routines.

They do well at jobs that need:

  • Attention to Detail
  • Stress Tolerance
  • Dependability
  • Adaptability/Flexibility
  • Persistence
  • Achievement/Effort


You might use software like this on the job:

Spreadsheet software

  • Microsoft Excel Hot Technology In Demand

Presentation software

  • Microsoft PowerPoint Hot Technology

Flight control software

  • Direct-to-tool software
  • Traffic management advisor TMA software


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

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Job Outlook

Below Average
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.
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See more details at O*NET OnLine about air traffic controllers.